Partner Profile: Mathers Museum of World Cultures

At Lotus, we’re lucky to work with many community organizations — to share resources, to reach larger audiences, to pool creative energy and ideas. One of our longtime community partners is IU’s Mathers Museum of World Cultures, which hosted the very first Lotus event (ever), back in 1994. We’ve collaborated with the Mathers ever since, on activities for the Lotus Blossoms World Bazaar, free arts workshops, and free Lotus performances at the museum.

The first Lotus World Music and Arts Festival kicked off with a performance on the museum lawn from Puerto Rican musician Andrew Lazaro. (Mathers photographer and Curator of Exhibits Matthew Sieber captured the moment in the image above.) The concert dovetailed with a Mathers childrens’ exhibit on Mexican/latino heritage. Assistant Director Judy Kirk recalls, “Our missions align, and having that concert helped both the Mathers and Lotus. It was beautiful and lively.” She adds, with a smile, ”The windows vibrated so much [from the bass] that our alarms went off.”


Sarah Hatcher, Curator of Education, has facilitated the Lotus/Mathers relationship for the last two years, from the time that she joined the museum staff. She’s become an important member of the Lotus Blossoms Bazaar planning committee. “The committee is an amazing group of funny, organized people,” she says. As for the Bazaar itself: “It pulls together a wide variety of people from the Bloomington community, all in one place, representing a beautiful array of cultures, and makes it easy for hundreds of school children to have a great interactive, multicultural experience. It’s a nice fit for Mathers outreach programming.”

The black-and-white photo above documents a the Mathers craft workshop held in conjunction with the 1994 Lotus World Music and Arts Festival; the photo below shows Sarah Hatcher staffing the Mathers activity station at the 2013 Lotus Blossoms Bazaar.


Sarah’s also been on hand at the Festival’s Lotus in the Park, working with Lotus staff to present hands-on arts activities that reflect world cultural traditions, like African fans and ankle rattles, huichol yarn painting, and Kuba cloth designs. Last year, she attended the Festival for the first time. We asked her which artists were favorites: “Hanggai was amazing; so much fun. It was great to hear them live, and to see them play instruments that I’d previously seen only in the Mathers’ collection. And Movits were pretty spectacular as well. Swedish hip-hop wasn’t something I expected, but it was awesome.”


Carvers-webThis winter, the Mathers hosted two free Lotus Blossoms performances — one by storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston, and one by the Ecuadorean ensemble Andes Manta – and three free workshops for this year’s Lotus arts outreach project, the Power of Pattern. We have one more Power of Pattern workshop coming up at the Mathers: Simple Block Carving, on May 18. (See carvers in our first workshop at right.) Details here; it’s a free event, but registration is limited to 15, so contact Sarah to reserve your space.

We’re looking forward to more Mathers fun at Lotus in the Park (September 28) for this year’s Lotus World Music and Arts Festival. In the meantime, visit the 50th-anniversary “Treasures of the Mathers Museum” exhibit, or follow the museum via Facebook to keep up with the great free lectures and workshops that Sarah Hatcher and her colleagues schedule throughout the year.

Pictured at left: The huichol yarn mosaic activity table hosted by the Mathers at the 2012 Lotus World Music and Arts Festival’s Lotus in the Park.

Black-and-white archival photos on this page taken by Matthew Sieber, courtesy of the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, Indiana University.

Your contributions, large and small, make our work possible. When you donate to Lotus, you commit to helping foster the love of the diversity of the world’s cultures in South Central Indiana. There are many ways to donate to Lotus. Click “Donate” for more information.