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Getting on the Map: Everson one of five U.S. museums for Turner to Cezanne

Kern points out that this exhibition's tour "cuts deeply into middle America" on purpose, as a way of reaching "our innate connection with the arts." This is fitting, given that the Davies sisters, Welsh spinster heiresses who used their fortune to buy paintings that nobody else in Britain yet appreciated, are now respected as having their own taste and preferences instead of simply -- as long believed -- following the suggestions of expert investment advisers.

The Everson raised over $800,000 to make this happen, including physical up-grades to the building itself, and has created partnership for supporting events with more than a dozen others arts organizations. Kern dismisses the notion that in a recession you have to collaborate anyway.

"This is about thriving -- not surviving," he says, which has been his credo since he got here. "We are leading the way in re-asserting the importance of the arts in this community, this region."

When Kern got here a year ago, he had come from a university setting; so he appreciated keenly what a university's resources can provide for "broad appeal" exhibitions in terms of supporting and reinforcing events surrounding an exhibition's run. We are used to that phenomenon in this area - for example, Syracuse University's Michelangelo exhibition last year. Now, a free-standing private museum here has mounted something on the same scale. This is as important for how we see our community and each other, and how we proceed with the arts, as it is in making the national "map."

To put that in more personal terms, that very evening an acquaintance told me, with an odd expression on her face, "My husband said he wanted to go to this. Can you imagine! I don't think he's ever been inside the Everson in his life!"

There will be something for most comers, scheduled over the three months -- three films, all on Sunday afternoons, over the next three months (winding up with The Sun is God in December, which we'll review here in advance), three lectures, demonstrations of painting, story events for young people, monthly special "uncorked" events, performances at Syracuse Stage and Syracuse Opera and elsewhere.

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