By Josie Gulliksen and Yours Truly
Did you know that many of the leading South Florida Museums are offering curated art tours with access to exclusive collections, behind the scenes tours, and talks by art historians? They include domestic and international destinations ranging from Rome and Florence to Peru, Los Angeles, Asia, the Biennale and possibly even the Congo! Most are offered to upper level members and donors. Here’s what coming up for later this year and early 2019. And if you plan to do your own art inspired trip, there’s a site I just discovered that features the best private art museums and foundations around the world.
NSU Art Museum – Fort Lauderdale
Director Bonnie Clearwater has been planning these tours for years. “I also lead them, so they get my expertise and they really are insider tours of the art world all over the world,” said Clearwater.
Their planned summer “Pleasure Palaces of Rome” trip is June 17-29 with an emphasis on Rome and Florence and also includes stops in Nice and Barcelona. The 11-night cruise begins in Rome for a full-day excursion with an art historian who specializes in Rome and Florence. The group will visit a late Renaissance palace with “exquisite decoration by Raphael and other masters,” said Clearwater.
The group then heads to Florence for a behind-the-scenes tour of major artwork renovations in the city led by the Friends of Florence. Stops in Nice and Barcelona include visits to view private collections and contemporary galleries.
“Several of those in the group have been traveling with me for years. They know that we’re able to provide access to the artworld in a much more intimate way than to the casual traveler,” Clearwater said.
In 2019 they’re already planning a trip to Biennale as well as combining a trip to Asia with Art Basel.
For their young professional supporters in the Cobra Members Circle they provide Travel a la Carte, which is the museum’s next generation of leaders.
For information on the NSU Art Museum visit http://nsuartmuseum.org
Norton Museum of Art
At the West Palm Beach museum their curated travel program is offered to their upper level membership. They decide the trip’s destination about a year in advance.
Fall 2018 trip dates are October 8-14 to Spain and Portugal. The first half of the trip is to Madrid, Spain where they will visit the Prado Museum for a VIP behind-the-scenes tour. The group will also visit the oldest flamenco house in Spain and take in dinner and a show as well as visit The Reina Sofia Museum.
The Lisbon, Portugal portion includes visits to a few private collections and monasteries to learn about traditional architecture along with culinary outings. Group size ranges from 15-30 people depending on the destination.
For more information on the Norton Museum of Art visit https://www.norton.org
Frost Art Museum FIU
At the museum located on the Florida International University Campus they are launching a new program oriented around art, archaeology, culture and cuisine. The first two are called “Eclectic Peru: The Art and Culture of an Ancient Civilization” October 15-23 and “An Art Lover’s Mexico City” February 5-8.
The Peru trip was offered to their high-level donors first and then to their general membership, and now have a group of 20 taking the journey. The Swarthmore College Travel Program in Pennsylvania is co-sponsoring the trip.
The nine-day trip is led by Frost Art Museum FIU Director Dr. Jordana Pomeroy and Desiree Diaz, assistant professor of Spanish and Latin American and Latino Studies at Swarthmore College. It includes visits to parts of the country where modernity meets ancient cultures and civilizations.
The Lima Art Museum Tours day features visits to the Museum of the Cathedral, Larco Herrara Museum and Museo de Arte de Lima. The trip continues with visits to sacred spots in Cuzco, to the Sacred Valley’s small Andean Indian Village of Chinchero and finally to Machu Picchu.
Working with the company Engaging Journeys, the Mexico tour focuses on the art and architectural treasures of Mexico City and a visit to the ZsONAMACO Art Fair and is led by Dr. Pomeroy and Dr. Arden Decker, an independent scholar and curator between Mexico City and the United States.
The tour includes visits to Jumex Museum which features exhibits of rotating collections, the Camino Real Hotel for a look at its architecture, Zocalo for a look at its murals and folk art, Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, Frida Kahlo’s Blue House Museum and the ZsONAMACO Art Fair.
Dr. Pomeroy has led these types of trips as a curator, and finds them exciting and very much curated for people of all kinds of physical abilities and knowledge base. Although the trips are very niche, all participants are encouraged to travel at their own pace.
“You can either have a certain degree of independence or completely rely on the curated trip. Our hosts or trip guides have the academic background/chops about the destination,” said Dr. Pomeroy. “However, each stop also has its separate area expert that works with us and the hosts.”
For more information on the Frost Art Museum visit https://frost.fiu.edu/support/travel/index.html
Jewish Museum of Florida – FIU
Although no trips are planned at the moment, Director Susan Gladstone says they are on their radar. Dr. Tudor Parfitt, University Distinguished Professor and Academic Director for the Jewish Museum conducts research all over the world and has contacts far and wide.
“Dr. Parfitt and I have discussed different types of tour options. Between the two of us we have contacts with Museums in Venice, Berlin, Vienna, London, Paris and Amsterdam, where we have relationships with directors who could conduct tours of their very rich Jewish history,” she said. “Dr. Parfitt also has an extensive number of contacts in Israel.”
In addition, some of their members have expressed an interest in visiting Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia which have some of the oldest Jewish synagogues in the U.S
All of this is as well as China is on their radar. Gladstone also wants to utilize Dr. Parfitt as he’s an internationally known scholar. “We even have some members who have wanted to go on expeditions with Dr. Partiff, particularly perhaps when he goes to the Congo to search for lost Jews,” she said.
For more information on the Jewish Museum of Florida – FIU visit https://jmof.fiu.edu/
Boca Museum of Art
Roberta Kielgaard, director of development for the Museum says they currently are only doing their Collector’s Forum Trip, a full day whirlwind trip that combines visits to galleries, artists studios and private collections.
In the past their upper level members and donors have also done trips to Arkansas which was the last regional one they did, as well as New York City. Internationally the group has traveled to Budapest and Venice.
‘When we went to Budapest we sent an advanced group of our board members and in the second year opened the trip up to a wider group,” said Kielgaard. “We worked with the former ambassador to Hungary during the Bush administration, whose photography is very well known here.”
During the last visit to New York, the group visited photographer Clifford Ross in his studio. Ross has large scale photography and prints on all types of surfaces. They even visited his high-tech basement studio.
The plan for the Spring is to visit Los Angeles and perhaps the St. Augustine and Jacksonville areas as well as Texas and Pittsburgh.
For more information on the Boca Museum of Art visit https://www.bocamuseum.org/
And if you plan to travel on your own, here’s a valuable online resource for collectors and art lovers that I recently discovered. It’s the creation of the savvy, dynamic and in the know founder, LInda Fischbach. It’s called Art Privee. It’s a single destination for conveniently locating private art museums and foundations which are often difficult to identify. The listings include the name of the foundation, the location, hours and days that it is opened to the public and website. Check it out.