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Celebrating the Art of the Pink Flamingo


Mini-Reunion at Fitchburg Art Museum

Remember reunion and our signature pink flamingos?  Turns out the original flamingo was created in 1957 by a resident of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, a manufacturing center for plastics in general and pink flamingos in particular.  Our classmate Jean Borgatti is  Consulting Curator for African, Oceanic, and Native American Art at the Fitchburg Art Museum, and she knew at reunion that the museum was planning an exhibit called "Plastic Imagination," to explore the work of ten contemporary New England artists who create extraordinary things with all kinds of plastic. So when reunion ended, she retrieved many of the pink flamingos with which we bedecked Severance Hill and Tower Court and delivered them to the museum.

On January 11, ten of us gathered at the Fitchburg Art Museum for a special docent-led tour of "Plastic

looking at a plastic flamingo

Imagination." Classmates shown in the photo at the top left are, back row, left to right: Mary Shepard, Gigi Brady Barnhill, Pam Worden, Pam Kinnicutt Motley, Mary Baughman, Margaret Tilton McIndoe; front row, Jeanne Lindholm Palleiko, Susan Forbes Martin and Melissa Fox. We were also joined by Linda Freeman '70. That's Gigi Barnhill and Margie McIndoe at right examining a pink flamingo; we were shown an "original" with the signature of the designer molded into the bird.

We also toured Jean Borgatti's fascinating current exhibition, "Global Africa." The director of the museum gave us a history of the museum and of Jean's involvement. Her "retirement project" was initially curating a small collection of African art. Thanks to Jean, the collection is no longer very small. She could not join us—she was in Nigeria teaching art students (and undoubtedly scouting for additions to the collection). However, two participants in the tour were former trustee and board chair Gigi Brady Barnhill and former trustee Pam Worden; they provided us with interesting information and insights. We were not joined by our own flamingos; they are now part of a museum-run art project in Fitchburg schools—education is an important part of the museum's work. But the museum's exterior boasted many "original" flamingos.

The museum tour and a leisurely lunch made for a delightful day. For more pictures, see the photo album Mini-Reunion at the Fitchburg Art Museum. And for the story behind our flamingo fetish, see Flamingos and the Class of 1966.