Which Path is Best?

The future is unknown, and therefore not a sure thing. Do we proceed with caution, or take a bold leap of faith? At the end of this blog (after a Sowada recipe), there are a list of the conflicting words of wisdom we have grown up with. Most lean towards being careful. But first, I will describe what BOLD looks like.

Last year, after struggling to stay afloat, our local art center was again looking for a new director and a new program/events person. A very large anonymous donation was made (Hallelujah!) to kick start these efforts. Over night, there were competitive salaries, energetic new staff, a face lift for the building, and big prize money offered for the best artwork at the Art Matters annual Fundraiser.

Thank goodness it has been other people who made the decisions about juror, venue, music, decorations, food, programs, advertising, sponsors, etc…. How about the art? The combination of putting the call for art on instagram, and having big prize money, has changed the name of the game. This year the artwork is international as well as national and regional. The art is large. The art is much more exciting, high quality, and diverse. This year there are fewer live auction pieces selected, and far more silent auction pieces, for a total of 47 pieces of art!

And that is where I come in. With the help of a art buddy, I was responsible for finding the magic formula of placing all this large diverse artwork in a limited space. Yikes!  It is more than doing a puzzle of sizes and shapes on the wall. The objective is to make all the artwork look it’s very best. Before day one…….I reviewed all the images on the AVA web site (avacenter.org) to come up with possible groupings. I thought about utilizing prime locations for the eight live auction pieces. Here are two of those eight.

Day one…..Tables were cleared and cleaned, chairs removed, large areas of gift shop absconded, and drop clothes placed ( 10 – 18 inches) along all walls. New easels were assembled and set aside. Two Dimensional artwork was unpacked and I began to arrange pieces along the walls. I placed blue painters tape at regular intervals 60″ from the floor to establish a midline for the art. I knew ahead of time that some of the art would be stacked, one above another on the wall. By the end of day one ( delivery deadline day for artists) most of the placement was figured out. Five pieces were still in route, three were at a framer in Denver being repaired after suffering damage in shipping, and one was getting a new mat and frame locally. Nothing was hung up yet, but I was feeling good about having a solid plan.

Day two…..Up on a tall ladder, Christmas decorations were removed. With help, the heaviest art was hung first, and then stacked art was hung. This took some fits and starts to get the ‘hang of it’. Ha Ha Before committing to nail and hook, there is measuring, adding, dividing, marking, measuring wire, and measuring down from mark. My helper was quiet and patient when I said (more than once) “Wait a minute. I have to think”. Two of the in route pieces arrived before the end of the day. Another friend (with power tools), was called upon to visit AVA to remove screws from a large wooden crate. Three people were required to lift “Tell Me I’m Pretty” up to hang on the wall. All the three dimensional art was unpacked.

Day three…..It took just 2 more hours to finish hanging art and placing the 3-D  pieces. The remaining six pieces will arrive before the reception night and get up on the wall or up on easels.

We don’t know yet if the decision to BE BOLD was a good path for the art center. But so far, I love it!

Recipe for Butternut Delight – Use about equal amounts of cooked brown rice and cooked butternut squash (2-3 cups of each). Mix together in a bowl. Add 1/2 t. each of thyme and salt, 1/4 t. garlic powder, and a pinch of nutmeg. (Use more spices if making a larger recipe) Add 1 -3 cups shopped spinach or chard, 1 or more cups of cubed Gruyere (Swiss) cheese and enough milk or half and half to make the mix a little moist. Place in casserole dish and heat in 350 oven for 30 – 60 minutes (depending on size and shape of dish). If you like garlic, you can use fresh minced garlic instead of garlic powder. Let cool a little before serving.

  • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
  • Fake it until you make it.
  • A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
  • It takes money to make money.
  • He’s too big for his britches.
  • Leaf of Faith.
  • Your eyes are bigger than your stomach.
  • You have to crack some eggs to make an omelet.
  • Shit or get off the pot.
  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
  • Keep your eye on the prize.
  • Better safe than sorry.
  • Money, money, money, makes the world go round.

If you live in Gillette, stop by AVA art center, 509 W. 2cnd St. Gillette 82716, before Jan.26. Come to the free art reception on Jan. 24, 6-8pm. Enjoy seeing the work up close. This piece is mine. Title is “Air”. Size is 29 X 45 inches. In person, you will see the quilt stitching that shows the movement of the air.

6 Responses to Which Path is Best?

Cathrine A. Gallilee

I loved it Joan! Thank-you for all your effort and your “eye” in getting the art hung – You and your art buddy did a bang-up job!! Hope that everyone gets to see them all before they’re gone – it’s such a diverse collection of quality art. Reception night is next Friday, January 25th at AVA – 6-8 pm and it’s free! Did I mention that there will be food and refreshments? Thanks Joan


I too loved it. Thank your for your great eye and sharing the new spark of energy at AVA. It’s always hard work to put on a fundraiser, but the the diversity in this show is amazing and an art collectors dream. Hat’s off to the wonderful artists that entered and for those that didn’t get in this year start working on your art and re-entry for the next one. I know that it is pushing me to grow as an artist and that AVA is here to support you and me in that endeavor.


You did a beautiful job, and like all things done well, the effort behind them is invisible. Thank you for all your efforts.

Eileen Nistler

I saw it on day one and can’t wait to see it on Friday. I’ll bet you did a wonderful job! I also bet that you had a few sore muscles this week. Thank you AVA for supporting the art community. You have helped me in so many ways!


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