By joannearnold, Jul 15 2015 10:16PM
It’s half-way through 2015.
Where I have been? What have I been doing? What’s “Next”?
It’s been a season of change & it’s all good.
During these past few months, I have slowed down in the studio to sort through a career of 30 years in art education. As of this month, I am a retired art teacher.
From the classroom, I brought home many of my belongings that were a big part of the creative & educational process; mock ups for projects, saved student work, handouts, toys, books, purchased materials. . . I also threw away a great many items that gave me a look back & at the same time, a look at moving forward.
I enjoyed the challenges of teaching middle school & always viewed the age level as an exaggeration of what these young people would become. It’s been an education for me. What I loved best was how much I learned along the way, the parts that helped form me as an artist. Teaching kept me fresh & on the pulse with art & pop culture. More than anything I loved developing projects that were meaningful, age appropriate & required higher level thinking skills. It required a lot of play time. It was best tested by unearthing new ideas on the blend of young strong minded individuals, my students. When it worked, it was magic. When it didn’t, it was back to the drawing board. It was so much like being a painter, an artist.
What have I been doing? I had an exhibit “SKY” at the Cooperative Gallery 213 in March. The work was a nice exhibition of painted ‘sky’ that included clouds, weather, land and water. It was my first time showing with Carolyn Gilligan and it was a pleasure. We had a nice reception and a successful First Friday opening.
During my quiet hiatus from blogging I’ve been very fortunate to have received positive press from the local media. In April, Katie Sullivan from the Binghamton Press wrote a piece “Retiree crafts a career as an artist”. She did an excellent job conveying my voice as an artist & what I’m doing to move forward. I was delighted that she spent nearly 2 hours in my studio just talking art. She is a good read every Wednesday by covering artists in the local community.
Next thing you know, it was May & the retirement excitement was at full speed. My husband David was also retiring in June & we were in the throes of planning our first exhibition together, “NEXT” at Atomic Tom’s. David is an accomplished potter with the Clay Works studio at Roberson.
In the June edition of Triple Cities Carousel, Phil Wescott & Rose Silberman-Gorn interviewed me, “Capturing the Colorist, an Interview with Mark-Maker Joanne Thorne Arnold”. It was a tremendous boost to have my work covered in a progressive high energy publication that is strictly for & about the arts. Triple Cities Carousel is a treasure & a monthly treat. It was also a boost for a new audience. The proprietor of the new Johnson City barbeque restaurant, The Painted Pig contacted me after seeing the spread & I now have several small pieces showing there.
News channel 34 also covered “NEXT” & it aired on Jim Ehmke’s broadcast. It was excellent coverage with David being the spokesperson. David likened our having a show & what life has in store for us as an “adventure”.
We capped off June & our retirement by having a celebration at Atomic Tom’s. Our art was part of the celebration. We had friends & family from near & far join us. Rob Weinberger & Larry Lolli provided music during the cocktail hour & Calico Moon kept us going after dinner. It was a fitting party for us. We were surrounded by people who have supported us throughout the years & for years to come.
Now it’s July & the actor/photographer Bill Gorman hooked me up with the Chenango River Theatre, the only equity theatre in the area. My work is hanging in the theatre for the season & will be seen by another new audience.
Although I was off line for a stretch of time, I was going full steam. Now that I’m out of the classroom, I’ll be playing without teaching in mind. Instead, I’ll be playing & seeing where it takes me. I can’t wait.