Archeology and the History of Idyllwild Arts

October 8, 2010 at 6:03 pm 1 comment

The following is a post from Sydney Cosselman, Director of the Krone Museum

The first thing I want to do is to invite everyone to check out the Krone Museum. Hours are from 10 – 12 and 1- 4 Monday through Friday, although if the door is open you are always welcome to come in. Sometimes the museum is also used for meetings and small events. We have over sixty years of history that I am unraveling every day and I still feel like an archaeologist uncovering pieces from the past – often where I least expect to find them. The second thing I want to do is to invite you to learn about people who are or have been in some way connected to our school. In future entries, I will share with you some of the history of our school and introduce you to people like Michael Fuller. In 1983, Michael wrote a book about the Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts (ISOMATA) as it was known in the early days. He is in the process of updating this book as we speak, and will be on campus during the next few months to continue his research.

As a note of interest, I recently had the opportunity to meet with Sara Pilchman, a former Idyllwild Arts student. Sara is enrolled in a Museum Studies Program at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. Lucky for me she was here on campus this summer as a counselor. Today she is in the Czech Republic in a Study Abroad Program. We email on a regular basis and she shared an interesting story with me just this morning. With her permission, I would like share it with you. From Sara:

Hello again!

School has started and things have been pretty crazy here.  I just booked a flight to the UK to spend a week in London and York.  My old roommate from Idyllwild is performing in a play there, so I’m excited to see her.  You and Maria inspired me to go museum hopping…what better opportunity do I have anyway?

As for the start of my interest in museum studies, I think it began when I first went to the Ecstasy exhibit at MOCA LA when I was 14 of 15 (actually before I came to Idyllwild).  The place was expertly curated and designed. The pieces were fascinating.  That show also began developing my love for contemporary art.  A year later, when I went to Tate Modern in London, I had a similar experience where my senses sort of got lost in the space. Honestly, throughout part of it I feel like I almost blacked out–strange to say–because I have no recollection of the middle hours when I visited.  All I remember is coming out of it in a huge room with a sculpture of a man hanging from the ceiling, and another of jagged rocks reaching out from the corner of the room…then freaking out because I thought my tour group left without me.  It was a very strange experience, but that is when I first fell in love with museums.  I went to Idyllwild to study primarily music, but I wanted to keep up short story writing as well so I joined the IMs.  I ended up doing ceramics, performance art, film, stage management, poetry, and photography.  When I applied to colleges I didn’t really know what I wanted to do…so I applied to 13 colleges (and got into 12) as a major in Poetry, Ceramics, Sculpture, Philosophy, and Art History/Museum studies.  I hadn’t thought about majoring in museum studies before I saw the program, but the more I thought about it the more I liked it.  I still wanted to be involved in the arts, but I didn’t want my income to be entirely from what pieces I was lucky enough to sell.  What really interested me was the idea of creating a piece of art with the space I was given.  My medium would be the artwork I was curating.  The best example of what I mean would be the Holocaust museum.  The architect designed a space in order to tell a story–but not only that.  He designed it in a way to psychologically influence the visitors.  The corridors are small and get tighter and tighter as the patrons go throughout the space, reminiscent of unease of the time. The tightness is contrasted by the huge spaces representing the victims, like the room full of shoes or the tall stretch of wall with portraits of people who were killed.  By designing the space, the architect, curator, and designer were able to drive their perspective home.  In an art museum finding the story is more difficult, I think.  It’s not as much about a plotline as it is about how the pieces themselves interact.  Its very subtly educational, I think, to help the audience find meaning in the work if the feel of the pieces are the same.  Of course, I think it’s completely incorrect to assign a work one meaning, but physically how they interact is important as well.  At LACMA there is a room of pieces by Kandinsky.  Even though its mostly the same artist, the room’s integrity is changed by its design.  I’m not the biggest Kandinsky fan, but how his pieces interact together fascinates me.

So, clearly my background is in art, but the same ideas are true for each kind of museum and the more I visit them the more apparent it seems.  The one thing I wish art museums could have is more interactivity, which history and science museums are fortunately able to utilize more often.  Hopefully this all answered your questions!  Ask me anything if you want more 🙂


Sara Pilchman

Juniata College Class of 2012

Museum Studies and Visual Storytelling Program of Emphasis Contact Improvisation Club President ________________________________________

Sara reminds us that there are many wonderful choices in the world of the arts and exploration is an exciting adventure.

In the months to come, I hope to bring attention to many of the people who were instrumental in making our school what it is today. Do you recognize the names: Ansel Adams, Norman Corwin, Francoise Gilot, Bella Lewitzky, Jun-Ho Pak, Michael Tilson Thomas, Meredith Willson and Shepard Fairey? They are just a few of the people you will see represented in the days to come. They will be featured in small changing exhibits in the Library/Museum hallway and on slide presentations by the front door of the museum…so check them out. P.S. Did you have the chance to visit any great museums this past summer? I would love to hear about your favorites.

Entry filed under: campus culture, museum. Tags: , , .

Visiting Poet, Orlando White: Bone Light Zine. from Erich Bollmann, Artist-in-Residence

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Ed Marshall  |  March 19, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    Congratulations on your directorship. I am so proud of you! Bless the goddesses of education and their hard-working sisters, perserverance and justice. You are reaping the recognition you so richly deserve…and where better than in the arts? I am so happy for you. The Krone Museum is fortunate to have your energy harnessed in a leadership rôle in that fine institution. You rock, girl!


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October 2010


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