November 11, 2010

-i'm bad at introductions-

I've been sitting in my comfy blue chair with my computer on my lap for some time now... trying to figure out how to introduce the art center without being overwhelming and gabbling on and on about it like i always do.  I am all too aware that i can single handedly stress other people out by talking about it.  (NOT a good date topic.  Equals date FAIL.)

So, lets talk about inclusion vs. exclusivity.  Working for a culturally specific and historically significant art center can seem like a touchy or strange situation, especially if it's obvious that I don't belong to that group, but to me it's a non-issue.  What is most important is that people are introduced to the space with an awareness of and respect for it's history, mission, and place in the community.  Although the art center is one of the oldest African American art centers in the country, it is not an place designed to be exclusive.  "Welcome home."  That's what we say to every person who walks in those doors regardless of race, gender, economic background... you get the idea.  It is a home.  It is a sanctuary.  It is a living historical institution (... a museum, a gallery, a workshop, a meeting place, a hub for artistic thought and expression... i can wear you out on what it "is".)  IT IS NOT EXCLUSIVE.  (Praise the stars and the cosmos!)

The idea is to share the rich history and let people navigate the space with informed eyes, open minds, and eager hearts.  I think i just wrote a formula for love? 


eghads this is getting ridiculous.

Point being, this is an inclusive community not an exclusive one.  The art center is going to be overwhelming no matter how you're introduced to it- so for now i will leave you with a poem.  (OH YEAH- THIS JUST HAPPENED.)  This is by an artist who spent a lot of time at the art center, and is known to have enjoied sitting in the window of our gallery.  Her book of Selected Poems was my favorite bit of reading material that was given to me as part of my introduction to the art center.  Without further adieu...

kitchenette building

We are things of dry hours and the involuntary plan,
Grayed in, and gray. “Dream” makes a giddy sound, not strong
Like “rent,” “feeding a wife,” “satisfying a man.”

But could a dream send up through onion fumes   
Its white and violet, fight with fried potatoes   
And yesterday’s garbage ripening in the hall,   
Flutter, or sing an aria down these rooms

Even if we were willing to let it in,
Had time to warm it, keep it very clean,   
Anticipate a message, let it begin?

We wonder. But not well! not for a minute!   
Since Number Five is out of the bathroom now,   
We think of lukewarm water, hope to get in it.

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