I recently almost missed an opportunity of a (my) lifetime! While I follow our local museums and galleries on Twitter and get the occasional email news update, I haven’t been doing a spectacular job on keeping up on, or at least making myself aware of, special events, exhibits or shows. Thank goodness I have friends and family looking out for me to say, “Hey, aren’t you into that art stuff, like Andy Warhol?”
In my particular case, with less than 24 hours notice, I dropped and altered my (relatively easy to drop and alter) summer plans, and drove to the Figge Art Museum in Davenport to see Donald Warhola do a gallery talk about his uncle, Andy Warhol. I unfortunately missed the opening evening and his anecdotes from that particular speech, but I was able to absorb every word he shared the second day.
I have a small obsession with Andy Warhol, and was so entranced by anything and everything that Donald had to say about his uncle. His memories of his uncle were very humanizing compared to what is actually known, or speculated, of the pop-culture icon. Donald’s knowledge of his uncle’s work was extremely extensive and his investment in his uncle’s legacy is evident in his support and role in maintaining the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. Aside from describing his uncle’s work as culturally relevant and sometimes controversial, even today, one line I found to be extremely fitting and amusing when recalling memories and events with or about his uncle, was that, “to every story, there are five versions,” meaning the myth and legend of Andy Warhol will never be completely uncovered. This statement only further fueled my love for the enigmatic and iconic Pop artist and his artwork.
I would have been a little devastated if I had found I had completely missed this opportunity, and had only myself to hold accountable. It is so important for the vitality of the arts to make connections, interact, and continue to support our local museums and arts communities so they may continue to flourish. In the same way, it’s important for us as art educators to make these connections and continue to feed and fulfill our own artistic understanding, interests, and growth. In this way, we become more informed, innovative, and effective artists, educators and community members.
Make sure you join mailing lists, frequent museum websites, talk and make connections with other art educators and related art fields, and check the entertainment or datebook sections of your newspaper. If you want to get really crazy, get a membership to your local museum! Memberships are relatively affordable (especially as an educator), plus you may get special access to exhibits and events, to visiting artists and speakers, and have the privilege of being in “the-know” for upcoming events. Just think of the opportunities you could experience and pass on to your students!
How do you stay connected to your local museums and arts communities?
What has been the most impressionable exhibit or gallery talk you’ve attended?
How do you involve your students in your local arts events?