Ellen Noël continues wedding showNew exhibits coming as well for the local museum

With a new year underway, the Ellen Noël Art Museum has plans for several new exhibits.
The museum is currently displaying an exhibition that has been in the works for a couple of years now from a local textile connoisseur in an exhibit titled: Betrothed: 250 years of Wedding Fashion.
The exhibit explores the compelling history of the white wedding dress and its iconic stature in western cultures.
It includes around 63 wedding dress and 15 men’s ensembles that date back as far as the 1770s to the present, displaying how many wedding traditions and fashions have changed throughout the years.
The exhibit started on Dec. 3 and will last until March 7.
“I think one of the bigger aspects of the exhibition is what you think of the white wedding dress and how it’s changed over the years,” curator Daniel Zies said. “In the early days, not everyone could wear white, that was kind of more for royals and people with lots of influence and money. It wasn’t until after Queen Victoria in the 1840s when she made it pretty popular. It became a tradition after that and people became interested in what she was doing.”
The collection comes from Steven Porterfield who lives in Midland. According to Zies, the exhibit has been about two years in the making.
“We had a couple of his exhibitions at the museum before but not this particular one,” Zies said. “We’ve talked about it forever and it’s such a great resource to have here in the Permian basin. We were able to pull from his collection.”
It’s not the first time that the museum has worked with Porterfield.
“We’ve been working with Porterfield for several years,” Zies said. “He’s mentioned that he has a big wedding dress collection. It’s been over two years of trying to get them mounted, prepared and restored for the show and that’s how it came about. There’s not a lot of people that can do 250 years of textile for a show.”
Porterfield also owns a boutique store in Midland called the Cat’s Meow.
“He’s also one of the textile appraisers from the road shows,” Zies said. “So he has this great wealth of knowledge as a textile historian.”
Being able to stay open during the pandemic has been a blessing as Zies says they’ve been able to hold their exhibition shows.
“Luckily, with our museum, we’ve been able to still be open and help people to social distance,” Zies said. “To be able to do something during a pandemic is great because it’s a good show. We’re glad to be able to still do it and have people come and see it.”
The museum has a couple of upcoming exhibitions coming up including Women Artists: Four Centuries of Creativity which examines works on paper-etchings, engravings, lithographs, drawings, watercolors, woodblock prints and photographs by some of the most important women artists of the last four centuries with a selection of 37 examples from the Reading Public Museum’s permanent collection. The exhibit will take place from March 18-May 30.
“We’re borrowing that exhibit from the Pennsylvania Museum of Art,” Zies said. “It’s such a cool way to have big name women artists to come to our institution. We also have our big region shows in May.
The Ellen Noël Art Museum is also hoping to host an exhibition by Seattle, Wash. Artist Michael Alm, titled “Forest For the Tress” which is scheduled for June, 2021.
“We were supposed to have him in this past summer but because of the pandemic, we had to push it back another summer,” Zies said. “He has cool outdoor murals so we’re going to have some of them in our gallery.”