“This Painting Tells a Story.”

An Interview with Protective Services Supervisor Brian Scurio

What do you think of when you hear the words ‘art’ and ‘Worcester’ in the same sentence? The Worcester Art Museum (WAM) has been an iconic part of the growing Worcester art scene since its opening in 1898. Its dedicated staff wants the community to recognize and share in all that the Worcester art scene has to offer, so over the next few weeks, the New Worcester Spy will present interviews with WAM staff members about their favorite pieces in the museum and why art matters in Worcester.

By Timothy Jarvis

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From the fast-paced industry of hotel security to Protective Services Supervisor at the Worcester Art Museum (WAM), Brian Scurio, a new fan of the art world, has found a new area of expertise to discuss: Shipwreck.

The transition from hotel security to art museum security has been a great experience for Scurio, one that has opened up new doors and a lot of new reading material.

One of WAM’s “grand works,” created on an enormous canvas and painted in oil, is Shipwreck, and it captured Scurio’s attention almost immediately.

“Seeing this made me wonder about what it was like [on the Boston coastline] a few hundred years back, and all the kinds of scenarios they could run into on the North Atlantic,” Scurio, a Boston-area native, said.

The piece is the work of Hubert Robert (1733-1808) a French painter who specialized in landscape paintings and illustrations of wreckage.

Curiosity is what drew Scurio to revisit this piece. He wondered how a painting of such grand scale was possible to create; the sheer size itself left him in awe.

Drawing closer and closer to the art, Scurio stopped just short of putting his nose to the paint as he described the scene he saw, things that most people don’t notice upon first glance.

“This painting tells a story,” Scurio said. “Even though the weather is rough, and there is the wreckage from a previous ship, the clouds are breaking; the storm will clear and the day will hopefully go on uneventful, but, for some of the people it may not go on at all.”

Only an hour from the shore, Scurio explains that a scene like this is one that almost all Worcesterites can relate to, with summers spent heading to the beach.

“It brings this room together; you can see this from all the way across the hallway as it’s a grand painting,” Scurio said. “As for Worcester it has to do with us being in New England; we’re a costal area and we’re the first settlement in the nation so this scenario speaks to us.”

Working at a museum may seem low-key, but to Scurio it’s a serious business and he continues to work with his team on preventative measures to keep the place ship-shape.

“My mentality is, today is the day where someone is going to try to steal from us,” Scurio said. “That’s how seriously I take my job, and I try to prepare the staff for this as well. Everyone works cohesively at the museum to make sure the artwork is well maintained, so it’s not just my job but everyone’s job.”

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