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In 2011 the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum announced its Board of Trustees approved a Strategic Plan through 2016. The Plan identifies deCordova’s primary goal as becoming a clear leader among this country’s sculpture parks by 2016 and outlines the objectives necessary to achieve this goal.

You can read more about the Strategic Plan below. You can also access information about deCordova’s Master Planning process—currently ongoing as a next step following the Strategic Plan—here.

Strategic Plan FAQ

How do you define “a leading sculpture park in this country?”

DeCordova seeks to define itself as a leader among U.S. sculpture parks by continuing to shift away from the traditional, somewhat static model of most parks toward that of a dynamic contemporary art gallery—with  frequent change, site-specific works, and experimentation with artists and projects that enable visitors to see where sculpture is going, as opposed to where it has been. Through strong curatorial programming, innovative educational offerings, and focused scholarship deCordova can take the lead in connecting audiences to contemporary sculpture in new ways and in advancing sculpture as an art form. Although deCordova acknowledges that the term “leader” is subjective, deCordova’s Board and Staff believe a clear path exists to  becoming a nationally recognized resource for contemporary sculpture and art.

If deCordova’s focus is sculpture, is that all you’ll exhibit?

Although deCordova’s main focus will be sculpture, there are additional components of our mission to exhibit contemporary art, such as our continued goal of exhibiting the best contemporary art being made regionally. Additionally, contemporary artists rarely work in only one medium, and sculpture itself encompasses multiple media, such as performance, objects, video, architectural interventions, and environmental work. While deCordova will dedicate the majority of its resources to making the Sculpture Park a robust exhibition space, it will also maintain a varied exhibition schedule indoors that supports the many facets of its mission—sculpture, New England, connecting local to international, projects curated from our collection (including our strong photography collection), etcetera.

How will your collection change to support this focus?

We are developing a more focused collections strategy to support our new direction. Future acquisitions will build from areas of current strength: collecting small-scale sculpture, photography, and New England art post circa 1950. DeCordova will continue to exhibit work in the Park that is on loan or temporary; in the rare instances when we acquire outdoor pieces we will do so with an eye toward work that can be moved, lent, or traded as loans with other parks to enable regular change at deCordova.

What will happen with the exhibition program inside the Museum?

We will be treating the Park as one of our “major” galleries, along with the existing interior galleries. Hence over time indoor exhibition periods will be slightly lengthened to direct necessary resources and energy to projects in the Park. A single major sculpture show—bridging indoors and outdoors—will continue to be our primary summer exhibition. Each winter deCordova will present solo exhibitions and projects by strong New England artists; the expanded Biennial exhibition will continue; and site-specific projects and interventions indoors and outdoors will continue.

How will you engage New England artists?

DeCordova will not only exhibit work of the best and brightest New England artists via the Biennial and solo exhibitions in the Museum, but as has long been the case, will invite some of these artists to contribute in the Park. A major component of the strategic plan is recognizing the unique opportunity afforded us to have visitors interact with artists working in the Park. We are also committed to ensuring that our Park program realizes the notion that regionalism still matters in contemporary art, and that by connecting the international to the local, and informing the local with the international, artists and visitors benefit.

Can you describe the kinds of educational programs you will offer that will foster greater accessibility?

Integral to deCordova’s new direction and forward momentum is its goal to connect visitors of all ages and backgrounds with contemporary sculpture and art through a comprehensive and innovative educational program that will range from a robust slate of visual and hands-on gallery learning and art making opportunities to a rethinking of how work is presented, interpreted, and explored.  

How will the Strategic Plan inform the School offerings?

In addition to being a clear leader among this country’s sculpture parks, the plan describes Education as becoming a more central part of deCordova’s future. The institution’s goal is to grow as an innovator in arts education, connecting our more than 100,000 visitors—of all ages and backgrounds—to the contemporary sculpture and art we show and collect. In order to achieve this goal, deCordova’s educational programming will become richer and more varied to engage a broad variety of audiences.

DeCordova is focusing its efforts on offering all visitors a robust and unique educational program which clearly connects with and supports the Park and Museum exhibition schedule. Therefore, deCordova is modifying the format of its current educational program to being inspired directly by the exhibition themes, exhibiting artists’ ideas and techniques, and the Museum’s unique setting. The current semester-based studio art making program is being transformed into a mission-focused set of offerings to include workshops, seminars, short class series, and readily available art making opportunities for visitors of all ages in a variety of media. In determining which programs to offer, the core question will be “How does this educational offering support our mission, and how does it make specific use of our exhibitions, Park, collection, or facility?” Changes are already underway, and it is anticipated that these new programs will be fully implemented by fall 2012.

For more information about changes to the art making program, please visit the FAQ on the School page.