My daughter, Heidi, is the director of Visual Arts Minnesota. I dropped in on one of her events last week, unexpected. Bernie and I get most of the invitations that she sends out from VAM because we are her parents, but I don’t think she actually expects us to show up.
The invitation suggested that attendees bring a piece of someone else’s art work. I brought a necklace created by a young Colorado artist that my son’s family commissioned for my last birthday present. It has a tree of life with little rings and gemstone beads hanging on its branches that represent members of the family. When I got there I realized that the artwork was supposed to be from a Minnesota artist. In my haste, I hadn’t read the instructions carefully. So I sat there with my necklace wanting to share it, knowing that this wasn’t the appropriate forum. So, I took a hostage. The woman sitting next to me was old, a grandmother for sure, perhaps even a great-grandmother like myself. I showed her the necklace and told her its story. She had such kind eyes and listened with her whole heart. Relieved, I was able to yield to Heidi’s preplanned agenda.
There were 10 people present at the event, all artists or lovers of art. The session lasted two hours and there was not one boring moment as people told the stories of the artists and the history of art in the area. Heidi’s facilitating was amazing. She had such a respectful way of bringing everyone into the conversation and a patience to let each have their say in full. Whenever someone mentioned a name or a place, she did a quick search on her laptop and information about such was projected on a screen on the wall.
I later thought about all the term papers I’ve written and all the hours I spent in libraries poring over books and articles, taking notes that I hoped would be relevant. Here was instant research. If someone was mistaken in their fact sharing, the correction was there on the wall. If there were questions, up came the answers. If people wanted information to expand on ideas brought up around the table, she just clicked away and magically, we were educated.
I suppose in time term papers will become unnecessary. Maybe I can finally throw mine away.