Saturday, April 18, 2009

Art in General members at my studio today: lots of kiddies!

Today at about 4:00, the Art in General members came to my studio. There were about 5-6 adults, and I think 7-8 little kids (they were runnin' all over, so I couldn't count.) So it was a pretty energetic crowd, to say the least!

I pulled everyone into the building, and told the kids that a big dog might howl at them, but that they shouldn't be afraid of him. And indeed they weren't afraid. Within minutes, Lucius the dog was given a 4-child hug. I think he was quite the gentleman about it. He stood patiently and wagged his tail a little, like, "Oh... thanks."

I pulled out all the chairs I could find, and got folks settled down with glasses of juice and started talking about my work. The kids were very sweet, but noisy the way kids are, so I spoke loudly and tried to talk about the work in a way that little folks would understand. I kind of wish I had known there were going to be so many kids--it might have been nice to prepare some kind of activity for the little guys or something.

The adults that had come along asked really great questions. I wish I could have remembered everyone's name, but alas, I can't remember even one person's name aside from the AiG folks I already knew. Anne Barlow and Kara Meyer asked very thoughtful questions about the concepts that went into the work, and how the new project differed from the older videos I had been making. Of the AiG members, there was one man who asked me a lot of questions about my sound designs and my compositional choices; a very nice pregnant lady who asked me if I had a background in dance; a woman who was into hiking; a man who asked tons of questions about my performance process. The kids asked me about the pets, and asked where the cat was, which was really cute. One little girl very quietly picked up a book about paper airplanes from my bookshelf, and looked at the pictures on the couch the whole time.

After a while the kids got fidgety, so they got up out of their seats and played on the floor with Lucius, or looked at the guinea pig. While they played, the adults asked the bulk of their questions, and I managed to focus and present my ideas about the work. There are a lot of things I wish I had said and didn't, but I guess that's how it goes with any presentation or studio visit. And I think it's good that it was more of a conversation rather than a lecture.

I think folks stayed about 45 minutes. By the end of that stretch, the kids all had to use the potty, and were ready to get going. I think the grown-ups were ready to stretch their legs too, and Lucius was definitely finished with playtime. There was a big procession to the bathroom on the way out, and there was one kid who was FOR THE FIRST TIME going without diapers. He had to wait in line for the bathroom and kept talked urgently about having to "poopy," so I was a little nervous. But he made it, and pooped in a foreign toilet for the first time in his life. The studio visit was a success on many levels.

On the way out the door, one of the kids knocked over a big bowl of change that made a huge noise. I'm not sure which kid it was, but after I heard the clatter, I looked over to see a whole little pack of kids looking stricken. So I assured them that change on the floor was no big deal. That was the biggest drama of the studio visit. (Oh, and someone managed to pull the towel rack clean off the wall, but it was loose to begin with and easy to fix again.) One of the dads offered to have the kids help me clean it up, which was sweet, but it seemed like they were all itching to get out into the beautiful weather, so I sent them on their way.

It was cute having a pile of kids around, playing and having fun, and then it was also awesome when afterwards they all went home, so I could have a stiff drink. Lucius felt the same way.

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