Sunday, March 29, 2015

Looking Back at ARTLando (plus a Gridwall Review)

Photo by Don Richards

ARTLando seems forever ago, and in a lot of ways it was. So why write about it now? I never had a chance to give it the reflection that an event of this magnitude really deserves. ARTLando was September 27th, two days later I started my new job as Collections Manager at the Orange County Regional History Center, seven days later was my 28th birthday, and two days after that my mom passed away.

ARTLando just got lost in the shuffle.

This was my first foray into a legitimate art festival, and six months of reflection has left me with the feeling of "Yeah, I could do that again." A day of reflection, however, left me with the feeling of "NEVER! Never again should I ever put my body through this!" I was bruised and sore and a little bloody, but it really was worth it.

Some big thanks go out to Dawn Schreiner who lent me her big fancy white tent and saved me a huge amount of up-front investment. It took me way too long to figure out how to set that tent up, and really all the credit for that goes to Kelly Gaiser and Joey Young- my impromptu set-up and tear-down crew that I egregiously overworked. The manpower needed to pull off an art festival is something I'll be giving some serious thought to before participating in another one. I'm so used to my husband being my partner in crime for art events that the addition of my daughter (and therefore the subtraction of my husband) really threw me off my game.

One big investment I did make was the Gridwall panels for displaying my framed pieces. It took Joey and I working together to get them up, but I was able to take them down by myself (with several seriously smashed fingers) and, with practice, I think I could become self-sufficient with the whole process. Once up, I was pleased (and surprised) with how sturdy they were. They also store fairly painlessly at home - something I was worried about due to our teensy tinsey house.

One of the components that set ARTLando apart was the live art making and the judging to be done on said live art project. I thought to myself "Sure, I've carved and printed a piece in one day before, let's give it the good ol' Whitney Broadaway overachieving try!" Needless to say, that did not work. I might have been able to finish my snake linocut if I wasn't busy talking to guests, selling artwork, and just not being rude in general. Might. Well, it didn't hurt to try, and I made a lot of headway into a new print. I don't think I'll miss dragging the Richeson Baby Etching Press to the next art festival I do.

One last thing that has to be mentioned: the people. The people at ARTLando were fantastic! The staff was incredibly helpful and nice (one helped out with setting up the tent which brings the total up to four people who could NOT figure that thing out!), the artists were talented and a pleasure to be around (I met so many new friends and was able to enjoy so many old ones), and the guests brought so much genuine interest and excitement to the day (many of which I'm still in contact with). I truly hope this becomes an annual event!

Me, my husband, and my daughter meeting one of the many puppies visiting ARTLando. Photo by Thuyvi Gates. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Collections Manager - Orange County Regional History Center

For the past six months I've had the pleasure to look out on this view as the new Collections Manager at the Orange County Regional History Center. It was sad leaving the UCF Library, but also very exciting to have a full time position doing something I love and working in a museum! One of the biggest perks of my new job is being so close to my own family's history. I am a fourth generation Central Floridian and my great-great-grandparents moved to Orlando in 1893. The Hanson family farm is now the site of Jones High School,  the Hanson Shoe Repair shop on Pine Street is now a speakeasy by the same name, and my Grandpa's packing house, Indian Lake Fruit Co., lives on in the citrus label collection. 
Here is a snippet from my newly updated CV to give an idea of what I'm up to over at the History Center, and no, I'm not calling people and collecting money:

"Responsible for the day-to-day management of the historical collection including completing and maintaining paperwork for donated items and loans and implementing basic conservation treatments. Monitor the environmental conditions and security of the museum’s permanent and traveling exhibits. Coordinate scheduling, delivery, and installation of museum traveling exhibits and complete condition reports. Maintain the museum collection management software database. Process and catalog collections with special emphasis on the 3-D artifacts and photograph collection. Assist in the creation and installation of exhibits. Assist in obtaining new donations and responsible for overseeing the collection management policy. Member of the Editorial Board for the quarterly publication of the Historical Society, Reflections Magazine."

View of the collection at our offsite storage facility