Full contact rock paper scissors. Passing an ice bucket from person to person with only your feet. Hurling rubber chickens and stuffed monkeys. Primal screams. It’s all in a days work at the IMA.
I will never deny that working in a museum is fun, but nothing has compared to Monday and Tuesday of this week. From playful games to thoughtful discussions, a group of IMA staff led by the artist collective (and former guest bloggers) Type A spent 2 full days participating in team-building exercises focused on the IMA’s forthcoming Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park. These games, challenges and discussions were meant to not only help strengthen the bonds between a diverse group of IMA staff, but ultimately to inform the final commissioned work that Type A will create for the Art and Nature Park.
I’m not gonna lie. I walked into the first day of team-building exercises skeptical. Eating my blueberry bagel at breakfast on the first day, I asked myself: “What are 2 artists going to be able to teach us? Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to actually work on the plans for the Art and Nature Park than discuss them and play games?” I assumed there would be a lot of hugging and praising and not a lot of actual progress. Really and truly I don’ t mind the hugging and praising, but ultimately I’m a person who prefers to just do something rather than talk about it. However, I’ve been impressed and surprised; talking about concepts and goals can ultimately lead to progress. Type A has done a really great job of blurring the lines between artists and facilitators.
As Adam and Andrew often asked us, “What were the lessons we learned?” I’ve had a few days to ponder the question and here’s what I’ve determined. Stated simply: I have a better understanding of the struggles, stresses and successes of my colleagues. I have a greater appreciation for the teamwork and collaboration necessary for a project as small as creating a postcard and as large as creating a 100 acre park. I also have a richer knowledge of my unique role as part of the Art and Nature Park team.
I’ve learned a lot and will take a lot with me from this week’s activities. Beyond the important life lessons, I’m going to have to find a way to incorporate the rubber chicken and full contact rock paper scissors into my daily job functions at the IMA. Or perhaps, just the primal screams…
In September the IMA will launch a special web presence for Type A’s project that will provide documentation of the work that we’ve all done (video, pictures, etc.) as well as serve as a forum for discussion. In the meantime, you can check out some of the participant’s photos by visiting the Type A Flickr Group.