Thursday 2/16/17 Spectrum Artworks, open studio hours 1-4 pm - 3 hours
This week I finally have something exciting to talk about! This Thursday February 16th, I started as a teaching artist volunteer at Spectrum Artworks.
I went there to meet with Jes Reyes (who is the manager person at the art studio) at 1pm, and arrived exactly at the same time as Iris (another TA-student who is also doing the residency there). When we went in, we were greeted by the receptionist (whose name I unfortunately don't remember yet), and then continued to a spacious waiting room. After a short while, Jes arrived, and my first impression was that she seemed easy-going and nice.
She started by giving us a tour in the building. I was surprised to find out that it used to be a funeral home, since now the building was just bustling with activity, and people going about their tasks. We started by climbing to the second floor, which was mostly filled with meeting rooms. Many of them were in use, so we just got a glimpse of what it was like. The staff kitchen was also in the second floor, and it was nice to hear that volunteers could use it too.
Then we went to the first floor, and saw some more meeting rooms and offices. One of the offices was named "zen-room" because of its creative decorations. Then, besides the other areas that we were already familiar with, we saw an internet and phone corner that was free for people to use, and a bigger meeting room, where some art workshops were sometimes held, because of the beautiful natural light that came from the huge windows of the room.
The basement was where our tour ended, and that is also where the art studio was. To get to the studio, we walked through a lounge area, where people went to hang-out and socialize and were provided food and drinks. The atmosphere there was warm, and people seemed content and happy, many of them greeted us with excitement.
It was easy to tell when we entered the art studio, since the moment we stepped in, there was just art, everywhere. There was an incredible variety too: collages, paintings, found-object sculptures, drawings, photographs... and so many others. It showed clearly from the work that these people were serious about what they were doing. Professionals. That moment was probably when I started to get slightly worried... Was there anything that I could teach to these people anymore, if they already were so good at what they were doing? I didn't have too much time to think about this, since Jes proceeded with introducing us to all the studio-members who were present. Most of them had their own spots around the studio, but some of them liked to switch around and work at different areas, so we just walked around and talked to everyone. All of them were such interesting characters, and fun to talk to in their own ways. So much so, that I felt like in those short three hours, I actually got know them a bit.
After introducing us, we had a longer meeting with Jes, discussing over what we would be doing as volunteers. There were so many things that kept bubbling up in my mind, that I probably ended up asking twenty questions from her, all of which she politely answered. Basically what we would be doing, is just being a helpful, supportive presence in the studio (then also some housekeeping things, like cleaning and organizing). We wouldn't by any means teach them, because everyone is allowed to work in the way they want. I think this method gets exactly to the heart of what art-making should be like: fun. Our job is to hang out, and make sure that people get all the support and positive feed-back that they need, in order to make art-making fun for them (It's weird how this idea actually hits close to what I've said in many of my artist statements).
At the end of our meeting, we filled out schedule-sheets of when we could work. I basically wrote down every Thursday and Friday when I didn't have any other residencies or shadowings. So far it looks like it definitely won't be a problem to get all my required hours in and more.
When we had finished figuring out our schedules, we were free to hang out with the artists in the studio. My worries about not being able help them in any way resurfaced for a moment, but just immediately dissolved, when the people started talking to us, and asking us questions. Many of them were already excited about our future lessons, and told us what they would be interested in. Among other things, there was a strong interest to figure drawing, and learning more about digital art. I'm currently in a figure drawing class, and doing surprisingly well in it, and Iris is basically a Photoshop-guru, so I feel like we can definitely do the classes that they want. We later asked Jes to set up some preliminary dates for our classes, so that we can start preparing. So far it looks like we'll be doing them April 6th and 20th.
The three first hours working at Spectrum went by really fast, and it was 4 pm almost too soon. I have to say that I'm really excited to go back, and learn more. Next update will probably not be "novel-length" like this one, but I bet I'll have a lot of cool stuff to talk about then too! Until next time my dear readers!
(I'm surprised how fun writing a journal like this is, why have I never done this before!)