Help Wanted – Internship Opportunity

No Tuesday Top or Bottom this week.
Instead I spent most of Tuesday afternoon in my studio and all of tonight mindmelding with 6 other fabulous artists about our upcoming collaborative project (more details coming soon) and predicting the future a lá MASH. And I make no apologies.

Other Items of Note:

  • This past weekend I had not one but two serendipitous meetings with professors who not only taught me a lot but who I admire as people and artists in their own right. The upshot of these two meetings was that a)I am not a failure for not making Things To Go in Galleries and Be Sold, b) my decision to delay grad school is a good one for me,  c) MAKING ART is primary. All other art-related activities are secondary… Although research comes close…
  • Thank you to everyone who stopped by the Northam Park Natural Art and History Museum! Our collection was greatly expanded, and will soon be available for viewing on our digital archives.
  • On a related note- The museum is looking for a short-term intern to assist with the archiving process. If you’re available Wednesday (9/12) or Thursday (9/13) from 5 to 7 let me know! It’d be a great line on your resume and we’d love to have you. To apply, write a letter stating who you are and a brief description of why you feel you might be a good fit to crlynch2 (at) gmail (dot) com.

Northam Park Natural Art and History Museum – Coming soon!

Northam Park Natural Art and History Museum – Coming soon!

 

This weekend has been an especially lovely one- Saturday began with a visit to the farmer’s market and ended late and sloppy at an end of summer luau where, in between tiki drinks and with the help of some very talented actors, I captured footage for the Northam Park Natural Art And History Museum (coming soon!) Click on the link or any of the above screen shots to see how the museum can help you in your mind and body health.

Scooby Dooby Don’t?

So yesterday was Scooby Doo Day at the museum. For those of you out who missed it, ‘Scooby-Doo Day’ meant that for a few hours, everyone’s favorite crime-fighting pooch stopped by Derby Court to hang out, take pictures, greet wee-ones- Good fun.

Except the closer it got to Mr. Doo’s arrival, the less ‘fun’ my thoughts about the whole thing became. By the time the cur left, I’d worked myself into a full-on sneaky hate spiral.

i am not impressed, mutt.

Let me clarify- I am not against fun, and I am especially not against fun in a museum. If I’m not the first to come to the defense of the Wonder Room, it’s only because a dozen or so brilliant people from Education have thrown themselves in front of me. In my brief tenure as an Authorized Museum Lurker, I’ve had days made by seeing faces of all ages light up with excitement, fun, and most importantly, “aha!”

And that’s where I start to get down on Scooby. Because, while I want the museum to be a place where kids and adults can’t wait to go, I want them to be excited about the museum itself. Where’s the creativity behind waiting in line* for two hours, sitting on the lap of a registered trademark and leaving with a Polaroid and a pat on the head? I think a common assumption is that ‘fun’ must be easy, when in fact, I believe the opposite to be true. It’s why well-dressed adults peek their heads into the Wonder Room, mutter “Oh. Kid’s stuff,” eye-roll, and leave- And why I get so angry at them.

Post-S-D Day, however, I find myself at a bit of a loss. Yes, there was a line stretching back towards (and not to) the Picassos. Yes, the Wonder Room was hellishly full. But all those hyper kids and tired parents, did stick around. After Doo, the galleries were packed. Surprise Supplies, a free weekly program in which unusual materials are presented as viable art tools (which I love), had over 275 visitors. Viewed in terms of sheer numbers, Scooby Doo Day (which by the way, was set up by marketing), was a success.

So my question to you, internet, is- in trying to attract visitors to museums (or any other “cultural institution”) does anything go? Do the ends justify the means in this case?  Or am justified in my earlier grumblings? Have you ever had a similar moral dilemma?

Confessions from an Authorized Museum Lurker

Confessions from an Authorized Museum Lurker

About a month ago, I mentioned my transformation from intern to sometimes paid Authorized Museum Lurker. Since then, I’ve  slept almost thirty times, signed a new lease, started about two more projects, finished (or started finishing) three other projects, spent a week filling in for Chris in Adventure Out,* started training for a marathon- Oh yeah, and I forgot, got another job. Emily, the Wonder Room Facilitator has moved to take advantage of what sounds like an awesome opportunity, and as a result, I am now the Wonder Room Facilitator, adding two more days to my (paid!?) Authorized Lurking.

(dramatization. Real uniform does not include magic bracelets or hotpants. Lasso of Truth coming soon though.)

Speaking of business, the CMA and Wonder- Got to help with the early childhooh educator’s conference, The Wonder of Learning. Wow. I just- …yeah. The Italians speaking Italian! Sean being brilliant! Mama Suz’s fortune telling tent!
I’m still processing the day. If you, like I, had never really heard of Reggio Emelia, read this for a brief overview. I’ll save you from all my notes (read:gushing) that I took. Unless you’re really interested, in which case, let me know. We can get together and freak out over statements like “communicative dynamic between the (pre)school and the city” and “Everyday experience-> intimate explorations of everyday, quiet wonder”!
I’ll make tea.

And while I’m on it, about a month ago I wrote a post about hearing Nina Simon speak. I ended up trashing it as it was mostly just me waving my arms and fangirling out about how much I love her (and you will understand once you check her blog. You will.). But last week she called the CMA a “world class museum.

Boosh.

First Tour, and an Open Letter

Today I led my first Artful Adventures tour. Having only observed one tour a few weeks ago I was a bit nervous- what if I get lost around the museum? What if they laugh at me? What if they suddenly realize there’s more of them than me and they decide to mutiny? What if I sudennly forget my own name and consequently everything else I had planned to say?

The good news, is that as new humans, preschoolers are still mastering concepts like “speech” and “walking” and “what we do and do not put in our mouths” and as such haven’t had time to learn “Cool” “Uncool” or “Unprepared Dork.” Before we got past the rules I found myself with small people hanging on my every word and limb.

There was one cloud over the day, but rather than just talk about it to you, internet, I’ll just go ahead and address the problem directly.

Dear Adults (not just those I met today, but any one else who claims the title);

Thank you for being responsible. Seriously, someone needs to think about inside voices and when to use them and I sure don’t want to- so thanks. I also appreciate your trying to help make the tour successful via controlling your kids, reminding them to be quiet, not stomp and put on the appropriate anatomy (listening ears and the like). I think you might be a bit confused, however, as to what we were trying to do today/ So if it’s okay, I’d like to clear a few things up for you about what it is we try to do at Artful Adventures.

First of all, and this is the most important thing, we want to imagine. And we want your kids to imagine with us. We want to play and be silly. Sometimes when we’re trying to do these things, kids get loud and sometimes, even rowdy. True, there are times and places in the Real World where being loud and rowdy is Not Appropriate. Learning to be Appropriate, however, is much easier than learning how to be outrageous, so in our tours we like to focus on the latter. When we see who can walk through the gallery with the big big biggest steps we can, for example, sometimes those of us not quite used to walking at all take the big big biggest stomps we can. And that’s okay. Being silly like this is not only okay, it’s vital. Did you know that “active play selectively stimulates brain derived neurotrophic factor (which stimulates nerve growth) in the amygdala (where emotions get processed) and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (where executive decisions are processed.”?* Now you do.

I understand though, how you might’ve been confused today. We were in a museum, and most people do think of museums as Serious and Important cultural centers for reflection and academia. But, since you guys tried your best to be helpful, misguided though you may have been, I’m going to tell you a secret- Are you ready? Listening ears on?Okay-

Museums are fun. Seriously. They are seriously fun places.

If you think it’s fun to stroll thoughtfully, arms behind backs, nodding and humming insightfully at all the Art- you can do that! Does the art instead make you want to jump up and down because it’s so great? Does it make you want to stop the first person you see so you can tell them how awful it is and just how ANGRY it makes you? Both are also valid responses! It’s hard to learn this when you’ve already grown up with the idea that learning = boring and serious, so we’re trying to give your kids the truth early.

True, you might not have known all this (a lot of adults don’t), so it’s okay this time.

Next time, though, you stifle a child’s creativity in front of me and you will sit on your hands out in the hallway while we build badass forts in the Wonder Room.

Yours,

Cat

*Brown, Stuart L., and Christopher C. Vaughan. Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul. New York: Avery, 2009. Print

Just Like Honey

Been busy with everything BUT work lately. Sean’s project I’m helping with for the CMA goes up this week-ish, finally getting off arse to try and show work outside my house, one of my best friends is getting married this weekend plus I want to read everything ever written ever.

(Have we made sleep optional yet?)

After making a few rounds to the galleries this past week I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to show work, and how space for interactions are made/legitimized/etc. So far my most promising prospect is a tattoo parlor cum gallery. I keep flashing back to a  year or so ago, when Columbus artist Dina Sherman visited Ball State to talk about her work, specifically the IMA Gallery . Her main topic was how to ‘take over space’ not normally used for art (especially if not used at all).And while yeah, a show in a “real” gallery or museum would be nice, I really like the idea of unexpected encounters with art or at least slightly more unusual arenas in which to start the conversation.

completely unedited picture of the fantastic light we had after that big storm last week.