Sean FitzGibbons is guided by a professional principle that is as profound as it is simple: “I work from the idea that art is a basic human right that should be accessible to all.” In his first year as director of the Meadows Museum of Art at Centenary College, FitzGibbons has put this principle into practice and helped reinforce and expand the museum’s role as a cultural hub for the Shreveport-Bossier City community.
FitzGibbons came to Centenary from the City of San Antonio’s Department of Arts and Culture, where he was responsible for curating and managing exhibitions for three venues comprising more than 12,000 square feet of exhibition space. He also worked as a mural consultant for several downtown development projects. FitzGibbons is a graduate of the University of Texas in Austin and Washington University in Saint Louis, where he earned a Master of Fine Arts degree. He has trained in sculpture and visual arts and has mounted more than 20 personal exhibitions in the last decade at galleries and conferences in Texas, Saint Louis, and Chicago.
His credentials and experience helped FitzGibbons stand out in the national search to hire a new director for the Meadows, but since arriving in Shreveport last July, he’s also demonstrated a keen ability to read the local cultural scene and shape an expanded role for the Meadows within it. In addition to overseeing the installation and promotion of several previously scheduled exhibits this past fall, FitzGibbons has opened the Meadows to local artists for weekend popup workshops and has given others the chance to market their art in the museum’s gift shop. In December, he organized the first-ever Holiday Makers Market at the Meadows, featuring original artwork and crafts created by Shreveport-Bossier vendors. The market brought more than 300 people through the doors of the museum during what might have otherwise been a sleepy Saturday, and FitzGibbons already has big plans to partner with other Centenary colleagues and expand the event during the 2018 holiday season (Hint: he’s looking for a lead on finding a live reindeer!).
Approaching much sooner—and emerging directly from FitzGibbons’ philosophy of art as an accessible public good—is another new offering for the community. On April 21, 2018, a free, family-friendly event called “Art in the Meadow” will transform Centenary’s Jones-Rice Field into an eclectic outdoor festival complete with local art vendors, food trucks, live music, and interactive areas where “makers” of all ages and abilities can participate in hands-on, collaborative art projects. Many of these projects will utilize environmentally sustainable materials and methods. After moving to Shreveport last summer, FitzGibbons immediately took note of a number of popular events geared toward young families like his own, including “sprinkler days” at the Norton Art Gallery and the annual “Wheels in the Hills” at Betty Virginia Park. He also recognized that Centenary and the Meadows were well-positioned to add something unique to the mix, a spark that eventually led to the vision for “Art in the Meadow” and will continue to influence other future plans for the museum.
“In the short time I’ve lived and worked in Shreveport, I’ve experienced a city that embraces the arts and is actively exploring the possibilities for encouraging a new economy using creative capital,” says FitzGibbons. “I’m excited to be part of the arts and culture scene in Shreveport and am proud that the Meadows Museum can play a role in supporting artists engaged in this movement. I hope my efforts at the Meadows will support the city’s growth as a cultural destination.”
Meadows Museum of Art
The Meadows Museum of Art at Centenary College was established in 1975 and houses a permanent collection of over 1,600 works, including the Jean Despujols Collection of Paintings and Drawings of Indochina. In addition to the permanent collection, the Meadows hosts a diverse schedule of temporary exhibitions by nationally and internationally-renowned artists. The Meadows is open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays.
CURRENT AND UPCOMING EXHIBITIONS INCLUDE:
JAN 8 – MAR 23:
Lost Stories, Found Images: Portraits of Jews in Wartime Amsterdam by Annemie Wolff
FEB – APR:
A Glimpse of Shreveport from 1918
NOW – MAY:
Meadows Outdoors featuring the found object sculptures of George Tobolowsky
More information available at centenary.edu/meadows