Saturday, April 5, 2008

The mad dance of an artist

On Thursday, I worked on the volunteer packets for Fine Arts Day at my daughter's school. I am not a detail person by nature. But I sorted through sticky notes and pressed on. Usually I can conquer one big thing a day. That was it for me. I did manage to go running, pick up my son from track, and get my daughter and friends to the theater for their preview performance. Dinner was once again a fragmented affair, but still good. We had some shredded chicken and whole wheat penne with the last of the frozen arugula walnut pesto from last year's garden.

Friday seemed to officially begin the weekend even though my husband and son had normal days. I took my daughter out for breakfast. She was doing a school day performance of the play, and I was helping with concessions. Mid-day. I took her back home to rest between performances, but such was not the case for me. I had to design new business cards to put with my artwork at the exhibit. My old cards include my site. Unfortunately, we let that registration slide. Now somebody wants $600 plus to reactivate it. Not going to happen. Better to spend $40 printing new business cards. I am happy with the new cards. They are a better reflection of my work at this time. Pick up son's friend. Daughter stays home to catch her ride to the theater. Drive to Lancaster to the galleries. As we are parking I realize that I may have neglected to feed daughter her dinner. Nothing I can do about it now. We stopped at the Lancaster Literary Guild and let the boys see an exhibit of portraits of authors using calligraphy and their words as brushstrokes to create their likenesses.

The next stop was the YWCA where my paintings and the paper dolls were exhibited. The room looked great. Considering the place was not an art gallery by design, the staff did a great job highlighting the works. They had a great variety which really worked together as a statement of Sexual Violence Prevention. I was mesmerized by many pieces, especially Mary Lou Weaver Houser's wall hanging that was used as the exhibit centerpiece. It had such a spiritual presence. I was pleased that so many people approached me to tell me how moved they were by the exhibit of paper dolls, which were strung along a clothes line and attached with tiny clothes pins--a device that allowed viewers to see both sides of the dolls. Because they are in an African drumming ensemble at their middle school, the boys had come along with us specifically to see the African dancers and drummers. Their performance was later, so we strolled over to the Lancaster Museum of Art to take in the Maurice Sendak exhibit. How much fun. I had wanted to see the exhibit when it was at the Jewish Museum in New York. I was pleased that it came to me instead. Maurice Sendak has always been a favorite of mine. He never dumbs down a tale for kids. Some people have called his stories inappropriate, but I find them to be perfectly tuned into a child's thought process and questioning mind.

Back at the YWCA, we saw the first round of the African Dance. Janet Peck's dancers and N'Bonye drummers were wicked good! I may just join their drumming weekend in May. Do I have a free weekend? But my interest was not the wonder of the evening. My normally reticent 13-year-old son voluntarily joined the dancers for a dance he knew. His friend was more reserved, but I told him I would dance if he did. The three of us danced with the three "African" goddesses. Had there not been an audience, I would have been content to dance with them all night. I must get myself to a class! Add Janet to the list of women who inspire me. She goes to Guinea, attending camps and performing, for two months a year to study her craft. And a shout out to Tammi Hessen and her drumming. (Turns out we were rivals in high school field hockey and track.) I think I need to clone myself, to experience all of the arts out there. These women rock, and I so enjoyed seeing them consecrate the space with their music and dance while my artwork was hanging as backdrop. A great way to end what had been a very full day of arts appreciation and participation.

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