It is exciting to be taking over this blog and detailing my experience putting together an exhibit for the Emerging Curator Initiative. This is not only my first time putting together an exhibit, but also the first time I have ever blogged about something. Bear with me.
This project has already helped me learn a lot about myself. It has initially helped me realize that if you want to do something in this world, just do it. If you are passionate about it, make it happen. I started the whole curatorial process with the simple idea that I thought people would have fun going to an exhibit that involved fantastic, whimsical, and creative art. This idea evolved into multiple permutations with slightly different aspects but still embodied the idea that looking at this art would be fun. I believe many people don't enjoy art museums because they feel there is a traditionally elitist or snobby presence at these institutions. Maybe people don't feel like they know enough about art to go to an art show. For whatever reason, I wanted to create an exhibit where anyone could come in and simply enjoy looking at art.
The exhibit that I am working on is entitled Imaginature. The concept supporting the exhibit is that "nature incites imagination". Expanding on the concept, I looked at the idea of how many artists are inspired in one way or another by nature. I toyed with the idea of how nature inspires artists' imaginations and subsequently their imaginations warp the perception of nature in their art. I began by looking at art that involved "fantastic" and sublime imagery. This later developed into fantastic, imaginative, sublime, and surreal artworks. After sifting through countless galleries and local artists, I found a number of artists and artworks that fit the scope of my exhibit.
Last week, I completed the first full day of my internship at the Kirkland Arts Center. On this seminal day, I sent out the first emails to galleries and artists to ask for their involvement in the exhibit. I have heard back from a few in this past week and have started to forge relationships with artists and gallery people. While I know this will be an arduous process, I am incredibly excited to be getting started.
It has begun.
Sunday, March 24, 2013
Human+Nature's run is coming to a close at Kirkland Arts Center, but we have one more event before we wrap it up for good!
I hope you can all join us on Saturday, April 6th from 2 - 5pm in the KAC Gallery to hear brief talks from FIVE of Human+Nature's artists. They will be sharing more insight into the creation of their pieces and the ideas behind their work. The artists who will be speaking are:
After the talks, you'll have the opportunity (in groups or individually) to take one of Vaughn Bell's I Peds out in the neighborhood to make a map, sketch, collect some samples or write about your experience. Watch a short video about the I Ped Project here: Landscape for Walking and I Ped
You'll also have the option to take photos on your mobile phone during the walk or simply enjoy a moment observing the pieces of nature we can find in our urban environment. The photos you take will be uploaded into a group slideshow to view when we all return to the gallery. There will also be plenty of time to meet the artists, enjoy some good company and coffee, tea + donuts will be provided. Let's hope for some great weather, but I'll be making a back-up plan just in case!
In the meantime, I've been keeping busy working on my thesis and finishing up my classes for the quarter. We also started our first project at the Seattle Aquarium in the Creativity Inspiring Conservation Program. If you know high schoolers interested in art, writing, photography or video production, they can read more about this program and apply here: www.seattleaquarium.org/creativity
I was also very excited to accept the Exhibitions Coordinator position at Kirkland Arts Center. I'm looking forward to working more with a great group of staff and volunteers and the Kirkland community.
Friday, March 8, 2013
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Human+Nature’s opening reception is tomorrow night at Kirkland Arts Center (MAP) at 6:00pm. Hope everyone can be there to see the exhibit and join us for food, drinks and great company.
This past week has been all about setting up, installing the exhibition and getting the space ready for the reception. First step was taking down the previous exhibit- Urban Lake, curated by UW Museology alum, Shelly Leavens (check out the exhibit HERE). Shelly, a few of the artists and volunteers came in to de-install the exhibit on Sunday. It went so quickly, we were all done by late morning. That gave me some time to get ahead on the next step- patching and painting the gallery walls and pedestals.
Then when all is ready… bring on the wine and finger food! (Oh yes, and the public speaking… can’t forget about that.)
Friday, February 22, 2013
We’re a week away from the opening reception and there has been a lot to do! I’ve been working on the marketing and print materials for the exhibition over the last few weeks. Here’s a glimpse at a few of the things I’ve been creating for the show:
The first thing that went up was the webpage for Human+Nature on the Kirkland Arts Center website. You can see it here: KAC-Human+Nature It’s very simple, provides all the basic information on the show and just gives a brief statement of the theme. I wanted to make sure I included links to the artists’ websites for people who wanted to learn more about their work. I decided to have Maria Coryell-Martin’s painting Ornithologist Banding Tools be the representative work for the exhibition on the webpage and for the exhibition catalog (see below).
Like most galleries, the Kirkland Arts Center produces a postcard for each exhibition as a marketing tool. It feels a bit like a “save the date” for a wedding or event. The postcard usually has a striking image on the front and all the exhibition details on the back. I’m fairly familiar with Adobe Photoshop (although mostly self/ google taught) but this is the first time I’ve used InDesign or created this type of product with guidelines and bleed lines for the image. Definitely a good thing to have under my belt! There were a few hiccups, but I’m happy with how the postcards turned out. I decided to use Michael Hanson’s Aurora Ridge photograph for the front of the postcard. It’s a really eye catching image and a very literal representation of the show.
Oh yes, and then there's mailing out the 3,000+ postcards. I will take this moment to thank some very generous friends for helping me stick address labels on these little guys. And to thank Jenny, Kirkland Art Center's Development Assistant for taking the whole lot to the post office.
The catalog will be available to guests at the exhibition and provides more insight into how the specific works relate the show’s theme. I decided to divide the show into four main categories and used them to break the catalog into sections. This was a little difficult because so many of the works cross these different categories. But, having visitors use the catalog as a guide and letting them make those connections in the gallery is the fun part. I designed the catalog on Adobe Photoshop and it should be arriving early next week. I’m anxious to see how they turn out! Here’s a sneak peak at the cover:
Leading up to the show, the staff at the Kirkland Arts Center has been great about getting the info up on their Facebook and Twitter feeds. I’ve been doing my best to keep up with this blog as part of the social media aspect as well. Next week, as the show is being installed, we’re hoping to work together to spread the word about Human+Nature through these different outlets. So look for some “behind the scenes” stories and photos of the installation coming next week!
Another big part of curating the exhibition is coordinating the transportation of the pieces to the Kirkland Arts Center. I’ve been putting my scheduling skills to work and am fortunate to have very flexible and generous artists willing to drop off their pieces or meet me at obscure times. So far I’ve only had one issue: my teeny tiny car!
Confession Advice #7: Make friends with people who drive SUVs right around exhibition time.
Sunday, February 17, 2013
And now for the men behind the cameras- time to spotlight the photographers in the artist line up.
When I wrote about my original concept for the show I mentioned how inspirational Daniel’s photography has been for Human+Nature. His oil spill photography really left an impression on me and I was eager to see more of his work as I did research for this exhibition. His other photos do not disappoint. Two of his oil spill photographs and one from his series on Indonesia will be displayed in the show.
BIO: Born in Madrid, Spain, Daniel Beltrá is a photographer based in Seattle, Washington. His passion for conservation is evident in images of our environment that are evocatively poignant. To capture this, he has found it is often best to work from the air, which more easily allows for the juxtaposition of nature with the destruction wrought by unsustainable development. Aerial photography gives a unique perspective emphasizing that the Earth and its resources are finite. By taking viewers to remote locations where man and nature are at odds, Daniel hopes to instill a deeper appreciation for the precarious balance we are imposing on the planet.
Over the past two decades, Beltrá’s work has taken him to all seven continents, including several expeditions to the Brazilian Amazon, the Arctic, the Southern Oceans and the Patagonian ice fields. For his work on the Gulf Oil Spill he has received many accolades. In 2012 he was shortlisted for the Prix Pictet Power Award. In 2011 he received the Wildlife Photojournalist of the Year and Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award from the Natural History Museum, the Lucie Award for the International Photographer of the Year - Deeper Perspective, and was given an Award of Excellence by the China International Press Photography Awards and Picture of the Year International. In 2009, Beltrá received the prestigious Prince’s Rainforest Project award granted by Prince Charles. Other highlights include the inaugural “Global Vision Award” from the Pictures of the Year International in 2008. In 2007 and 2006 he received awards for his work in the Amazon from World Press Photo. Daniel’s work has been published by the most prominent international publications. Daniel Beltrá is a fellow of the prestigious International League of Conservation Photographers.
See more of Daniel’s photography at http://www.danielbeltra.com/
I sort of stumbled upon Michael’s work when I was researching artists for my proposal last year. Michael’s travelled all over and has dozens of photos that would be wonderful to include in this exhibition- it was very hard to choose! You’ll see his photograph, Aurora Ridge, on the postcard for the show.
BIO: Michael Hanson is a travel + documentary photographer based in Seattle, Washington. He was named one of the World's Top Travel Photographers by Popular Photography Magazine.
Michael Hanson's photography career began after playing Minor League Baseball for the Atlanta Braves. His travel + documentary work has taken him to over 23 countries around the world. He recently completed his first book, a project documenting urban farming in America, titled Breaking Through Concrete. He has taught numerous photography workshops, including National Geographic Student Expeditions in the Sacred Valley, Peru. He was the co-founder for the Center Street Photography Program in Birmingham, AL. He has judged the 2010, 2011 and 2012 DC Fotoweek Photography contest. Michael's fine art work is in the permanent archive at the Sir Elton John Collection.
See all the places and people Michael has captured in his photos at http://michaelhansonphotography.com
Maria Coryell-Martin told me to check out Benj and Sara Joy Steele’s work for the exhibition- the pair work as a documentary team focusing on issues related to climate change. Two of Benj’s photographs from the series Facing Climate Change: The Tinder People will be exhibited in Human+Nature.
BIO: Benj is a photographer, producer and designer. Originally trained as a geologist, he came to photography inspired by its power to motivate environmental and social change. Benj's work has appeared in National Geographic, Mother Jones, Orion and PDN and has been exhibited at more than a dozen events and venues including the Houston Center for Photography and the Ansel Adams / Mumm Napa Fine Art Gallery. He is a member of Novus Select and currently serving as a project representative on Blue Earth's Board of Directors. Benj graduated from Carleton College in 2002 and lives with Sara in Washington's North Cascades.
As a documentary team, Benjamin Drummond and Sara Joy Steele have been telling stories about people, nature and climate change for almost a decade. Their personal project, Facing Climate Change, has been featured at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, in Orion magazine, Photo District News and Mother Jones and as a multimedia presentation shown at a variety of venues, from conferences and prisons to universities. They also help a diverse range of clients tell stories, including Conservation International and the Washington State Department of Corrections.
Learn more and check out their documentaries at http://bdsjs.com
Curator Confession #6: I'd definitely caught a bit of a tavel bug from all these photos... when can we leave??
Monday, February 11, 2013
See Fred’s paintings and amber insects on his website at http://www.fredlisaius.com/
Check out more of Karen’s paintings and sculptures here: http://www.karenhackenberg.com/
See more of Vaughn’s projects at http://www.vaughnbell.net/
Next week: Spotlight on the last three artists- the photographers of the group!