This was my third art exhibit opening night and it was such a sweet evening. I know I’m doing good work when the people who show up for an opening night event make up such a dreamy, loving group of women and families as was present last Thursday. I felt completely relaxed, which is unusual for me during such things. And I’m so grateful to everyone who was there and to those who were supporting me from afar.
The evening could not have happened without many people working together. Most instrumental was Louisa Lakos, my dear friend who has been there for me at almost every major event in my adult life, helping to make it possible. Without her, there would not have been a show. (People would have arrived to find me passed out on the floor among a disheveled pile of prints as my children ate snacks next to my unconscious body.) Louisa set aside the entire day to help me organize the images and display them in a way that was thoughtful and looked good. She helped wrangle my children, did a Costco run, and managed all the event food. The day before the show went up my family and I were traveling back home from the east coast. I should have been a mess by the end of the day, but she kept me sane, supported, calm and focused. Her soul is gold and she embodies the very meaning of generosity.
I’m also grateful to Daniele Strawmyer at Ready Set GROW. She has such an inspired vision for her community space and I’m so lucky to have had the opportunity to show my work there, where so many mamas and families spend quality time. She’s created such a beautiful atmosphere and I deeply appreciate her commitment to artists who are also parents. My kids spent most of the day there running around and playing with her daughter. I decided to leave them at home for the evening event, but many people who attended did bring their children and it was wonderful. Becoming a parent has taught me that not everyone values the presence of children. Daniele does and it makes our community a better place to be.
I’m also thankful to my children for not stepping on any of the prints on the floor as they ran around the studio space. And for being patient (as patient as a 2 and 5 year old could be) as it took me over 5 hours to put up the installation. We stopped only a couple times for “milky” but otherwise they mostly played together and let me work. I think in the end they decided mom’s work is a little boring and they were happy to stay home with dad that evening.
And I could not do my work without the unwavering support of that man, Tom. He is an amazing partner and I’m deeply grateful he is so committed to this feminist movement and has been 100% supportive of me breastfeeding in whatever way I’ve been most comfortable.
This project has been funded by the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC). They are committed to supporting working artists and provide funding to make our dreams a reality. This is the third project grant I’ve received. It’s such an amazing process to be able to see an idea in my head become something I can share with my community. I’m so thankful for their support.
Last but certainly not least is this: I could not make any of this work in a vaccum. It is only possible because of all the mothers and children who agreed to participate in this project. You have let me into your lives to photograph this really personal act and I’ll be forever grateful to you for your trust in my ability to share your story in a way that makes you feel seen. Each one of you teaches me something new and inspires me with your perseverance, power, beauty and generosity. Thank you so very much for being on this journey with me and thanks to so many of you for being there last week. Seeing you at the space with your little ones, worlds colliding, some of you I haven’t seen for a while — it was all truly heart warming and motivating to me to keep going. When doing projects like this it’s easy to misplace the inspiration that started it all (especially as a working mama). Knowing that all of you are happy with this work and believe in it too means so much to me.
Thanks so much to the friends and women in the project who were there! In no particular order Tara, Bonnie, Caitlin, Dee, Morgan, Michelle, Sandra, Rebecca, Mauricio, Eva, Ileana, Britney, Amber, Demetra, Megan, Kyla, Caylin, Stan, Daniele, Jade, Carrie, Elise, Kristen, and all the families who joined you. Thank you thank you!!
And thank you to all of you who would have been there if you could. Your love and support could be felt from afar!
Finally this: the installation will be up at Ready Set GROW until the end of August. We are planning to host a closing night party and possible artists talk. That information will be announced soon. I also had a dream with my friend Eve Bernfeld of creating a Story Circle event in the space while the work is still up. That will be announced soon if we can pull it off.
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!