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Thorne Art Gallery Director Will Premiere Her Film in The Republic of Georgia

KEENE, N.H. 4/30/04 - Maureen Ahern, director of the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery at Keene State College, will visit the Republic of Georgia May 10-25 at the invitation of the United States Embassy for the world première of a video on Georgian art and culture, which she co-produced with Irina Koshoridze, head of the Department of Oriental Arts at the S. Amiranshvili Georgian State Museum of Art in Tbilisi.

Ahern also will present lectures and workshops on contemporary museum practices for the Georgian museum staff. Her husband, William Knorr, an attorney, will lecture on international copyright law as it pertains to artists and museums.

The video “From the Land of Legends and Legacies: Art from the Republic of Georgia” culminates an educational project started four years ago with a grant from the American Association of Museums, which selected the Thorne Gallery to receive an International Partnership among Museums award to fund an exchange program with the Georgian museum.

Ahern first visited Georgia in November 2000 and took hundreds of photographs of art and architecture throughout the former Soviet province on the Black Sea. Ahern’s photographs and others of the Georgian museum collection became the basis of the video, which captures the rich artistic culture of the region, little known in the United States. The video provides a rare overview of the artistic treasures and heritage of Georgia, a crossroad for the development of civilization and part of the Silk Road trade route to China and other Asian countries. Money raised from the sale of the video will be used for education and preservation of Georgian art.

The 28-minute video is available in an English version narrated by Ahern and a Georgian version narrated by Koshoridze, who lectured about the art, culture and history of her country at Keene State in March 2001. During her visit to the United States, Koshoridze worked with Ahern on the script for the video.

Ahern brought back Georgian-made handicrafts so visitors to the Thorne Gallery, especially schoolchildren, will have objects to view and touch after watching the video.

Ahern and Koshoridze had hoped to arrange a traveling exhibit based on the Georgian museum collection, which ranges from 13th-century BC artifacts to contemporary artwork. The collection includes such ancient treasures as a wooden burial chariot used by kings before the time of Christ; and a maniple - a silk band worn in church ceremonies - of gold and silver threads, considered one of the oldest examples of Georgian religious embroidery. However, the ownership of many art objects is in dispute since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The dispute centers around whether the art objects are owned by the Georgian government, the museums, or the Orthodox Church.

Ahern is one of the few artists able to photograph such artworks that now can be shared in the educational video with Thorne visitors and the Georgian people. For further information about purchasing the video, visit or e-mail or call 603-358-2720.

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