Evoking Eleanor explores the art, life, and legacy of one of Fitchburg’s most beloved citizens: FAM Founder Eleanor Norcross (1854-1923). Eleanor Norcross was a charming, graceful, fiercely intelligent artist and patron passionate about improving the lives of others through cultural enrichment. Her own paintings and carefully-acquired objects form the original core of the Fitchburg Art Museum collection, and her vision for an arts center in this city remains the driving force behind FAM’s mission today.
Evoking Eleanor was organized by former FAM Curator Mary M. Tinti and presented in partnership with the Fitchburg Historical Society and the Boulder Art Gallery. This exhibition is made possible by generous gifts from Gale Simonds Hurd and Nikki Brownell.
In 2019, former FAM Curator Lisa Crossman organized a three-part series of pop-up contemporary art interventions for the Evoking Eleanor galleries. New work produced by three New England artists will address an aspect of Eleanor’s legacy and allow museum visitors to re-engage with it in new ways. All of the selected artists are women, which further honors Eleanor, her female friends, and the architects Lois Lilley Howe, Eleanor Manning, and Mary Almy that were involved with the foundation of the Fitchburg Art Museum in 1925. The first intervention in the fall of 2019 featured Boston-based artist Adria Arch, and the following two interventions are forthcoming.