Boston, MA, USA — Design Museum Boston has announced the expansion of its programming and operations – creating a national entity, Design Museum Foundation and establishing a new location in Portland, Oregon. Concurrent to this national expansion is the announcement of the Museum’s first national touring exhibition, Green Patriot Posters – which will premiere in Boston, MA and then travel to Berkeley, CA, Portland, OR and Chicago, IL.
Building off the success of its Boston operation – which was established in 2009 as the region’s first museum dedicated solely to design, so will the Portland, OR location emerge as the only design-focused museum in the Pacific Northwest.
“We are inspired by revolutionary design”, states Sam Aquillano, Founder and Executive Director of the new Design Museum Foundation. “We are energized by the limitless capacities within this expansion to engage in thoughtful problem solving, provocative conversations and collaborations that educate the public about the important role design play is all our lives.”
A striking advantage to this new museum model is that there is no physical address. “Design is everywhere, and so are we,” explains Aquillano. Established as a decentralized network of physical and virtual exhibits — whether in a gallery, retail environment, public spaces or on the web, Design Museum’s programming gives audiences new insights into the design process and the greater social, economic, and environmental contexts that both affect and are affected by design.
Over the past 4 years, Design Museum Boston has presented 7 major exhibitions, including the renowned outdoor exhibition, Street Seats: Reimagining the Public Bench; they’ve developed a Design Innovation Gallery, received major grants including the Our Town Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. They’ve also cultivated significant corporate sponsorship and established a membership base of over 600 individuals and businesses. Replicating their model of collaboration and public engagement, the Museum spent the last year meeting with the creative and cultural leaders of Portland ranging from individuals, educational institutions, nonprofits, and design-oriented businesses.
“There is a tangible and sophisticated design appreciation in Portland,” states Aquillano. He continues, “we are grateful for the support and enthusiasm of the Portland community. It seems a natural and organic evolution for the emergence of Design Museum Foundation and to establish a presence in Portland.”
Under this new configuration, the newly created Design Museum Foundation will support both Design Museum Boston and Design Museum Portland to set standards and ensure educational, communication, and design consistency across the national network. Programming, membership, and engagement within their local communities will be established independently in both Boston and Portland, emerging from within the design community and broader public.
Opportunities for bi-coastal collaborations will naturally present themselves from exhibitions, salon-style conversations, programming in all areas across disciplines and sectors from private to public, to civic. “The potential is very exciting as we explore design from the inside out, turning our cities into the design museum – making each a more vibrant place to live and work, while also celebrating design as an important economic force.” says Aquillano.
The capacity to engage in this national dialogue is best represented by the announcement of the Green Patriot Posters exhibition, with guest curator Edward Morris, Founder and Director of The Canary Project and co-editor of the book, Green Patriot Posters published by Metropolis Books. In collaboration with the Museum’s Presenting Sponsor, Gerding Edlen, this exhibition of posters designed to raise awareness of global climate change and inspire viewers to make changes in their behavior and take world-changing action will be on tour for two years.
The exhibition will premiere in Boston in mid-January at 315 on A, a new residential apartment in Boston’s Fort Point community, currently designated for Gold LEED certification. “We are extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to collaborate with Gerding Edlen, a pioneer and industry leader in sustainable building,” says Aquillano. Considered one of the nation’s leading experts in developing and managing green buildings, with an emphasis on developing properties that build community and positively reflect lifestyles of the future.
“To present an exhibition that engages such an important topic and infuses sustainable activism with public outreach in a building that embodies these values is significant,” states Aquillano. At each location, to complement the design exhibition, programming will include workshops, gallery talks, live design events, and a public poster campaign around each city. Programming details for the exhibition at 315 on A are in development. The exhibition in Boston will run through June of 2014.