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Posted on: August 21, 2023

Springfield Art Museum Acquires Enamel Works by Sarah Perkins

A small turquoise enamel pitcher and many small stacks of sipping cups.


Springfield, MO. (August 21, 2023) – The Springfield Art Museum is pleased to announce the acquisition of new works by local artist Sarah Perkins. Perkins is considered among the leading figures in the contemporary enameling field. Her work was recently featured in the group exhibition Holding Space: Contemporary Enamel Vessels, the Museum’s first exhibition devoted solely to the enamel arts.

Perkins was born in Ohio and taught at Missouri State University from 1994 to 2019, retiring with emeritus status. She received a BA from San Diego State University and an MFA from Southern Illinois University. Her work has been exhibited extensively, including a solo exhibition at the Metal Museum in Memphis, TN. Perkins creates vessels – cups, bowls, tea pots, vases, and containers – which, while they explore the concepts of use, and ritual, defy their functional foundations to rise to the level of intimately-scaled abstract sculpture.

Shares was conceived of as a museum piece and is comprised of a single pitcher and 29 cups. The size of the pitcher in relation to the number of cups is out of scale. There is no way that the pitcher, even if filled to the brim, could possibly fill all the cups. The deeper narrative of this work invites broader connections about the ceremonial use of vessels. If one “cannot pour from an empty cup,” the social and communal implications of Shares becomes evident.

Merge is a lidded vessel with a textured matte surface that explores Perkins’ interest in organic imagery. Perkins notes, “My work reflects my emotional response to my environment, referring to landscape, body part, or natural object. In the recent bowls and vessels, I am concerned with organic imagery. The forms and color are derived from leaves, rocks, marine life, and other natural objects because I find these modulations of color, texture, and surface both appealing and very intimate.”

Prior to these acquisitions, the Museum had three works by Perkins in the permanent collection. The previous works are all examples of open forms. These new acquisitions provide additional examples of Perkins work in expanded forms. The Springfield Art Museum is located at 1111 East Brookside Drive. Admission is always free. Donations are gratefully accepted.


Image credit: Sarah Perkins, Shares, 2007-2023, Silver and enamel. Collection of the Springfield Art Museum.

The Springfield Art Museum is Springfield, Missouri’s oldest cultural institution, founded in 1928. A department of the City of Springfield, the Museum invites you to connect with the world, your community, and yourself through active engagement with art objects. For more information, please visit or contact Joshua Best, Museum Affairs Officer at (417) 874-2859 or

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