New Year’s Greetings from Executive Director Monica Zimmerman
Dear Fleisher Community,
Greetings in the New Year! I’m so thrilled to be meeting all of you virtually and to be a new member of this remarkable creative community. It has only been one month since I joined Fleisher’s leadership team, and already I am inspired by the dedication to mission, the collaborative spirits of social justice and art-making, and the warm welcome this community has shown me and thousands of our neighbors and friends.
As Fleisher Art Memorial ushers in its 125th anniversary, I’m particularly struck by the remarkably prescient ideas of our founder from so long ago. As we continue to engage in a cultural reckoning in this country regarding what a full life is and what role “work” plays in our families and communities, Samuel S. Fleisher’s words feel prophetic and his vision of inclusivity and the crucial role of creativity more relevant than ever. “Thousands of young people toil during the day whose lives are unavoidably cast upon a background of routine and sameness,” he said. “The world’s work must be done. To them should be offered pastures where beauty and inspiration may be gathered, places where rich and poor alike may give expression to their finer emotions – playgrounds for the soul.”
Fleisher Art Memorial has been a playground for the soul for generations, from welcoming immigrants building homes and lives in a new country to encouraging children, teens, parents, grandparents, and neighbors hungry for self-expression and personal growth. Since the beginning, Fleisher has opened its doors to all those seeking the power of art to move us away from sameness and into a more complicated, beautiful, and just understanding of both ourselves and others. Fleisher kept you connected during a terrifying pandemic and it will continue to provide respite during challenging times.
We have much work ahead of us to ensure another 125 years, but our future is bright. We hope you will stand with us as we recommit to our role as a community anchor and good neighbor, as we think about our buildings and their role in the community, and as we work to grow our endowment and ability to provide access to anyone and everyone, regardless of means. As a friend of Fleisher Art Memorial, each one of you has helped to build this legacy. We are humbled by your stories of transformation, of beauty and inspiration gathered. We are grateful. And as we celebrate and reimagine Fleisher as a playground for the souls of the 21st century, we hope you will join us!