Expect a bit of the unexpected at Franklin & Marshall College’s Phillips Museum of Art this year.
Everything from installation art made with chili powder and kimchi to hand-sewn shoes created 150 years ago will be on display in one of the museum’s several galleries.
The exhibition season also will feature an exhibit of international works of art on loan thanks to a new program, twice monthly “insider” lunchtime tours and a full roster of public programming accompanying gallery shows.
For museum director Amy Moorefield, who started with the college a year and a half ago, it’s an exciting time.
“I think the Phillips Museum is a very unique entity in the larger (artistic) ecosystem here in Lancaster,’’ she says. “It’s been a pleasure to find out where we fit and how we can serve the community more, how to make this institution relevant to the larger community.”
The season kicks off with Tuesday’s opening of “FRESH: The F&M Art & Art History Department Biennial’’ in the Dana Gallery.
While the college regularly hosts a faculty show, this year’s “FRESH’’ theme features works the artists created within the last year.
“It’s a broad scope of both artists and work,’’ Moorefield says. Full-time faculty, adjunct professors, technicians and others — 16 in all — will exhibit.
And yes, this is the exhibit that includes the installation art with chili powder and kimchi.
Moorefield likes the idea of showcasing the work of faculty, “for people to see who these individuals are and what they are actually making,’’ she says.
“FRESH’’ runs through Dec. 6.
The second show also has ties with F&M.
“50 Years: A Celebration of F&M’s Alumnae Artists’’ opens Sept. 3 in the Rothman Gallery. An artist reception is slated for Sept. 19 at 5:30 p.m..
The exhibit commemorates the 50th anniversary of the college’s admittance of women, and features two female artists from each decade since coeducation began in 1969.
“All of (F&M’s) programming this fall is celebrating milestones of not only F&M, but also the community,’’ Moorefield says. “We’re delighted to participate with this exhibit.’’
The alumnae chosen had to be current working artists whose work has had regional or national impact, Moorefield says.
“Like the FRESH exhibit, it’s really diverse.’’
Moorefield particularly enjoys showcasing the women’s work.
“With only 50 years of sharing the knowledge base equitably, we’ve come a long way. (The exhibit) is loosely tied around the anniversary, but it’s about the artists doing some very unique things,’’ she says.
The contemporary art focus shifts with the Sept. 3 opening of “Stitched Stories: Women’s Narratives in Regional Textiles,’’ in Gibson Gallery.
An opening reception will also be held at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 19.
Pulling from the museum’s extensive permanent collection, “Stitched Stories’’ is a unique companion exhibit to “50 Years,’’ Moorefield says.
It features historical examples of artistic expression.
Through a collection of quilts, shoes, upholstered furniture and other creations, ”Stitched Stories’’ hints at the need to showcase one’s creativity in a life dictated by practical pursuits.
“Our hope is that it lends some new knowledge about what these artists were doing at this particular time, and also shed some light on who some of these individuals were,’’ Moorefield says.
“They expressed their creativity in such a brilliant way.’’
The fall exhibits will be accompanied by a variety of programs, including panel discussions, workshops, presentations and artist talks. For details, visit fandm.edu/phillipsmuseum.
Visitors can get a deeper understanding of several pieces of art during twice monthly “Noon at the Nissley’’ tours. The free, short and informal tours focus on three works in the Nissley Gallery, which houses rotating pieces from the permanent collection.
“We have a phenomenal collection. It’s quirky and divers,’’ Moorefield says. “After a half an hour, you go away having had a little magical art experience.’’ The first tour of the fall semester is Sept. 11, with tours generally held every two weeks.
Moorefield also offered a sneak peek into the spring semester’s roster of gallery exhibits.
“Sonya Clark: Finding Freedom,’’ a site-specific installation focusing on Lancaster’s part in the Underground Railroad, will open Jan. 23.
A “Book Art Collaboration.” created in conjunction with Franklin and Marshall College’s Library Special Collections and Archives, is slated for January.
And the academic year closes with the annual Senior Fine Arts and Film & Cinema Exhibitions opening in April.
In addition, the Nissley Gallery will be undergoing a large reinstallation revolving around three works of art which will be on loan. The details of that have not yet been released.
This year also will see the opening of F&M’s new Winter Visual Arts Center, which also will house additional galleries under the auspices of the Phillips Museum.
“The building itself has a lot of exciting forward-thinking technology,’’ Moorefield says, adding that it’s a great time to be at the helm of the Phillips Museum.
“I’m honored to be part of it,’’ she says. “And we’re having a great time.’’