“Creativity and art-making is born for adventure.”
– Jerry Beck, Founder of The Revolving Museum
“All we do our whole lives is go from one little piece of Holy Ground to the next.”
– J. D. Salinger
The Revolving Museum (TRM) is a nomadic nonprofit cultural organization dedicated to the creation of public art projects, exhibitions, educational programs, performances and events that encourage collaboration, experimentation, and a meaningful dialogue between artists, youth, and community members.
The Revolving Museum furthers its mission in the following ways:
• Revitalizes Abandoned and or Underutilized Public Spaces
• Creates Innovative Educational Programs and Projects for Youth
• Promotes Cultural Diversity, Collaboration and Social Change
• Encourages Arts Advocacy and Activism
• Integrates Ecological and Green Practices
• Inspires Community Engagement and Economic Development
TRM’s History & Philosophy
In the summer of 1984, artist Jerry Beck took a train ride from Boston to the Nevada to meet Native American Folk Artist Rolling Thunder who with his family and others created “Thunder Mountain Museum,” a village-like visionary environment that included a three-story home, outbuildings, roundhouse, hostel house, an underground hut, guest cabins, and children’s playground. This experience had a profound effect on Beck and several months after his return he founded The Revolving Museum with “The Little Train That Could…Show,” a collaborative public artwork that transformed 12 abandoned railroad cars involving local artists and the homeless that lived in the train.
Soon, the nomadic Revolving Museum and its spirited team of artists began revitalizing other unusual, unused and abandoned urban spaces. “Revolving” around the city, TRM transformed such unconventional locales as a haunted civil war fort on an island in Boston’s harbor, 200 year-old rum cellar, baseball field, many empty buildings, 30,000 square foot warehouse, historic textile mill complex and smokestack, alleyways, and even people’s homes. To expand its outreach into many neighborhoods and under-served communities, TRM began renovating vehicles of travel including six airline baggage cars, vintage ice cream truck, housekeeping pushcarts, bookmobile, boats, school buses, and bikes.
TRM’s signature phrase, “Making Space for Art and Community,” suggests the collaborative nature of the Museum’s vision—the belief that a community can be strengthened through an introduction to art, to one another, to contemporary social concerns, and to the artistic possibilities of their shared environment. Through the simple act of creative expression — whether visual, musical, literary, theatrical, and community-building events, TRM provides people with an opportunity to discover (sometimes for the first time!) their artistic talents. In this way, everyone is invited to take on the role of a public artist; an individual who utilizes his or her own creative talents to contribute to the well being of the community.
TRM believes the creative process is without prejudice. It allows our rich and diversified society a boundless forum for questioning and sharing the experience of being human. It sees failure and success as equal partners and is dedicated to a model of inclusion; an understanding that people are creative beings with unlimited potential to express, shape, and heal themselves and the world around them. It believes that the power of art can be a catalyst for personal, intellectual, social, environmental, economic and political transformation.
TRM wants to take this moment to express our heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to all that have helped to inspire, influence, shape, and evolve TRM’s vision and mission.
In 2007, TRM received the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Commonwealth Award in the category of “Community,” the state’s highest honor in the arts, humanities and sciences.
In 2012, TRM was a finalist for The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (Selection committee included: National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, learning opportunities to young people.
TRM has gotten numerous awards and grants including multiple National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grants, Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Arts International grant, New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) grants, and multiple Massachusetts Cultural Council grants.