Where in the World is the Wellin?
The obvious answer is Clinton, a small picturesque town in Central New York, closer to the Adirondack mountains than New York City. Situated on the edge of the Hamilton College campus, the Wellin Museum is approaching its seventh birthday this fall. Over the past seven years, the museum has grown its staff, visitor attendance, publication program, exhibitions, and most importantly its reach. So when considering the question, “where in the world is the Wellin,” one can no longer answer with only Clinton, NY.
Traveling exhibitions play an important role in sharing what we do here at the Wellin with a much larger audience. To date, the museum has traveled six original exhibitions and developed institutional partnerships with seven different arts organizations that are spread throughout the United States, from New Jersey to Hawaii, and most recently expanded internationally into Canada.
Our first traveling exhibition, Alyson Shotz: Force of Nature, opened at the Wellin in the fall of 2014. The following year it opened at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in Charleston, South Carolina in May of 2015 where it was on view for almost two months.
The next two exhibitions to travel, Karen Hampton: The Journey North and Yun-Fei Ji: The Intimate Universe (our fall 2015 and spring 2016 exhibitions) both traveled to the same location, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean to the Honolulu Museum of Art in Hawaii. This was a very exciting partnership but posed some interesting logistical hurdles to cross when it came to shipping the artwork over land and sea.
In the Spring of 2017, the Wellin opened Julia Jacquette: Unrequited and Acts of Play which was one of our most popular exhibitions to date. This traveled to the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey in Summit, New Jersey. It was on view there from September 2017 through January of 2018.
During the fall of 2018, Jeffrey Gibson: This Is the Day opened at the Wellin Museum. After closing here, the exhibition was sent into storage while it waited to be shipped down south for it’s opening at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas this coming July of 2019.
Traveling exhibitions are very exciting but do pose special needs in order to ensure that all the artwork is packed safely, stored in climate controlled environments, and moved with care so everything arrives at each destination in the same condition in which it was shipped. The Wellin staff works with a registrar, who is a specialist in artwork and object logistics, to arrange every shipment from start to finish. Since exhibitions are comprised of artwork obtained from various sources (museums, galleries, private collectors, the artists themselves, or from the Wellin’s permanent collection), shipping arrangements are not limited to moving between the traveling venues, but also includes the assembly and disbursement shipping. If an exhibition is traveling to several different venues, these arrangements can stretch over the course of several years and must be completed before the exhibition makes its first opening.
Our upcoming fall exhibition, Elias Sime: Tightrope, is one such exhibition. It will be traveling to three different locations after it closes at the Wellin in December of 2019 so traveling arrangements have been planned through 2021. From here it will go to the Akron Art Museum in Ohio where it will be on view February - May of 2020. Afterwards, it heads to the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri on view June - September of 2020. It’s final stop will cross an international border as it travels to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada where it will be on view from December 2020 - April 2021.