In this week’s digital exclusive, Maggie North, Curator of Art at the Springfield Museums, shares her personal connection to one of the artists featured in the “New/Now: Contemporary Art Acquisitions” exhibit. 

Learn more about New/Now at the Springfield Museums in our full feature on the exhibit.  

Read the full transcript:

Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: Maggie, we were just talking about Faith Ringgold and it brought you back to your childhood.

So, tell us a little bit about the connection that you made with your past and now your present.

Maggie North, Springfield Museums: Well, one of the works on View in the exhibition is called “Tar Beach 2,” and it’s a piece that draws on Faith Ringgold’s children’s book called “Tar Beach,” which was released in 1991 and won awards.

It’s a children’s book that I remember growing up with, actually. And so, seeing some of the works that were a result of this children’s book and were inspired by the original illustrations from this children’s book have just been so powerful for me and especially, you know, as a curator, but also just as an individual who’s walking through this world and has the opportunity to connect with these pieces.

In the book “Tar Beach,” it focuses on the character Cassie Louise Lightfoot, who is a little girl living in New York City. And it actually draws on faith Ringgold’s own upbringing in the city.

In the book, she is able to fly and she uses her power to fly to explore the city at night. And as she’s flying among the stars, we see her family on the rooftop below where they’re picnicking and enjoying a warm summer night. She flies over the George Washington Bridge and she talks about these landmarks that are important to her.

It’s a magical story, and I hope that this work will allow the story to take on new life, to inspire new generations, and work as that incredible imaginative narrative element that was so important to me.