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Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day…

It’s official – time flies. And I can’t stop thinking about it. Thursday night while watching my most recent guilty pleasure, Swingtown, the teacher asked the students to write a paper on the subjective nature of time. I hadn’t really thought about it like that before, but time – like art – certainly is subjective. My compulsive thinking about time started with my boss, Leann Standish, leaving the IMA last week after five amazing years at the IMA and moving onto do big things at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. I made her a scrapbook capturing moments with our team since my first day here nearly 4 years ago and this too has made me keenly aware of time. Am I the only one completely baffled that 2008 is half over?

It’s been a good year so far. I celebrated my “golden birthday” this year when I turned 28 on March 28th, which supposedly brings luck (I can’t complain.) Many of my girlfriends’ male counterparts have turned 30 this year (mine included) which means lots of parties and duh, birthday cake. Another highlight of 2008? Obviously the release of the Sex and the City movie. I have inadvertently begun asking myself questions a’ la Carrie Bradshaw. What does it all mean? When it comes to time, is it really on our side? (Gazing out my imaginary NYC apartment window with my tank top and “Amber” necklace…)

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Filed under: Current Events, Local, Musings


Actually, I rather like them

As many people already know, I am not a card carrying member of the We Should Only Plant Natives Club. They are fine and all that but I feel no great need to adhere to such a restrictive policy. I do incorporate natives in my designs. We’ve used many natives and their cultivars in multiple areas in the gardens created after our expansion. Carex radiata can be found in the Overlook garden behind Deer Zink (along with Amelanchier), multiple cultivars of redbud are in the Garden for Everyone (along with the straight species – I guess the others would be the gay, lesbian, bi, and transgendered species?), and Echinacea is everywhere (along with Amsonia hubrictii – Arkansas bluestar).

There most certainly is a place for natives. I did a design recently for a neighborhood park and included them in it. They definitely cross my mind when I know there will be extreme cultivation issues such as sunny and dry, shady and dry, wet and anything, or most importantly, minimal maintenance after establishment. Of course if there is a non-native available that is just as tough and prettier I have no problem going with it. Pretty always wins. Remember high school? I attempt to follow the “right plant, right place” mantra ignoring the individual plant’s origin. I want plants from everywhere and damn near every plant no matter where it’s from. As Divine said in Pink Flamingos “Get it all cracker. Get it all”.

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Filed under: Horticulture


Hoosier Wants his Artists

Of the top 50 metropolitan cities in the United States, Indianapolis ranks 41st in the number of working artists as a percent of the state’s labor force.

dancerAccording to the report from the National Endowment for the Arts, there are about 29,300 professional artists in Indiana. This number is comprised of 13,000 designers; 3,300 fine artists, art directors and animators; 3,000 musicians/singers, 2,000 architects, 600 dancers/choreographers and 100 actors. These growing numbers are recognized by the local arts community.

“We saw Harrison Center sales rise, more of our artists living off their art and more community support in general,” observed Joanna Taft, Director of the Harrison Center for the Arts at 16th and Delaware.

These numbers were part of a new report from the NEA called “Artists in the Workforce: 1990-2005”. The report, considered the first nationwide profile of professional artists, is a compilation of data from the U.S. Census Bureau and other arts organizations that chart the location and impact of the country’s 2 million artists. Artists are broken up into 11 categories including actors; announcers; architects; fine artists, art directors and animators; dancers and choreographers; designers; entertainers, musicians, photographers, producers and directors; writers and authors. The report also notes gender, minority and major metro area trends:

“The time has come to insist on an obvious but overlooked fact — artists are workers. They make things and perform services, just like other workers, and these goods and services have value — not merely in lofty spiritual terms but also in dollars and cents,” the report states. “Without denying the higher purposes of the artistic vocation, this report shows that artists play an important role in America’s cultural vitality and economic prosperity.”

The nearly 2 million artists in the U.S. earn about $70 billion annually. This is an important statistic. The report considered only people who identified their primary occupation as artist for the American Community Survey (see page 138 of the report). The first observation we can make is that this is a large number and surely has an important impact on our culture. According to The New York Times article on the study:

“If every artist in America’s workforce banded together, their ranks would be double the size of the United States Army. More Americans identify their primary occupation as artist than as lawyer, doctor, police officer or farm worker.”

A significant trend found in the report shows that the majority of artists are “designers”, made up of commercial and industrial designers, fashion designers, floral designers, graphic designers, interior designers, merchandise displayers and window trimmers, and set and exhibit designers. This makes sense in our digital world and one in which designers tend to resist globalization. It’s difficult to outsource this type of work. Copy editing may be done overseas, but you don’t often see U.S. Web sites or magazines designed halfway across the globe.

And it’s interesting to see how spread out these artists are geographically. While still focused in major urban areas in New York and California, artists are taking up residence in diverse cities across the country.

“It’s the impact of a kind of decentralized electronic culture,” said NEA Chairman Dana Gioia in an article by The Associated Press. “… Artists are no longer confined to living in the three to four metropolitan media centers. You can now live in Santa Fe and email your New York agent every day.”

While the number of Indianapolis artists is on an upward trend, why is the city ranking so low on the totem pole? Indiana ranks 15th on a list of U.S. states by population. Maybe it’s because our overall workforce is much smaller relative to other metro areas. Perhaps it is because the Indianapolis community does not have as many patrons of the arts as other cities? Or in part because of Indy’s tax policies? Please give us feedback if you have any insight on Indianapolis’s low ranking in this survey and share with us your ideas to make the city a more attractive home for artists.

How does Indiana stack up to our neighbors?
(total artists as percent of state’s civilian labor force)

  • Illinois: ranks 22nd
  • Michigan: ranks 24th
  • Ohio: ranks 34th
  • Indiana: ranks 40th
  • Kentucky: ranks 45th

Filed under: Art, Current Events, Local


IMA Design Center is Coming Soon…

For those of you who may not have heard, the IMA is opening a Design Center later this year that will showcase and sell furniture, home accessories, textiles, and gift items. The common denominator among the Center’s offerings is that each item will have a design story associated with its inception.

I couldn’t be happier to be part of the team working on the Design Center, because I have been obsessed with style, fashion, and design for as long as I can remember.

I think it must have started in second grade when I got my white bean bag chair. Some of my friends and family members had them too- – but nobody had one in white. I remember feeling so lucky to have one in what was surely the coolest color for this staple of 70’s interior.

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Filed under: Design


What’s technology got to do with it?

Or maybe the more appropriate question is, “What does technology have to do with art?” It is a question often asked in the face of ever-more pervasive digital content. There are so many ways that art can benefit from technology. It is likely that you are having one of two reactions to that statement. Maybe a raised eyebrow with a silent, “Yeah, right.” Or perhaps you have already bought into this notion and your gut reaction was more like, “Well, of course!” Regardless of your point of view it is probably next-to-impossible to see it from the opposite perspective. Why?

I assert that it has to do with how much you love technology. My life, for example, is steeped in it. I read art blogs, watch YouTube videos people send to me via e-mail and spend nearly every moment wired in to some form of technological interaction. So of course I think art, like everything else in my life is fair game for technological enhancement.

But I know there is another point of view. One that firmly holds art and its viewing in a quiet, pensive place, unfettered by the white noise the digital world can create.

The difference in these perspectives is often attributed to Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Art, New Media


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