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Artists' Space Dedicated In Memory of Jan Rutland

BALLSTON SPA, NY – From early October to mid-November the National Bottle Museum on Milton Avenue hosted a show of the collected art works of late Executive Director Jan Rutland. The highlight of the show was the dedication of “The Artists’ Space at the National Bottle Museum” to her memory.

The decision to rename the second floor of the not-for-profit educational institution to the woman who worked tirelessly at its helm for two decades will be a fitting tribute to her life and legacy, according to Larry Rutland, who was named the museum’s Acting Executive Director following his wife’s sudden passing on October 26, 2010.

“Jan just could not tolerate the beautiful brick walls on the second floor continuing to exist without being decorated with works of art. It was an empty space crying to be filled with the work of artists of all disciplines — be it paintings, sculptures, photographs even carvings such as totem poles. The Artists’ Space is a wonderful space and is a tribute to Jan’s foresight,” said Mr. Rutland.

“The Artists’ Space at the National Bottle Museum made Jan Rutland smile. She loved art and had an eclectic taste for it,” said Fred Neudoerffer, who oversees art shows inside of the museum. “Off and on over the past many years, art of various artists has been displayed there, but not with any regularity. Three years ago, I convinced Jan that the space needed to be highlighted as an extra attraction in the museum, both as an art display space as well as a fund-raising vehicle for the museum. Together, we started planning regular shows,” said Neudoerffer.

The video above includes an introduction by Fred Neudoerffer, and comments from Mayor John Romano.

“Since that time we have had 10 shows that have included paintings, sculptures, photography and mixed media, by some well known and some not so well known artists. As the volunteer director of The Artists’ Space it has been a great pleasure for me to work with these artists. In the future we will continue to offer this space to a wide range of artists, in all mediums, and continue to support the National Bottle Museum through the sale of their work,” noted Neudoerffer. “Jan Rutland gave all of herself to the Museum and The Artists’ Space gave her the opportunity to share her passion for art surrounded by her passion for history with the general public.”

Sharon Blakemore Kingsbury, a long-time museum volunteer and local artist who was the first to stage a show in the upstairs gallery in 1999 added: “Jan loved the visual arts. Hence her collecting was very eclectic. The exhibit will allow visitors to enjoy the many facets of Jan,” said Ms. Kingsbury, who oversees the NBM’s gift shop and designs front window displays to be enjoyed by all who pass by the museum.

The video  immediately above includes comments from Gary Moeller, the Bottle Collections Manager for the museum.

Gary Moeller, who worked beside Mrs. Rutland for nearly 15 years, credits his late boss with almost doubling the size of the original exhibit space inside of the museum as well as increasing of the size of its permanent collection by a about a third – to more than 2,000 pieces. “Jan’s legacy also includes the purchase of a building on nearby Washington Street for use as a glass studio where hot glass classes are taught as well as adding new lighting and new heating and cooling systems for both the first and second floors of the museum. In addition, Jan gets the credit for arranging for the fencing and paving of museum property behind the building,” said Moeller.

The video  immediately above includes comments from the following guests at the dedication ceremony:
Award-winning pianist/composer Cole BroderickAuthor and seasoned journalist Ann Hauprich, and Nationally renown children’s book illustrator Jody Wheeler

Exhibits inside of the museum – which is located in a century-old former hardware store in the heart of Ballston’s Spa’s business district — allow visitors to view thousands of glass bottles that were produced by strong men who toiled in intense heat for 12 hours a day, six days a week when the demand for glass containers was staggering. It was an era when vast commercial empires rose and fell. In many cases, only the bottles remain as witness to the drama.

The video  immediately above includes guests singing “Happy Birthday” to the Acting Director, Larry Rutland.

To learn more about the National Bottle Museum, which is a not-for-profit (501 C-3) educational institution chartered by the Board of Regents of the New York State Education Department, please call 518.885.7589.

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