Mind-dumping beach bums

Posted on April 28, 2011

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You never can tell what will happen when artists collaborate.  So there we were on Wednesday, the Environmental Art Class, assembled at Lindy Bishop’s Seed Gallery for after school snacks and a little mind-dumping. Big sheets of paper covered the work table in the back room. There were apples, and cookies were baking in the oven.

“We’re going to make a mind map,” Lindy explained. “Just put down all the ideas you have about what we could do, what materials we could use and where we could get them, where we could put our installation.” Ideas sparked other ideas in a long sparkly swirl. Connect this to that, figure out how to fill in the missing pieces . . . pretty soon the paper was covered with words and sketches and cookie crumbs.

We moved to the front of the gallery to sketch possible projects. I tell you, watching a bunch of middle school students work at making art—in the middle of a gallery, at a working artist’s studio—was inspiring. Lindy asked lots of open-ended questions and offered encouraging feedback. The young artists moved, step by step, toward taking themselves seriously.

Then the rain stopped, mostly, and it was off to the Dam Beach, one of the possible installation sites. We have questions. What kind of good stuff is lying around just begging to be used? How the heck are we actually going to put it all together? So that it stays?  Is that steelhead they’re catching over at the dam?

I’m not going to tell you too much because I want you to see it unfold in all its glorious mystery and chaos, and because I want you to be surprised when it’s all done. Everyone’s going to be surprised, including the people doing the work. I’m pretty sure that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

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Somebody is going to make a Facebook page, of course. Somebody else is going to collect some suitable Agricultural Materials. And everyone will be back next week.

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