Items great and small flock between my ears-- the usual chickens: poster and press release sorts of small stuff for upcoming events that I can provide for Adele as she drives the day to day operations in my absence. And then there's the bigger creatures, and the ark itself which rises with a tide of possibilities, even in my absence from Homer. I am excited that Bunnell just received our first NEA grant of 10,000 which I submitted in August to support our growing Artist in Residence program. But its small in comparison to the ArtPlace dollars of $100,000 we solicited in November, with a letter of interest submitted in November. That plan expresses our bigger dream of cultivating vibrancy in Homer in the form of a vision for neighborhood improvements lead by artists in residence, addressing everything from landscaping to public art, from Bunnell to Bishop's beach, from pedestrian safety to educational workshops that engage the community in this act of "creative placemaking". Bunnell is leading change, cultivating vivacity in Alaska. And where am I?
Basically, 'creative placemaking' has filled my head and guided my investigation from Homer to here, from early fall to mid-winter, from where am I coming from to where am I going? One of the reasons to embark on this journey that is harder to reckon with than "because I can," is that after 20 years at Bunnell I want a little breathing room. And much as I dreamed and feared, when I step outside of it, I can see lots of possibilities. For Bunnell and for myself. Actually, I can see that Bunell IS a breathing room, a room whose door swings regularly, inviting daily waves of fresh salt air. And its growing beautifully with a very dedicated Board and an extremely capable acting director, Adele. As Artistic/Executive Director, I have had a very cool job there and I know it. Still, I wonder what it would be like to grow into some parts of myself more fully. Time away from the job allowed me to building a website in mid October. That has been one of the most rewarding things I've done on this trip. I feel more empowered as an artist- not just because of the many affirmations and inquiries about my artwork that the site has elicited. I actually made a place for myself, a gallery that is accessible almost anywhere. It makes me want to paint like crazy.
Visiting numerous culturally vibrant cities as small as Samois and as big as San Diego has also helped me see that I am as mobile as my web-gallery. I am game for art-gardening in many contexts. I go right to Old Town, Anywhere and look at what's happening and what space is available. I see tons of possibilities everywhere. I see where there's fertile soil and lots of galleries and also where there's big empty compost bins. Generally, I'm attracted to the latter. A "compost bin" is generally a well-situated space, usually an old building that has charm and needs work. It may be large or small. Its gotta be at least 1000 square feet, and up to 3,000...Around it I'm looking for greenery: cafes and record stores, activity and accessibility... lots of people, good traffic flow, a variety of ages, and a lack of pretension. Even some hunger can be good. I'm talking about cultivating a place where people want and need to feed.