By: Lisa Hoffman, curator of education on January 1st, 2020

Today the world ushers in the year 2020, in the Gregorian calendar. It’s the beginning of the ‘20s, end of the teens, and a Leap Year . . . and for like minds who enjoy wordplay, it’s 20/20.

20/20 is a representation of visual acuity – an apt literary device for an art museum blog post.

The explanation involves much math, but a brief summary translation of “20/20 vision” is that at a distance of twenty feet, you can clearly read “D E F P O T E C” on an eye chart . . . as measured and standardized by Dutch ophthalmologist Hermann Snellen in the 1800s. If for example, you have 20/200 vision, at twenty feet you struggle to read what a person with 20/20 vision can read at a distance of 200 feet.

The Woodson Art Museum will celebrate the 45th Birds in Art exhibition in the year 2020. Could the founders have predicted that forty-five years in the distance, the flagship exhibition would clearly set the standard in avian art . . . worldwide?

My youngest child will be a high school graduate of the Class of 2020 . . . a milestone once so distant from Miss Sue’s Montessori preschool room.

As this new year begins, I wish everyone clarity of vision in both short- and long-term goals – clarity in priority setting, clarity in relationship building, clarity in being kind to oneself and those in one’s sphere of influence.

As I researched for this blog post, I was reminded that clarity can be fleeting and elusive. The interweb failed to clarify if Doctor Snellen is Herman with one “n” or two. The Snellen eye chart is not static and 20/20 in 1950 read as “T P E O L F D Z”. Finally, as someone who has racked up an atypical number of eye clinic visits, I still fail to properly spell “ophthalmologist” unaided. Take “clarity” with a grain of salt.

Erik Demaine & Martin Demaine, You See, 2014

What is clear is that admission is always free at the Woodson Art Museum. Experience art up close at the Museum. Imagine the math concepts underpinning the extraordinary visual artistry in Above the Fold: New Expressions in Origami, FaunaFold, and Alchemy Unfolding.

Happy New Year!

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