Procrastination has always been one of my stronger virtues, so prepping for Open Studios is always a spirited adventure. Tracy Grubbs (studioperson) and I spent a few hours yesterday culling and curating works from each artist in the building (13 are participating) to showcase in the main gallery for the opening on Friday.
Then there's the matter of dealing with the mounds of miscellanea in the studio itself. Nothing like a deadline to get things moving. I'm finally getting around to organizing the studio in a way I had envisioned (2 years ago). Am cleaning up all the avalanching randomness and somewhere in the middle I've managed to even get some new artwork done ('process', really, but since I don't have time to do my normal double-think, the ideas seem a little fresher somehow).
I'm not sure the general public who come out to Open Studios realizes the amount of effort that goes into putting these things on. We seem to start 4-5 months before the actual Studio Open. My old studiomate, Pete Howells, had the whole system working like a well-oiled machine: coordinating artists, press packet deadlines, mailing database maintenance, postcards (designed by our esteemed resident artist/graphic designer, William Salit), mailing parties, curating, hanging, labelings (and that's just for the main gallery). Now that Pete's gone, the machine's more like a squeaky wheel, but it still keeps rocking and rolling, I suppose. It's nice having the buzz of activity with everyone working in the building. (I love my studio community. such great people.)
This year it's a little more madness-making than usual as our fantastic landlord has decided to make yet another arbitrary demand that we pay $150 to simply "use our studios", which we already pay rent to have 24/7 access mind you, during this once a year event, and which each artist already pays the City $175 to participate. In the past, his one nice gesture was to give us the use of the main gallery for free, but this year we're being charged. Basically, he wanted to make $2100 from us....so that's what he calculated out per head. So, unfortunately the budget for the fabulous bound studio booklet/invites we normally treated ourselves and patrons to had to be slashed to accommodate the Artistic Open Pocketbook Greed. Sure it doesn't seem legal, or moral for that matter, but if the excuse wasn't to "use our own studios", it would have been some other cacamami reason from the netherworld, and we're helpless to really do anything about it (as he's been known to hold grudges decades long and we end up suffering for it. Also it's difficult to have the great sense of comraderie our building artists have built up, which has something to do with why we're all still there).
Anyway, I finished reinstalling the Safety in Numbers steel wool installation last night with a few new site-specific changes (5 hours, ugh), but I'm determined to have it seen. The studio work is coming along. Don't think I'll really have time to begin a new thorn piece. Long days lately. The low hum of what's left of my adrenaline keeps time with the incessant buzz of the fluorescent lights in my studio. 3 days and counting!