November 1, 2008
In October I was asked by the international art organization, Res Artis to be one of three key note speakers at their annual meeting held in Amsterdam. Res Artis is a worldwide networking organization that connects artists to residential art centers. The residencies can be for short periods of time or not, in large cities or not. the idea of Res Artis is to offer the artist an opportunity to create and communicate outside of the box in a variety of location throughout the world. Meeting artists and organizers from all over the world was important for me at this stage of my career. I met artists like Roel Schoenmakers who recently traveled to African communities that had little or no infrastructure and started creating artful playgrounds with recycled materials. Because of Roel’s creative approach and vision, tires, used wooden planks and plastic netting created a small soccer arenas, benches and swimming hole. Roel invited community participation reestablishing a communal sensibility in another wise fragile environment. This kind of community activism resonated among the tribally based people in these African communities, giving them a sense of accomplishment and cohesiveness as a community.
I mention the Res Artis experience because after the remarkable experience of Always Becoming, I began asking,’ what next?’ How does the spirit and creative momentum of Always Becoming evolve into a larger format that can be seen and experienced by even more people. ‘How do I connect with a global community of artists who are using their creativity in their communities?’. The people I met and spoke with in Amsterdam opened a door for me that offered a new level of understanding while introducing me to a worldwide audience. The opportunity of hearing what artists are doing in other parts of the world and sharing the pod casts of Always Becoming, I learned that Always Becoming, like Roel’s efforts in Africa have enormous potential in the area of community based art projects. Until my trip to Amsterdam I wondered if community based art projects really made a lasting difference, now I know.
As we prepare for our first interview with Margaret Archuleta - curator and selector in the NMAI Sculpture Competition - I’m even more certain and energized with the thought that our one hour film will make important and lasting connections to a global audience.
In my next installment, we’ll have details of the interview with Margaret Archuleta and clips to share of our interview.