Latent Emissions, Chakaia Booker
It's a family affair for Andy Wendelborn, Tucker and Myles Vlaeminck
For Friends of the Snite Museum Board Member Andy Wendelborn, being a member of the Snite Museum of Art is a family affair. His two young nephews Tucker, age 9, and Myles, age 7, are also members as Little Friends of the Museum. On a beautiful fall evening in September, I met with Andy and his nephews, along with their mom, Andy’s sister Caitlin, in the beautiful Charles B. Hayes Family Sculpture Park for a walk and conversation about art and the family’s love of all the Snite Museum of Art has to offer for members of all ages.
Kelli Kalisik, the immediate past Board President, approached Andy about becoming a board member, and he has been a board member now for the last three years. Andy was born and raised in Wisconsin, but moved to South Bend when he was 11. One of his first memories of the museum was as an 8th grader, when his class came to tour the museum on a field trip. What a testament to the museum’s long history of sharing and exposing art to younger students and potential members. Andy also remembers at that time, they were just starting to build DeBartolo Hall, southwest of the museum. When Andy came to the University as an undergraduate to major in history in the late 90s, he like so many others, fell in love with the campus and has been at the University ever since. Andy also furthered his education at the University and received his Master of Nonprofit Administration in 2012. His employment began at Notre Dame in 2000 at the Notre Dame Conference Center and then he transitioned to the Development Office. Andy currently works at the Mendoza College of Business where he works in student services and administration first for graduate students, and now currently for undergraduates.
Andy has long enjoyed art and he feels he gets his artistic curiosity from his mother. While an undergraduate at Notre Dame, he remembers taking a painting class and discovering just how challenging watercolors were as an adult. He also enjoyed working with clay in his art classes. When Andy travels he seeks out art and museums wherever he goes. He enjoys and has visited the Art Institute of Chicago, where his favorite painting there is Gustave Caillebotte’s Paris Street, Rainy Day. On a trip to Paris, he visited the Musée Marmottan Monet, a smaller museum but a real treasure and one of his favorites. He finds smaller museums a great adventure as they offer surprising treasures. He shared on our walk, “we are all born an artist and are all capable to create, and it is important not to lose that.” I thought that quote was especially poignant for the current time when our world seems to be a little out of control. He reminded me of one of the great assets of art; the calming and serene sense it can bring us all. Andy’s favorite piece of art at the Snite is Lubin Baugin’s painting The Holy Family with the Infant St. John and Two Angels. (see right)
Andy introduced his nephews to the Museum at one of the many family events. Tucker and Myles, who both attend Bittersweet Elementary School and are in 4th and 1st grades, enjoyed being in the Sculpture Park; it was an opportunity to enjoy the art, but also a chance to explore and enjoy the clear fall evening—one of the great assets of the park. Both Tucker and Myles became Little Friends at a Family Day in the Sculpture Park in 2019. They have attended several family events, including the Family Kona Ice Event with U93 and have also participated in the annual Christmas Ornament open houses at the Snite Museum. They really enjoy the hands-on activities the Museum offers to its members.
Tucker’s early memory of art was when he was a student at St. Thomas the Apostle School in Elkhart where he has great memories of his art classes. He has also won two Awesome Art Awards, including one for a painting of a Christmas Tree. Of the two nephews, Tucker is the more artistic one, according to both he and Myles. For the younger Myles, he really enjoys sculpture and he had a great time in the park describing the various works as we explored on our walk throughout the park. When I asked them what they were hoping would be in the new museum I did not get an immediate response. But after they thought a bit, I received lots of great ideas from them. Myles was very excited and is hoping for a tiger sculpture! They both also wanted some type of computer and interactive art where they could be a part of the creation process. Other desires were to be able to create-your-own-sculpture and remote-controlled art, which sounds fascinating to me. It was fun to watch them really think of ideas and become excited about the possibilities.
As we parted ways on that fall evening, we were all reminded of how art and nature come so beautifully together in the Charles B. Hayes Family Sculpture Park. A true asset to the area for all ages.
Michael Riemke, Friends Board of Director