Reflections on Works in Progress Gathering

June 3, 2007



A group of artists, all works in progress, enjoyed sharing our workmanship with one another over the Cinco de Mayo festivities.  We celebrated our freedom to create and gather together at Jane’s wonderful Lawrence studio over margeritas and delicious Mexican food. 

Then we settled into a critique of works in progress.  The large colorful Japanese inspired paintings belong to Jane.  The artwork inspired deep conversation, as Brad shared of his  recent trip to Hawaii playing music with Jack Johns and worshiping here.  He mentioned how landscape and region inspire style.  Ingrid showed us her spontaneous painting of a local prairie fire at night,  and Jay talked about his stone work and guild, as well as issues of figuration in art. Congratulations to Jay on becoming a fire chief, by the way.  Marc invited us to discuss his revised film script narration on a father and son relationship before his last editing session – what a privilege.  Shannon shared new figurative works in a series of assemblages for dialogue, and a two life portrait panels with text.  There was so much to see and discuss, food for thought.  Darin and Janea declined to share their pieces to make way for others, as we could have talked all night.  We thank all the people who came and contributed to the conversations.  Artists love to talk about their’s and others’ work!  Several artists expressed interest in visiting each others’ studios to talk about life and work one on one on a regular basis.  Let’s keep encouraging each other to create.

We enjoy seeing you all around town and at these gatherings.  A few places we have seen artist friends around town are shown below (Farmer’s Market, Art Togeau Parade, downtown, SEED lectures):

  Art Car Parade 1 Farmers Market Balm Farmers Market Musician 

Art Car Parade 2 downtown art


Jane’s Library Show

May 12, 2007

Jane Flanders who hosted our WORKS IN PROGRESS GATHERING is having a show in the Lawrence Public Library.  The show runs the month of May, 2007.   The majority of the show are abstract oil paintings showing a nest series.  The show is in conjunction with The Lawrence Art Guild.  Jane’s nest series is on the west wall of the south entrance to the library.  She has some naturalistic work depicting rustic farm tractors in local located on the south wall of the east entrance to the library.  This is a worthwhile show to attend, as well as giving you an excuse to check out some art books at the library.  The other day we rented a short film shot in 1915 as well.   

Jane Flanders Lawrence Public Library Images

click on image to enlarge


The Scope of Our Creativity

May 6, 2007

What an honor it was to read in The University Daily Kansan, the other day, that the annual museum student night at the Spencer Art Museum  continued our idea of Destination Postcards and Art themed gatherings with food, music and discussion.   This encourages us to think that the scope of our creativity as individuals travels beyond the borders of our small living room and studio gatherings to the hallowed halls of learning establishments, to museums, to individual lives, to the community and beyond.   The hallowed halls then echo back to us, and we continue the dialogue in our creativity.  This is an inclusive “we”, since many are creative who may not consider themselves artists.  We embrace being part of a dialogue that is bigger than ourselves.

Seeing documentaries of Picasso mingling with Paul Cezanne, Georges Braque, Juan Gris, Henri Leger, Frida Kahlo, Henri Mattise, Dora Maar, and others on the beach, in their art studios, in academic settings, eating and living tandem with each other at times reminds us that small circles create bigger ones in art and life.  Jay Alexander, a local sculptor, commented that Thomas Hart Benton, our reknowned and beloved Kansas artist, studied with Picasso at one point in his life, and was influenced by him and his work.  A friend described our first gathering affectionately as a “circle of art and friends”.  That is what we hope to be, simply, and it sounds rather insignificant at times.  In doing so we wish to carry on the tradition of many artist groups, official or unofficial,  to echo and create new echoes in our world, to be shaped by and shape community and culture, to be personal and yet somehow globally connected and significant in our endeavors.  In our grandest hopes, we want to join the ranks of the best of Stieglitz and his bunch, the Ashcan Painters, the Beatniks, the Hippies, and let our small relational gatherings  be a part of the larger creative process of the community and the history of life.    

The Univ Daily Kansan article you may read below was published Friday, May 4, 2007 (just over one month after our Destination Postcard Gathering occured) and can be found at http://www.kansan.com/stories/2007/may/04/spencer/:

“The sound of international music, the smell of catered snacks and the promise of a free T-shirt lured a soulful crowd to the Spencer Art Museum on Thursday night. The party was the museum’s student night, an event held every year.

Photo by Sarah Leonard

Jon Simon, Lenexa sophomore, and Cassie Sines, Linwood senior, sit in a room adorned by african art. The exhibit was titled “A Saint in the City: Sufi Arts of Urban Senegal.

KJHK kept the turntables spinning with “cross cultural jazz and soul” played loudly over speakers while students mingled, explored the exhibits, ate nachos and sipped on iced tea.

“Travel the art world,” the theme of the party, showcased exhibits in Asia, Europe and Africa. The newest addition to the museum, the 20/21 Gallery is still under construction. The curators of the night previewed the new exhibit by showing videos of international artists.

“We chose about 10,000 of 20,000 pieces of art to be in the 20/21 Gallery,” Graf said. “We even had an impartial artist come from New York to help with the exhibit.”

Sally Birmingham, Spring Hill junior, said she’s not a stranger to the museum.

“I’ve been here for lots of things, like openings and lectures,” Birmingham said. “I think if events like this bring in more students than would normally come, then it’s a success.”

That was the goal for the Spencer Student Advisory Board. Megan Graf, St. Louis senior and volunteer for the Board, said the point of holding events like student night was to attract students who normally wouldn’t visit the museum.

Kim Brook, president of the Student Advisory Board, said the museum strived to reach the University campus to attract them to things like lectures and gallery openings. The student night and party was one effective way to do this.

“We’d like to make the Spencer a second home to students,” Graf said. “We want students to know we are accessible.”

That was the goal for the Spencer Student Advisory Board. Megan Graf, St. Louis senior and volunteer for the Board, said the point of holding events like student night was to attract students who normally wouldn’t visit the museum.

Graf said the low number of classes offered in the museum and its out-of-the-way location were reasons why few students visited. She said she didn’t think people realized how many pieces of art the museum has, estimating there to be “tens of thousands” of pieces.

“The only classes here are art history classes,” Graf said. “Students who come are art history students.”

The 20/21 Gallery is slated to open in July.

Kansan staff writer Bethany Bunch can be contacted at bbunch@kansan.com.

— Edited by Will McCullough”

BALM ANNOUNCEMENT: We are showing our DESTINATION POSTCARDS in a gallery in October or November and interested in other interactive public venues to continue this dialogue. 

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