It’s been a few days now, and my legs (and my sleep pattern) have finally recovered from the second annual Northern Spark festival. Northern Spark is a Twin Cities arts festival based on the idea of Nuit Blanche. This year in Minneapolis, the event involved more than 200 artists.My friends and I were out all night and only made it to about 15 events. It was hard to decide where to go!
We started the night at Father Hennepin Park, playing at the projects that were there. We roasted marshmallows on the back of a bike, ate delicious 10,000 Licks popsicles and explored quite a few smaller projects. After that we headed to the Ten Second Film Festival, The Soap Factory and a street dance party.
At midnight, my friends and I took part in the Kuramoto Model firefly ride, where 1000 people had synchronized bike lights and rode across the Stone Arch Bridge. It was more of a bike scoot rather than a bike ride, but it was pretty magical to watch all of the lights blinking together.
After the bike scoot, we rode with a wild pack of cyclists to The Foshay Tower. Despite living in Minneapolis my entire life, I had never been to the top of the Foshay. The project there was interesting, but the view alone was worth the wait.
After a brief break for refreshments, we biked to Loring Park. At Lunalux Press we had a great time during their participatory hourly poster project “Letterpress Lock-In”, where every hour a limited edition poster was sourced from community ideas. Ours say “Minneapolis: Art Bike Love Laugh”. Pretty adorable.
Outside Lunalux was a cool car with a projection inside of it that made it look like it was traveling down a country road. It was pretty mesmerizing. From there, we headed to Walker Art Center, where there were tons of things happening. There were campfires in the Open Field. The galleries were also open, and as we were hitting the three a.m. wall we got sucked into a 25 minute long film of a flooding McDonald’s. It’s amazing how things get a little weird when you are sleep deprived (and maybe a little intoxicated.)
There were so many projects that I only caught a glimpse of that I wish I could have participated in. One of these was a cool restaurant hosting meals via Skype.
Throughout the whole night I was of course thinking how cool it would be to do a nighttime history event. The Minnesota History Center would be a little scary at night I imagine. Show those art people that they aren’t the only ones cool enough to stay up all night.
Early in my museum fellowship I learned about the glory of 3M Positionable Mounting Adhesive. Our space doesn’t have great ventilation, so we use this stuff for most prototypes. It’s pretty great, it basically turns anything into a giant sticker. Last summer I printed a life size mule and PMA’d him to foam core. Awesome. Continue reading
(Someone on the AAM LinkedIn group suggested this entry, so here it is! I am going to ask everyone that blogs with us to write one, since I love asking people how they got into the museum world)
So this time two years ago, I thought I’d be going to law school in fall. Thank the dear lord that didn’t happen. A fabulous professor took me out to lunch and convinced me that the world (specifically the Anishinaabe community) didn’t need anymore lawyers, but other educated people with diversified skill sets. I was a little sad at first (wish I could have sold my LSAT score to someone!) but I decided to explore other options. I never even thought of museums until another professor told me about a fellowship program being offered between my university and the Minnesota Historical Society.
Once I got into the fellowship, it was pretty obvious that the museum world was where I should be. Less insular than academia, because we deal with the public (people see our work!) More fun than law. Still meaningful. Our fellowships came with great internships, and I was lucky to land in a department where I found amazing mentors and inspiration. Unlike internships I have done in the past, they really seemed to want to teach me what they knew, and they were also interested in hearing what I have to say (which must be trying at times.) Then they gave me a job where I get to help make an exhibit. Pretty great opportunity fresh out of school.
I was kind of stupid for not thinking about going into museum work earlier. I spent three long, hot summers doing costumed interpretation at MHS’s Historic Fort Snelling and a few years on Walker Art Center’s Teen Arts Council. I had already been doing the work for almost 10 years, before I ever decided to work in museums.
I also have rock star parents that raised me to be a nerd. As a kid, my parents had to take me to the planetarium, the zoo or the art museum weekly and my mom had so many swingy pendulum drawings from the Science Museum that there was no more room on the fridge. My dad read to me every night from when I was born until I started reading to him when I was three. Thanks Mom and Dad!
Today is the 44th annual International Museum Day, which us museum nerds are kind of excited about, according to my Twitter feed. I am going to take the opportunity to give props to my favorite art museum, Walker Art Center. I started my “career” in museums as a teen on the Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council. I also grew up going there, with the most memorable aspect of my third grade experience being my teacher’s iconic “Closed Mondays.” shirt.
WACTAC deserves the majority of credit for getting me interested in museums the way that I am. I work in a history museum now, but my experiences on the council were really formative. Here’s what they do that worked for me:
My boss now probably doesn’t appreciate the confidence and bold attitude that WACTAC gave me. We were given the tools to think outside the box, and I couldn’t be more thankful that I had the opportunity.
I’ve been lucky in my life to have access to a lot of weird and awesome art. As a teenager I served on Walker Art Center’s Teen Arts Council, aka WACTAC. My WACTAC experience was really an unmatchable experience. In just a few short years I got to meet, work with and create with some pretty amazing contemporary artists. I was exposed to so many creative ways of starting conversation.
But now I work in a history museum. It’s pretty different than the art world, but many of those lessons I learned at the Walker are inspirational when thinking about what “museum unbound” means.
This is pretty awesome. But I think even simple projections could be used to create some radical street museums. We are working on an idea in this direction that we will discuss more in the coming weeks.
What do you think? How would you use projection?
What do Madame X, a murder, and a mobile phone have in common? They are all part of Murder at the Museum: An American Art Mystery, the first mobile detective game created by The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The app was built on TourSphere and produced by Green Door Labs.
Through the smartphone app, Met visitors are transported back in time to 1899, where they are attending an evening gala and are shocked to learn of the murder of Virginie Gautreau--who has since been immortalized in the painting Madame X by John Singer Sargent.
I just got back from a trip up north to film for my exhibit that opens in November. Long drive, yawn. So this is just a quick request for other museum folks that might want to start some group boards on Pinterest. What are you pinning that is museum/art/culture related?
You can find me at http://www.pinterest.com/flashiebearskin.
I love to pin about topics like American Indian Culture, museums (of course), gardening and art. Check me out.
(Don’t worry about being high-brow, every once in awhile I post kitty and/or puppy pictures.)
I’ll be honest. Until I attended the American Association of Museum conference, I had never heard the term EMP. But after a quick review, I discovered that I am indeed an Emerging Museum Professional. Fresh out of college, completed a great museum fellowship, currently working on my first exhibit. It’s an exciting thing. I pinned the little red badge to my name tag and went on my merry way.
A week later, this post got me thinking about what it means to be an EMP. Here’s my thought process:
I feel like this approach has gotten me through my first year of working in a department that is full of very well-established museum professionals. I am outspoken and bold, and usually I find my colleagues are excited by this. It’s a very fine line between bold and brash, and I know I’ve crossed it a few times, it is a learning experience.
But EMP’s can’t allow a fear of being judged by our colleagues to temper our value to our institutions and the museum field. The best thing we have to offer is our fresh ideas and new eyes. It is important to learn to speak up because your amazing ideas are worthless if they aren’t on the table. But they are also worthless if no one wants to listen to you.
Candy Chang sounds like a pretty awesome woman. Her resume is a little intimidating, but her projects are right up the alley I love. One of them recently made it’s way to Minneapolis. The Before I Die project started in Candy’s hometown of New Orleans, but has been turned into a toolkit so anyone can create a wall in their city. We recently got one here in Minneapolis as part of the Whittier Artists in Storefronts project, lead by local creative Joan Vorderbruggen.
I love this project because it’s simple, but asks an important question. It’s inviting, but profound. Chalk is also just a really fun medium, am I right? The toolkit also makes the project accessible (creatively) , but leaves me feeling a little conflicted about economic accessibility.