It's a brand new year, and it's time that a lot of folks are making resolutions for the twelve months ahead. Better health habits, taking more trips, spending more time with the family, and so on. I'm not averse to New Year's resolutions, but they've never lasted more than a few weeks in my case, so I've decided to focus more on the equally popular yearly roundup instead.
For the last several weeks, it's been impossible to search for anything online without finding "Top 10" lists of just about everything under the sun that arrived on the planet in 2015. But the yearly roundup I'm selfishly most concerned with is my own, or more specifically, the Young Space accomplishments. I say selfish because it sounds a little egotistical to go back through the events, activities, and adventures of the last year to see what I did. But there's real value in being able to see where one started and where one ended up in a given amount of time; what went well and what went... not so well. The latter, of course, is where the real lessons are learned.
Sometimes I feel a little bogged down by this project. I work a full-time job (at a bookstore, which I love, incidentally) in order to pay the bills and fund just about everything I did to start and continue with this project. So thank you, day job. But that means that everything I do that is Young Space related is, in some sense, "on the side." So carving out time as well as resources can be a challenge sometimes. And because it's just me (not complaining), when I'm not around, nothing happens. That drives me crazy!
So the last year had its ups and downs. Mostly ups -- major good things. I met so many people, I can't even count them all. The blog continued to grow, and in April I threw caution to the wind and put up a big pop-up exhibition with nearly 30 artists' work from around the country. It was a huge success (a second take follows in March this year). I curated an exhibition of beautiful Midwestern contemporary photography, which ran the month of July at the ARTgarage in Green Bay, WI. I collaborated with a number of other creatives and artists to try a community supported arts project called ARTiculture. I gave talks and participated in panel discussions. I took a few trips. I began planning an alternative arts school with an international group of artists and organizers in Black Mountain, NC. I was part of a group who revitalized a disused alley into a beautiful, outdoor creative space. And those are just SOME of the things! (!!? In my brain, I'm like, seriously? Case in point, looking back at everything one accomplishes in a year is usually more rewarding than not.)
When I feel as though I'm not doing enough, I look back on the year. And I think, damn, I accomplished a ton of great things! Much of it is experimental, and most of it is ongoing. Some things didn't work. Some relationships didn't manifest into amazing partnerships or new projects as they had perhaps been initially planned. Some ideas came on strong and died a slow, lazy death. Other things were simply shelved for later. I've learned to take stock of these changes of direction, consider all of the forks in the road, and know that for everything that doesn't go as planned, or won't work out the way I'd hoped, there are five other moves I could make or opportunities to dive into that could end up taking me down a road I never even knew was there.
Contemporary visual art is my passion, and by extension, Young Space is a passion. It's my way of connecting to the people and the ideas that make art exciting to me. I'm always looking out, in front of and around me, so it's important to look back every once in a while. I am so grateful for everything that happened, and for everyone I met, over the past year. Whether specifically for Young Space or art-related projects, or simply "just cuz," it's been a blast, and I see in 2016 a whole lot more where that came from.
Thank you ever so much, and Happy New Year!