Attleboro Arts Museum

Attleboro city council President Frank Cook studies a glitter-filled snow globe at the Attleboro Arts Museum on Saturday.Snow globe by CoolSNowGlobes "Being and Nothingness".

ATTLEBORO — Snow globes, which can be regarded by many as mere keepsakes one could take or leave, took on a new life of their own at the Attleboro Arts Museum on Saturday during the Big Read exhibit, “The Calm Before The Storm.”

The 2017 Big Read book, “Station Eleven,” tells of a post-apocalyptic society and the survivors who struggle to maintain a sense of civilization. In conjunction with the museum’s exhibit, the 17 artists were asked to consider what they would miss the most in a post-apocalyptic world, and to display those things in a snow globe, which has a prominent symbolic aspect in “Station Eleven.”

What museum executive director Mim Fawcett enjoyed about this particular exhibit, which featured up to 30 pieces of art, was that it was so “left of center,” and unlike any other exhibit the museum had done with The Big Read before.

“It’s not a traditiondal exhibit because it’s very thought-provoking,” Fawcett said. “With the apocalyptic component and the personal layer, it makes it unusual. As unorthodox as it is, it turned out to be very popular with the artists.”

Patrons squeezed shoulder to shoulder as they admired the pieces, which ranged from mixed media sculptures to kiln-formed glass and, simply enough, a globe with glitter inside it.

This particular piece, which patrons were allowed to handle carefully, captured the attention and intrigue of city council President Frank Cook.

“Watch as (the glitter) settles,” Cook said, as the glitter, which appeared to be a dark gray in color, suddenly exploded into a mixed palette of silver and multicolored prisms. “It’s like there’s a sparkler inside...then, as it settles down, all the colors go away. Wow.” Snow Globe by CoolSnowGlobes “Being and Nothingness”.

One artist, Judith Bertozzi of Rehoboth, had already completed her piece, “Nest-cessities,” before the exhibit was scheduled. But when Fawcett, at Bertozzi’s 1700’s-era home for a visit, saw the birds’ nests encased in glass jars, she immediately wanted them as part of the museum’s exhibit.

Bertozzi’s take on her art was that the nest — where life begins — also becomes a nursery to artistic ideas, and the importance of preserving them, just as she preserves the history of her home, which was built by a Revolutionary War soldier.

As “unorthodox” as the exhibit may have been, many patrons came away with a different perspective on the symbolic nature of the snow globe theme, such as Alexa Scognamiglio of Warwick, R.I.

“With snow globes, you think of Christmas, but this gives you a different perspective,” Scognamiglio said. “Snow globes are interesting; they’re an everyday object, but when you put an artistic spin on it, it makes you think differently about them.”

CoolSnowGlobes collection of snow globes are also available for purchase in the gift shop.