The Way Things Work

By: lywam on January 6th, 2010

We put together five exhibition events calendars each year, and in a sick sort of way, I find the process rejuvenating and exhilarating. The process doesn’t vary much from calendar to calendar, but getting to work and play with the themes, artworks, and mediums that each exhibition holds out injects a shot of adrenaline into my routines.

Curator Andy McGivern generally books exhibitions two to four years in advance so we know what’s coming down the pike well in advance. That gives our educators time to line up events and activities that need long lead times – like arranging to have the glassblowers from Southern Illinois University on site for a weeklong residency.

About a week after one exhibition opens to the public, we meet to brainstorm ideas and start creating the skeleton of the next calendar. Heavy doses of laughter and silliness often fill the room, but eventually we sift through all the ideas, make assignments, and I get to drop the deadline date on everyone to get their programming copy to me for editing. Groans then follow.

Next is pulling together their copy and my own, sending it around for a once-over by my colleagues, doing the rewrites, and then sending what I hope is the final copy to our freelance designer, Richard Wunsch.

I can hardly wait to see the different cover design concepts – anywhere from 4-8 – Rick sends back for us to hash over. Once he tweaks the designs and we settle on “the one,” he works on bringing order to the 7-8 pages of copy I send him for the guts of the calendar. Then it’s time for the next few fine-tuning go-rounds.

I don’t want to leave the impression that the process is not without the inevitable glitch or two or that I wear a big smile from start to finish.

But seeing my drab black-and-white Word documents turned into colorful, beautifully illustrated, and well-designed, well-organized events calendars is immensely satisfying. Just pulling the drafts off the color printer sends shivers up my spine. Imagine how energized I feel when the printer delivers the final product!

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