by Catie Anderson, curator of education
Whenever I participate in some sort of large, group gathering for work, I always leave with “Post-it® Note promises,” whether literal or in the form of a mental note. These notes consist of follow-ups and reminders for myself stemming from conversations with members of the group.
As is true for many people, meetings with staff or community members always yield mental notes, which are usually fairly easy to address and check off the list. Multi-day events, though, like the opening of Birds in Art is another story.
Every Woodson Art Museum staff member has been deciphering scribbles on scrap paper, peeling off Post-it® Notes, and crumpling them up once the task on the bright yellow square has been completed. The adrenaline of opening weekend has funny side effects for all of us, too. For me, beginning in the weeks leading up to the first reception until the final artist has waved goodbye from the bus window Saturday evening, I tend to pile up my “Post-it® Note promises” as if there was a prize for most enthusiastic agreement to follow up with someone. Any such competition, of course, would be entered in vain, as director Kathy Kelsey Foley seems to have the ability to talk to and follow up with about 1,000 people in two days.
One of my final exhibition opening tasks was completed with Birds in Art docent training on Monday morning. Volunteer docents made their own notes during training, as we discussed themes, ideas, and activities relating to works on view. The group also added to my list of mental Post-it® Note promises to tackle. As of yesterday afternoon, I think and hope, I addressed the last training-related follow-up – with a sigh of relief.
Opening weekend conversations, chats with coworkers, and training sessions with volunteers generate a flood of ideas and opportunities that Woodson staff thrives on. I enjoy hearing from others, especially docents, about what artwork speaks to them, what stories captured their imagination, and the connections they’ve made between artwork in the exhibition and their own lives. I’m fortunate to work with such an enthusiastic and patient group of volunteers, who help me see the forest through the trees – beyond my lengthy follow-up list – and get back in touch with my passion for sharing Museum experiences with others.
Thank you notes to artists – check.
Thank you notes to community partners – check.
Volunteer follow-ups – check.
What am I forgetting? I’m sure it will hit me at 2 am.
As I discard notes and to-do lists, I regain some control over my train of thought and clear my head as I shift gears and begin to focus on my preferred “big picture” view.
For now, I can turn my attention to Birds in Art programming, artist residency preparations, and firming up ideas for upcoming exhibitions (gulp).