Friday, October 11

Career Day/Student Night at the Power Plant

On Wednesday evening, The Power Plant hosted an evening (Career Day/Student Night) for students to get to know artists and to begin thinking about next/alternate steps they may take on the way toward becoming artists professionally. The artists who came, all of whom were represented in the Micah Lexier show I wrote about recently, were at different stages in their careers but were all willing to hear out students and answer questions about their practices.
I wasn't sure what the format of the night would take and much to my chagrin, it was set up like speed-dating. There were two concentric circles set up with artists sitting in one circle and students rotating around the circle of facing chairs. Each conversation was to last three minutes.
I skipped the first round because as soon as the prospect of sitting and speaking to these people came up, my heart began to race and my stomach churned. I need to learn to stop having such visceral reactions to meeting new people. I reminded myself that the artists who volunteered to do this knew what they were in for, and many probably felt just as "on the spot" as I did. I also knew that this may be a once in a lifetime experience and it would be foolish to pass it by.

I came up with a question to pose to each one. Since I'm studying curatorial practice in school, I wanted to get a better understanding of the curator-artist relationship. I asked each one about that and got quite varying answers. I got a few negative reactions: an artist to told me he hated "being told what to do". Most answers, however, were quite positive. I got a good understanding of how collaborative the artist-curator relationship needs to be, and how most artists just wanted a curator who speaks to them and respects them. That sounds reasonable - isn't that what everyone wants?

All in all, I'm glad I took the chance. It wasn't easy, but if working with artists is part of the career I'm working toward, what better way than to jump in with both feet?

image taken from @ThePowerPlantTO

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