Process in an Art Exhibit

Recently, as a part of the Art of Steve Prince course, our class was given the opportunity to visit the Lederer Art Gallery on campus. While we were there, gallery director Cynthia Hawkins gave us a behind the scenes look at what it takes to run the art gallery. She discussed with us the different aspects of her job, such as planning exhibits, bringing in outside collections of artworks, as well as how she stores art pieces that are given to the Lederer permanently. This discussion was one that stood out to me, in part because it reminded me of all the work that I do in maintaining and curating the Kinetic Gallery. The Kinetic Gallery is a student-run art gallery on campus that falls under the Geneseo Campus Activities Board. As the Art and Exhibits Coordinator, I have the job of planning and executing all of the exhibits and art programs for the Kinetic for the academic year. As such, it was no wonder that Dr. Hawkins presentation was of interest to me.

What really stood out to me about this presentation, was how in everything Dr. Hawkins described, especially in the making of an exhibit, there was always a process. Process is something that Steve Prince stressed a lot in the beginning of the semester when we were working on the Urban Garden mural. I remember him once saying, “It’s not so much about what’s being made — it’s about the process.” Of course back then, I nodded along not really understanding what he meant but now that I am able to look back on that exhibit; through its planning stages all the way to the completion of the final Urban Garden piece, I can understand why process is such a key part of an exhibit.

When I first was presented with the idea behind the Steve Prince Art Exhibit, I had a general understanding of what the exhibit was supposed to accomplish as well as how it would be beneficial to the student community to have an Urban Garden mural, completely created by the Geneseo community. As the planning progressed however, I felt my understanding of the exhibit and its goals become less and less distinct. I was not sure what to expect, and I was not sure of how the final exhibit was going to look. And this worried me. I feel that often times when I am in the planning stages of an exhibit, I am often so focused on my final exhibit that I forget to take into consideration small steps in the making and formation of the exhibit. I think the fact that I was so confused about the Art of Steve Prince exhibit actually benefited me in the long run because when Urban Garden was finally completed, I felt a higher sense of awe, accomplishment, and understanding. Dr. Hawkins’ presentation served as a reminder to me that when I am working on exhibits, I should be sure to give attention and my focus every step of the way, and not to be so focused on what I have in mind for the final exhibit. I feel like if I do this I would feel more appreciation for the exhibit and I’ll be more open to gaining more knowledge from the making of my exhibits.

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