After Reassurances

Our first exhibit of Reassurances is done. Some takeaway points:

 1. Most things are more than worth the wait. Here I am seeing the exhibit for the first time at Cedar Crest College in Allentown, PA, relieved and grateful that LouAnn and I didn't drop the ball over the last four years. Thank you to Jill, Brian, Nancy, the entire Cedar Crest Art department, driver Chuck, students, staff and administration of Cedar Crest College, and photographer Tom. They all made us feel welcome, even though our zealous Minnesota hugging habits surprised a few!
2. Community engagement connects us in unexpected and lovely ways. Fellow artist, Minnesota native, and Cedar Crest Art professor and department chair, Jill Odegaard, led a community engagement project in conjunction with our exhibit. 100 college student and staff bowls, made from paper pulp, clay and mixed-mediums and inscribed with their own writing against fears, were on display in the entrance of the gallery. Most of the bowls were created by students for art courses, but a few were created by college staff. Students started with an online Skype writing workshop with LouAnn, and then made bowls. Later, Cedar Crest staff were invited to participate in bowl-making too... bonding ensued. And, we're told, the closing reception was more highly attended than usual. A student shared with us the story about how she got to know a staff member from another department at one of these community bowl-making workshops, and they were excited to find out just how much they have in common and exchanged phone numbers. New connections that may not happen otherwise--this was a whole new scale of collaboration for us, and we thank Jill for teaching us more about it! (NY Times article, The Art of Community Engagement.)
The crowd ready to hear the artists speak.
The students were so proud and excited about their own bowls.
Cedar Crest student and staff bowls by the entrance of the gallery.

Me, speaking with my hands, or perhaps trying to form a bowl out of thin air!

 LouAnn and I, relaxed and already percolating more ideas.

3. Walk into the the unknown, carrying your fascinations and obsessions. For me these doors-within-doors paintings provide a balance to the exhibit. They are still pretty new to me, but the theme of our artists' talk turned out to be "There is not a formula for collaborating or making art, but pay attention and don't ignore the natural progressions and obsessions that keep showing up in your work, thoughts, and path." Doors, like the sheep and pears in my past work, could be cliche symbols or powerful personal metaphors. The 'door within the door' in these works relates to really paying attention to the beauty of the every day--the subtle, hidden door within the door that transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Displayed curved from the gallery wall, echoing the curves of the bowls.

1 comment:

Dawn Rossbach said...

This was great to read about.