what goes on while the gallery is dark

Everyone always thinks that August is vacation time for educators at arts centers and museums.  The gallery is dark.  There are no visitors to welcome.  School has not resumed.  Art Camp has ended and lonely lunch-bags have returned to campers or been exiled to lost and found.  So, it’s a good time to head for cooler temperatures or sandy beaches, right?

Perhaps not.

Work takes place in earnest and it’s one of the busiest times of the year for educators.  I thought I would give you a taste of what has been going on in the education department these first two weeks of August.

Art Camp ended on August 6 after six fun-filled, artistically challenging weeks.  Trash bag jellyfish, box cities, papier-mache creatures, and art cars that raced one another have all found permanent installation spots in children’s homes.  However, all the extra art materials had to be sorted, stacked, and moved back to storage either at the gallery or off-site.  This is a major undertaking and luckily seven extra sets of intern hands made it a quick turnaround.

With the gallery dark, Explore More! is dark as well.  But with the next exhibition just three weeks away, the gallery guide needs to be written, materials chosen, and art buckets filled.  Thank goodness for an intern willing to take on one last job before heading back to campus and for docents who plan to turn out for a stocking party to outfit the buckets.  Maybe with all this support I can make a break for the beach after all?

But first, to meet print deadlines, all programs supported by the Reston Community Center have to be mapped out and confirmed for the winter and spring of 2011. The programs may be 10 months away, but the guide is due now.  I have confirmed:  six artists to lead Appetite for Art discussions; three artists to lead four Super Studio classes; a theatre group to participate in TGIF: Free Fridays,  and two artists from Zigzag Crafts Gallery to lead a weekend family workshop.

Did I mention that I met with hub theatre folks to finalize the selections and the schedule for our series of staged readings for the coming season?  It’s always exciting to see what Helen and her team have suggested and how seamlessly the theme of each corresponding exhibition supports the works they have chosen.  Our exhibitions are not stage sets, they become characters central to the plot.

Linda Martin at Dogwood Elementary School has never disappointed.  Her love for the kids at her school, her passion for and interest in the arts, and her steadfast support of our partnerships have been exemplary over the past two years.  This fall should prove no different when the entire third grade will visit the gallery, make art, and work with poet Bernadette Geyer in the classroom during Freya Grand’s exhibition, Journey.  A big thanks to our local Target store who supports this partnership.

And, last but certainly not least, is the partnership with Jane Franklin Dance Company.  Once again, professional dancers will perform a site specific work in the  gallery choreographed by Jane.  Original music by Steven Rogers will accompany the performance.  We confirmed the date, brushed up the written description for pr, and I just received images from Jane this morning of her dancers to go along with the press.

Now, I’m tired.

I think a few days at the beach, or at least in my backyard with a tall glass of iced tea, should recharge my batteries as I head into week three of August.  I forgot…I have to get back to Julie Liddle to schedule the Art in Hand art classes for the fall…

Suzi Guardia, Director of Education


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