Pop-Up Museum: Guatemalan Textiles Travel to AIS

Waves of color line the walls of the Moran Gallery at AIS, with patterns of deep scarlet, emerald, sapphire, and gold catching the eye and piquing curiosity. The Pop-Up Museum: Guatemalan Textiles showcases the creativity of artisans from this Central American nation and features clothing, table runners, dolls, and watercolor artist Barbara Goetz de Nottebohm’s bright paintings depicting the daily life of Guatemalan street vendors.

The exhibit, on loan from the Friends of the Ixchel Museum, celebrates the artistry of the Guatemalan weaving tradition and features conventional Mayan textiles as well as modern pieces created for daily wear or tourist sale. Known for their use of brilliant colors and distinctive designs, ancient Mayans expressed important aspects of their identity through their textiles, including community, religion, status, age, and more — a tradition continued by their contemporary counterparts. The exhibit's visit is a collaboration between the Modern Language and Art departments, facilitated by Middle and Upper School art teacher Sophie Miller and Spanish teacher Liz Ortiz ’04. 

Such examples of fiber arts mastery align perfectly with AIS curriculum. Middle schoolers study weaving in Art and Guatemalan culture in their Spanish classes. The Fiber Arts class, taught by Sophie Miller, introduces students to the history, cultural significance, and techniques of traditional and contemporary textile arts. They create personal narratives on looms, incorporating traditional materials with unusual and meaningful objects while experimenting with all possibilities in the weaving process. Agnes Irwin students are able to experience a “mini museum” in the Moran Gallery as they view the traditional tunics, ceremonial belts, handbags, skirts, and more, and learn about Guatemalan culture.

We are grateful to Shannon and Chase Davis — parents of Caroline ’22 and Sara ’25, who serve on FOIM’s board alongside Suzy Davis ’58, Chase’s mother, and Carlos Nottebohm, parent of alumna Kristin Nottebohm ’06 — for helping bring this exhibit to Agnes Irwin.

Please stop by the Moran Gallery to view this beautiful art on display!

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