Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Wizard of Oz works its magic on Heritage Square

By Brenda Rees

“Our attendance has been off the charts and we are thrilled,” says Heritage Square Museum executive John Kearns of the “Visions of Oz” exhibit that closes this week at the  Montecito Heights museum.

Held in the 1876 Perry Mansion, the multi-media exhibit showcases 100 works of art from a diverse group of artists – including Rick Baker, Drew Struzan and Dave Dorman – and features illustrations, paintings, sculptures and full-sized recreations. Artists were inspired by the imagination of L. Frank Baum and illustrator W.W. Denslow who published “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” in 1900 as well as the classic 1939 MGM film starring Judy Garland.

In addition, the exhibit displays rare editions of the original Baum books, concepts and artwork from various Oz-themed film and TV projects. Guests can check out a historical prop from the MGM movie – a tip from a spear used by wicked witches’ guards near the climatic end of the flick.

All original artwork in the exhibit is up for sale. In addition, the museum’s gift shop is also selling prints and smaller items of the artwork.

Visions of Oz is presented conjunction with Creature Feature, a local organization that approached Heritage Square with the idea of staging the exhibit as both art and commerce gallery. The organization leased out the Perry Mansion for the month, and the results have been an economic success for Heritage Square which has been lately struggling with finances.

“I would love to do something like this again,” said Kearns, the museum’s development manager. He mentioned that he has also been approached by a local Arroyo arts organization about staging a similar-type exhibition/showcase.

Last year, Heritage Square was part of the locations for a new Disney movie, Saving Mr. Banks – to be released this holiday season – about the making of the studio’s classic flick, Mary Poppins.  Kearns says he can envision a similar exhibition tie-in with Poppins and Heritage Square, considering the era of the book was the 1920s.

Naturally, any other potential exhibition needs to complement Heritage Square as either a period of time or to the Northeast Los Angeles community, says Kearns.

Visions of Oz runs through Sunday, March 31. Admission to the exhibit only is $5, but guests can purchase an exhibit and museum tour for $10. Heritage Square is open Friday, Saturday and Sundays from noon- 5 p.m.

Brenda Rees is a writer who lives in Eagle Rock

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One comment

  1. Looks like the guy that bangs the dryer on “Robot Chicken”

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