Deborah Kass, feel good paintings for feel bad times. Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans.
I turned thirty-two in August. That event bookended a summer full of conversations with my good friend, Amanda. We kept coming back to the idea that we were feeling a bit stagnant personally (though not necessarily professionally) and would bounce ideas about ways to push ourselves creatively.
After a couple of bourbons, we developed elaborate plans to visit Puerto Rico, complete a yoga retreat in Bali, or take a road trip across the United States.
That birthday, and those conversations, have sparked a maddening desire to challenge myself scholastically. Something that forces me to grow and learn about the world, meet new people, and better understand art and its history. I thought about going to graduate school, but I really don’t want to have student loans screwing with me until I’m fifty.
Instead I’m thinking more like an Eat, Pray, Love moment, minus the pasta (and, hopefully, the self-absorption).
I have a new goal: visit as many art galleries and museums, and talk to as many artists and makers, in as many cities (including Omaha) as I possibly can over the next two years. Kind of like an independent study, where I’m developing my own curriculum and can go at my own pace. And hopefully share most of these experiences with other people.
I’m not referencing my age because I think I’m old. I love being in my thirties. My birthday, however, was the catalyst toward this weird realization that I’m an independent adult. And a very fortunate one, too. I’m in a position where I might have a friend or family member who I could stay with in another city. Or I could have an opportunity to work on a project somewhere new and exciting.
After years of networking I have developed some fantastic relationships with people who could put me in positions to meet other fantastic people. I can spend my budget how I choose and don’t have to care for anyone else besides my dog. I understand that it would be harder to do as I please if that weren’t the case.
My mother and I recently took a lovely trip to Santa Fe where we visited the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. I’m marking that as a start date for this endeavor. (I almost used the word journey there. Don’t worry. I gave myself the side-eye and tried to make a less clichéd diction choice.)
Birdhouse is working on a fun project in New Orleans and a couple of weeks ago I ventured down south to work on it. While there, I was able to attend Art for Art’s Sake with my friend and project manager, Amanda.* I’ll share more about that soon.
Now I need to get packing.
*Because if you are an American female born in the 1980s, there’s a good chance that your name is Amanda or Jessica.