“Despite my everyday grumblings and bewilderment, I have never been more appreciative of how indescribably wonderful this life can be.” ~ Walter Tunis
There’s a great exhibit in Special Collections right now called The Immigrant Experience and Contribution in Appalachian Coalfields. It was put together in partnership with the Appalachian Center. We provided audio clips for the listening kiosk. Pretty cool stuff, and I really liked it sitting beside the old instruments. What a nice juxtaposition between the old and the new. You may recall that last week we welcomed Alessandro Portelli. His talk was also sponsored in part by the Appalachian Center. I think they’re cookin’ with gas over in the Appalachian Center. I’m darned proud of ’em, and even prouder to be Appalachian (as if you couldn’t tell).
“Buddha kindness should become the natural way of life, not the exception.”
~ Gautama Buddha
Details for the exhibit have finally come together. Late this afternoon, the date of the reception and the postcards (above, front and back) were finalized. I posted the postcard image on Facebook and was blown away by the response. The support of the church, my friends, my family, my co-workers, acquaintances, even friends on facebook whom I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting in person: they’re all showing such great support for the work, and for me personally, that I’m speechless. What a blessing this life has been.
“Consider becoming the type of energy that, no matter where you go,
you always add value to the spaces and lives of those around you.”
This was a big, nervous day for me. If you’ve been following the outhouse, then you know I’ve been working on a series of photos called Sacred Spaces. The first exhibit of the work was scheduled to hang today at First Presbyterian Church in downtown Lexington. Because God and the Universe love me, it just happened to coincide with Sandy Davis’ first return to Lexington since moving to Boston. Sandy has been a big supporter of my work and she always had my back when it comes to all the things I’m horrible with, like marketing myself. I’ve leaned on her artistic senses to put this exhibit together, so it was only right that she should be there when it went up. I trust her eye, and I trust Marlon Hurst, so I stepped aside and let them hang the show. It was a huge load off my shoulders, frankly. I get too close to the work sometimes to know what’s best. I’m indebted to them forever for helping me. And while they did the heavy lifting, Harriette Swart and Stacy Yelton talked to me at length about the work itself. Their conversations were so cathartic, so soothing, that my nerves calmed and I felt more confident about the work, and most importantly, the impact of the work. It was a truly special time that I will never forget (Sandy insisted on the Kopana style selfie, and Sandy gets what she wants!).
My day wasn’t done. No, this great day was meant to be a spectacular day! We left the exhibit and met our Happiness gal pals at National Provisions for a late brunch. This was the first time we’ve all been together since Erin had moved before Sandy, Annie, and Jeanne Marie joined us. Plus, we’ve added Harriette Swart and Marcie Christensen because they are meant to be here. We’ve all had a big year, but most of us have undergone big life changes; from moving homes to changing careers to adult responsibilities, and so on. I just can’t believe how lucky I’ve gotten to find these friends. It’s mostly thanks to Deb Chenault for putting her Happiness Project out there and letting us be part of it. Every one of these women is talented, unique, big-hearted, and smart. I’m just happy and in love with all of them. And Marlon, too, because he’s cool enough to be a gal pal… if he was a gal. I mean that from the bottom of my heart.
“Heaven on Earth is a choice you must make, not a place you must find.” ~ Wayne W. Dyer
The new School of Art and Visual Studies at UK had an open house this evening to celebrate their new building. The first person we ran into was, of course, Arturo Alonzo Sandoval. The funniest line of the night came when he said to Crystal, “And what about you and your first marriage?” “She backed out,” I said quietly. “I’m not married,” Crystal said, holding up her ring finger. “No, no, your first marriage,” Arturo repeated. “She backed out,” I said louder. “I’ve never been married,” Crystal said with a hint of consternation. And then it just sort of spiraled into hilarity from there.
It’s a big deal that UK finally put its art students in a decent space. When Crystal and I went through the program we were in the Reynolds Building, an old tobacco warehouse. The bathrooms didn’t have stall doors. Cockroaches the size of whales would drop from the ceiling. Floors were so flimsy only God kept some poor art student from falling through. Back then there was talk of doing away with the fine arts program all together. Let’s face it, art students don’t generally go on to become CEOs or heads of Fortune 500 companies. That’s money that will never come back into UK’s coffers. If we’re lucky, art grads will make enough money to survive, though only just. The rest of us get real jobs and do art on the side. There’s not a lot of financing to come back. Our wealth lies in something other than money. So, it was a happy day to be able to tour this fantastic space and celebrate UK’s recommitment to the arts.
Perhaps my favorite part of the event was the pseudo photo booth they had set up in the lighting studio. Crystal and I walk in with our matching Canon 6D’s, whip ’em out, and the guy just sort of looks at us. Then we point them at each other and he got it immediately. It was a hoot.
Seeing artwork from our classmates, and other alumni from all over the country was heartwarming, and I just adore Crystal and Arturo. They made my experience at UK exceptionally rich. And look at us all these years later, still fun and frisky and happy to see one another. I wouldn’t take anything in the world for their friendship, and I’m so proud that UK stepped up to the plate and gave quality faculty like Arturo someplace decent to teach new artists. It’s been a long time coming, and what a great space it is. Well done.