Friday, August 29, 2008
Working Art Project Launch
Today, my new project, "Working Art" was launched at theOak Park Police Station . I wanted to test my passionate opinion that art really is for more than those of us with arts training.
My thinking was to use the Waterways Project as an experiment to bring art to a busy stressful work environment. I wondered if art would be a welcome antidote to work place stress and spark discussions about the value of art. I wanted to work with a community whose members might be too busy to attend art events and wanted to bring art to their work place. I wondered if people in such an environment would welcome a creative , personal art experience that differed from the highly processed commercial art of advertising.
One of the most stressful work environments I could think of was a police department. Many of you may be thinking that this is an unusual venue for a show but the purpose of this project was not to sell art but to use art to enrich workers lives. I met with our Chief of Police, Chief Tanksley and laid out my proposal for an art space in the station. He not only loved the idea, but he himself has been working on enhancing the visual environment of the station already.
This morning, Craig and my friend Maria and I arrived and met with Fred from maintenance to hang the show. No artist could ask for a better crew! Fred in particular, with his experience hanging shows in the Village Hall, organized the actual hanging with professional dispatch. The four of us had the show up in an hour.
I've made a one year commitment to place shows by various artist's in this space. I have big dreams for the success of this project but my first issue is to gauge the interest of the staff members themselves. Will this particular law enforcement community welcome art in the station? The Chief has suggested I hand out a survey in a week or so and I'll be getting feed back soon. I'm so excited to have my beloved Waterways Project seen by this community of hard working public servants.
All day long, I've been grinning like a fool. This is way more fun than organizing an marketing pitch to art galleries. If this works out the way I hope, the project will be as fun for the officers as it is for me.
Many thanks to my husband Craig for designing the survey (much harder than you'd imagine!!) and for his support.
Maria, thanks for your excellent hanging advice and proof reading my show text. I can't figure out what is worse, my spelling or my typos. You make me look good.
My famous friend Kelly, impassioned union activist recommended a great question for the survey.
In a future post I'll share my thoughts and experiences about volunteer work and what issues I thought about in constructing the "Working Art Project".