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What does it mean to be passionate about culture in your city? How do you meet innovators working in different types of institutions when every day is focused on your own particular sliver (in my case, art and mobile tech) of the cultural pie? After seeing multiple posts from colleagues around the world about local meetups under the hashtag #drinkingaboutmuseums, I was intrigued and interested in making something similar happen in Indianapolis.

Time for a little research! I spoke to some of the founders of #drinkingaboutmuseums to see how their local “chapters” worked. Ed Rodley, of the Museum of Science, Boston, and author of the blog Thinking about Museums told me that in Boston, DAM:BOS meets monthly at a host museum for a presentation, and then moves to a bar for social time. Koven Smith of Denver Art Museum shared that the Colorado group meets irregularly, bar only, and uses to keep the group to museum professionals only.

Then I contacted the most social Indy museum person I know for a little backup, my IMA colleague Richard McCoy. Richard said that he had been having a similar conversation about building cultural community with Malina Jeffers of the Madame Walker Theatre Center. We met to discuss some ideas about hosting this kind of event in Indy: what were we trying to do? We know the museum and technology communities are small, but the greater arts and culture community is thriving. People are very passionate about culture in our city. We decided to expand the group from just museums to cultural organizations of all kinds and Indy’s #drinkingaboutculture was born. We also decided to meet only four or so times a year, keep it casual (read: at a bar), and with a short presentation about a local project to kick off conversation.

So, we hope you will join us tomorrow for a drink and to discuss cultural innovation in Indy!

Inaugural #drinkingaboutculture INDY

Tuesday, September 11, 5:30pm at Bourbon Street Distillery

Topic: Mali Jeffers of the Madame Walker Theatre Center will briefly introduce a collaboration with WFYI on a self-guided tour of the Theatre, led virtually by Mr. Ridley, a longtime docent. The fifteen minute presentation will be followed by a conversation/Q&A about the project.



Thoughts from AAM

Last week, I was lucky enough to attend the American Association of Museums Annual Meeting in Minneapolis with 5,000 of my closest museum friends. What an experience! One reason I enjoy going to this conference is the opportunity to connect with colleagues from across the museum field. There’s nothing like a little cross-departmental collabo to broaden your perspectives about what can be done in a museum.

A packed schedule of events

Sunday, I met up with several hundred #musetech friends as the Media and Technology committee announced winners at the 23rd Annual Muse Awards. The winning entries in a dozen categories came from museums around the world and represented the most innovative and awe-inspiring digital projects happening in museums. The IMA won a Bronze Award in Public Outreach for our video XLVI Reasons to Visit the IMA.

These lucite awards are dang hard to photograph.

The sessions this year were really inspiring. The IMA is evaluating a lot of our mobile experiences (more to follow on this soon) and I feel so inspired by all of the thoughtful approaches presented at the conference. I have written down a couple thoughts and quotes from the sessions I attended- sorry if you saw a lot of these on Twitter already! I have tried to give credit where credit is due, but please let me know if I have taken credit for something you said!

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Font of All Knowledge

For our 2011 fashion and textile exhibition Material World, designer Matt Kelm developed a brand new typeface for the title treatment. Material World is all about the splendor and opulence of clothing from across the globe, and how different societies use materials to connote power and wealth. The intricate letters are a fitting counterpart to the richly textured and adorned objects and they act as a subtle reminder to look closely at the details in the show. Just like we did for his last special project, I sat down with Matt to ask him about his inspirations and process for making the letters.

You can see the results in use (and all of the fabulous clothes) in the Paul Textile Gallery and Fashion Arts Gallery until February 6, 2012.

What were your inspirations for the Material World typeface?

The grid-like mesh of natural elements like spider webs was an inspiration, as well as man-made things like chain-link fences. Both can feel either very clean and manufactured or organic depending on how they are viewed or manipulated.

How did you design this typeface? Did you make the whole alphabet?

Functioning typefaces are created with specialized software that allows them to be typed directly from the keyboard, and includes important  information about spacing, alternate weights, etc. Because we were only using these new letters to spell short phrases, and because of the time required to actually create a functioning font, I simply made the letters in Adobe Illustrator with the pen tool. Creating each letter isn’t difficult, but it can be time consuming, so I drew only the characters I needed for this exhibition.

Why did you design a typeface and not use one that already existed?

While thinking about what typography and imagery could be used to represent the intricate materials used in the exhibition, I did look at a number of pre-existing options. Ornate display type tends to be created to connote specific imagery—Victorianism, holidays, or the stereotypes of a foreign culture, for instance. I wanted something that felt contemporary and spoke to the physical construction of the garments, but also seemed organic as well. It didn’t take very long to realize that drawing my own letters was the most natural approach.

How does the design of Material World enhance a visit to the show?

The primary goal of any design is to enhance the content. The experience of shopping at a big-box grocery store is very different from visiting an expensive clothing retailer, and it’s not because of the objects for sale. By using dark colors and not using more light than necessary, we are trying to create a space that feels intimate and seductive when compared to other galleries. The typography, too—both in its design and its use in the show—is meant to accentuate the seductive nature of the work, as well as reference the intricate patterns and handwork evidenced in many of the pieces.



Behind the Columns

The fury of the Biennale has begun, and Gloria at the palladian U.S. Pavilion is looking polished and practiced for the crowds. In the past week, many of the final touches and adjustments have been made in the gallery, a fact made many times more complicated with 13 live performers, a dual channel video room and operating sunbed, ATM, pipe organ, treadmill and tank. Most of this was accomplished under the watchful eye of the IMA’s on-site installation team, Brad Dilger and Mike Bir, who oversaw the installation of all of the work and fine tuned just about everything you see in the pavilion, and Yvel Guelcé, the Director of IT who installed the attendance counter and the localized wireless for the TAP Gloria mobile tour.

Amanda York, Brad Dilger, Yvel Guelce and Gabriele HaBarad diligently working during practice and installation week.

After all this prep, here are some of the interesting and funny stories that developed while we put the final touches on Gloria!

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Video di Venezia

This past weekend, the IMA’s video team (Daniel Beyer and I) arrived in Venice to film the installment and opening of Gloria by Allora & Calzadilla at the U.S. Pavilion for the 54th Biennale di Venezia. Venice is a glorious backdrop, it is as romantic and complicated and ancient as it looks in pictures. In fact, it is hard to take a photo or video shot that doesn’t look suitable for a postcard or commercial. Everything is just too perfectly picturesque. Because of this, Venice makes a great foil for telling stories about the global cutting edge contemporary art scene, all of which it seems, lands here every other year for the Biennale.

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About emily

Title: Media Project Coordinator

Emily has written 35 articles for us.