As I lay here trying to sleep, I figured I’d do my write up for the Americans for the Arts Convention that I attended this past weekend. I came back to Wellesley on Thursday to attend a convention that the Mass Cultural Council invited me to. I had been looking for events and networking opportunities over the winter to attend to this year.
While the theme of the convention this year was Public Art and I originally felt that it wasn’t really up my alley being a photographer, I still learned a lot from it and gained some inspiration. There are new trends and innovations within the arts community that are crossing over to the corporate world which I find interesting. It was also a unique convention in the sense that since it was public art so you were mingling with city officials from all over. Unfortunately a lot of it I felt was related to policy, which to me is totally unrelatable. Not to mention I felt like it was hard to network with some of these people since they were 10, 20, 30, 40 years older than me. Though it did give me some insight and direction as to where I should aim in my career.
In terms of learning, I felt that the skills, management and processes to produce these monumental projects were of like-mind in the sense that project management is project management no matter what the outcome was, which was very relatable for me. Coming to this event from a marketing/journalism background I thought was interesting. As many of these people were administrative/policy/advocacy members and then wearing the artist hat, it was interesting to see the other sides of the judging panel.
Although the best parts were seeing a colleague of mine and a community that I have been in contact with out here in Western MA there. It was nice to see the staff at the Arts Extension Services there. As if it wasn’t for the class that I took with them, I would not have met my current landlord! I also met and introduced myself to Jane Echelman whom I have admired since college. I told her that I had seen her at her Wellfleet talk last summer and that I wrote a paper about her work in college comparing it to 1960s sculpture; she seemed flattered! Then properly handed her my biz card with a copy of my photographs on it.
All in all, I’m glad I went, though I’m glad I was invited by Mass Cultural Council. Unless the theme was really up my alley, I don’t think it was worth $500 to attend, though I did get a lot of inspiration from it.