I had to literally flip through my phone’s photos to make sure that I was correct in saying that I’ve been in Arkansas for more than a week.
*reminder* The first night spent in Arkansas was May 29, so yes, it has been a week+.
I think the rest of my blog posts will flow more smoothly if I treat the days like very public diary entries (because they are) instead of just summing everything up in a nice post.
June 1 (9:30-4:30pm)
Thursday was the most mundane (and by mundane, I mean compared to the other days of this week). It was an admin day, which means meetings and computer work. I sat in on the weekly calendar and security review meeting where I learned of a really cool dinner that happened that evening that I can’t share with the public because privacy… but there was someone cool that musically performed at CB for a dinner that evening.
I think the most ‘productive’ thing I did was send an email to the general manager of the Walton Arts Center arranging a time to pick up some things left behind after an event at CB. Other fun things I started to do was proofreading event descriptions for the rest of the calendar year. The last thing I did for the day was sit in on the public programs weekly meeting. I put more names to faces and realized that I could definitely learn everyone’s name surely by the end of next week. All in all, it was a day to get things done and I did not realize that until later that week.
June 2 (2-8pm)
Today was National Donut Day, so I decided to look up all the donut places in town and there were not many to choose from so I settled on a Krispy Kreme glazed donut. I was so excited to kick off working my first event today and came to the office like 15 minutes early, no problem with that because I got to go to a fun meeting about the flash mob that a core of staff were planning to show off at the next all staff meeting. They asked if there were any new songs that would work best to plan a flash mob, to which I suggested JT’s Can’t Stop the Feeling for a couple of reasons. It’s a fun song to listen to, especially since the meeting will be at 7:30am… there’s already a ‘dance’ to it via the music video, and it’s relatively new. But like most meetings it became side tracked and they chose to dance to a simplified and condensed version of Christopher Walken’s dance in Weapon of Choice. I had to look that up because I’m too young for that reference. I thought my idea was slightly easier and more relevant, but it’s all good.
The event that evening was an exhibition opening lecture from Tina Oldknow, former curator of Modern Glass at Corning Museum of Glass. In preparation, Tyler and I finalized seating arrangements by angling the rows of chairs to make the audience crane their neck less so. We then had to rearrange the furniture and clean out the green room because of the performer from the previous night (you know, the one I said I can’t share because privacy) because they thought it was a good idea to smoke in the green room. Then we arranged the tables for the cash bar and cocktail tables, and then laying out tablecloths. After that we arranged the line barricade for ticket scanning prior to the event. Those poles are very heavy and recommend holding them in an appropriate manner unless you want them to squash your feet. After running between the office and back of house to get last minute things like the ticket scanner, I began scanning tickets and directing people inside. There were just a couple of hiccups in terms of being able to scan the tickets but otherwise the entire process went smoothly.
I thoroughly enjoyed the lecture itself because Oldknow went beyond discussing Chihuly’s history and works but to discuss a whole variety of modern glass artists that go beyond making pretty glass sculptures, even though Oldknow has worked with Chihuly on exhibitions for years. My favorite work during the lecture was Javier Pérez’s Carroña. I highly encourage looking at that work. Overall, I was highly appreciative that the first event I worked was laidback with a lecture because it allowed me to be as engaged as I needed to with being as high maintenance with a different type of event like the Chihuly Nights.
All we had to do after the event was collect tablecloths and ticket scanners to return to the appropriate offices. A fantastic first event.
June 3 (2:45- 9:15pm)
I decided it was best to sleep in as late as possible because I had no idea how long I would be needed for the first Chihuly Night. Today was the opening day of the new Chihuly exhibition! For the first time, CB has split the exhibition with half inside the galleries and the other half (roughly) in the outside forest. CB has a lot of acreage in land that is mostly forested which is also teeming in different trails. Most of the North trail is dedicated until November or so when the exhibition leaves.
As I was driving over to CB, Sara called me asking me to run to Walmart. It was beginning to rain and it was predicted that it would be for some time afterwards. I got the company card from Sara in the teardrop (front circle driveway with Roxy Paine’s silver tree) and went off to Walmart to buy all the cheap ponchos I could!
Driving in Bentonville/NW Arkansas is terrible, let me first say that. Like you would not expect that in such a remote-ish place, but the area is absolutely flourishing. Traffic is lengthy no matter what time during the entire day – with traffic settling down around 8:30pm or so when everyone’s home. It also does not help that people drive so erratically like they don’t give a damn. The closest Walmart to CB is roughly 2.5 miles away, what Google Maps says is a 10 minute drive – HA. Almost double that and that’s how long it will take. It took me about 45 minutes to go to Walmart, get the ponchos, and walk about a mile to get to the area in the exhibition I was supposed to meet Sara at. Add to the fact that it’s a solid rainfall and the sidewalks are caked with mulch and mud. Just picture the stereotypical intern carrying 30 rain ponchos in the rain while trying to get somewhere ASAP… that was me.
The Chihuly Night was to officially start at 6pm. There was a food truck of CB’s restaurant, Eleven (great great food), spin art tables, en plein aire drawing, a couple of bands playing throughout the night, some hula hooping and trapeze artist people and not to mention the exhibition of course.
We spent roughly an hour and a half standing around on the stage waiting for the rain to clear, putting up pop tents and eventually squeegeeing the stage clear of water once the rain finally let up around 4:45. One last intern-like thing I had to do. I had to run to the education office to grab an access key to a storage closet in a different part of CB to grab four yoga mats for the drumset on stage. Running out of the forest, down to the office, back and forth between buildings and back to the forest took about 15 minutes but felt like hours.
Luckily that was the last intern-like thing I had to do that night besides grabbing a couple of cases of water for the bands. People flocked to the area with their chairs ready to listen to the music. Vintage Pistol, a band from Fayetteville played for an hour and a half, and then Andy Frasco & the U.N.‘s played and boy did they play. The point of having music and the outdoor exhibition was to listen to the music while looking at the Chihuly works and have different experiences with the music and sunlight or lack of sunlight.
My only job during the event was to prevent people from walking behind the stage area mostly because they thought there were more artworks in the other direction when in-fact there were not. Once I done with that around 8:15 I could go grab something to eat from the food truck (thanks public programming!). I had the pot roast sandwich with the garlic aioli and a carrot haha.
After that I went throughout the exhibition and enjoyed the outdoor pieces which were even more impressive than the gallery pieces. My personal favorite were the pieces wedged in the trees (see below).
I returned back to Sara to discover that she no longer required my help, even after I asked multiple times to which I finally agreed on. My Fitbit was very happy with 12,000+ for the day, and my Birks muddier than what I came with. A rainy, humid, and exhausting evening for sure, but one that makes me even more excited for the rest of the Chihuly Nights!
June 4 (2-7:30pm)
The home stretch of the long weekend! Today was the I-Connect Intern event hosted at CB. The event was for interns serving in NW Arkansas, whether it was with Walmart, Tyson Foods, or any small business. The event did not start until 4pm, but the prep work for this event was pretty standard. The itinerary besides meeting other interns included various activities in the galleries, gourmet hot dogs for dinner, and a concert from Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin. Just under 300 interns had registered for the event, so we were expecting a little less than that because of the usual drop rate.
My job during the event was with registration by being a ticket scanner. Believe it or not this was difficult because 90% of the interns had their ticket on their phone. I had to ask people to turn up their screen brightness, pull up the actual email instead of a screenshot, and fight screen cracks for nearly 300 people. That took some time. We figured out was best to do for next year in terms of registration like having nametags done in a different way and ticket registration. We eventually got through every intern and guests, despite it taking more time than it could have. Things would have gone much slower had there not been interns from Walmart helping out with the event.
After doing registration Tyler and I enjoyed the event, because we’re interns too! For cleanup I was responsible for just gathering all materials from registration and helping out Rhonda Houser- head of HR (responsible for hosting this event). I was looking forward to the next two days (my weekend) off.
I slept in, a lot. Like I didn’t leave my room until 2pm. It was a beautiful day and I had spent the night before researching all the Bentonville bike trails, so I decided it was best to go on a bike ride. I never biked in Lawrence because I was not really confident with roads, Clinton Lake, or other pedestrians and the trails are far away from my apartment. I started at the bottom of the Crystal Bridges trail and made my way north, past the water treatment plant, into the North Bentonville trail, past the Slaughter Pen mountain bike trail system, and back the way I came.
I only tracked half of my ride with an app, but from that part of my ride I went about 4 miles (so 8 miles total) and burnt 400 calories (so 800 calories total). I took my helmet off twice during my breaks and both times my sweat came off in a splash against the concrete. Yea, gross. I went farther in distance than I expected, but it was worth it. The trails were well-kept, beautiful, and populated enough that if someone was injured they would be found within 5 minutes.
After the longest bike ride I’ve ever done I went to Onyx Coffee Lab to grab an iced latte- very good but not recommended after working out really (yikes). I went home, showered, made dinner, and watched Doctor Strange and The Place Beyond the Pines. Both excellent films.
I woke up sore (duh) and I decided it was best to have a somewhat productive day and to get out of my room. Fayetteville day trip it was! I thought it was best to start out by browsing the Tuesday Farmer’s Market in the downtown square – very cute. People are very friendly here – thanks old man on the banjo – and that kinda made me stick out like a sore thumb because they could tell by my delayed and startled responses back. Oh well.
One of the cool places that I found while researching things in Fayetteville to do was this fairly new place called Sit & Spin which is a restaurant/24 hr laundromat. I had laundry to do, so why not come? While my clothes did their thing, I grabbed a Boss Burger with some fries. Pretty yummy coming from a laundromat.
Given that I’m a college kid and Fayetteville is a college town, I figured that I should at least check out the U of A. It was a good combination of historic buildings and enough southern school-esque that made me confident that I preferred KU more. The campus was pretty, but just not for me.
After pretending I was a U of A student I went to this place called KREAM. Their signature thing is that they serve ice cream in a donut – I know, not super original but I had yet to go to a place that did that. I thoroughly had a sugar overload from butter pecan ice cream in that donut. Wow. So heavy. I won’t be going back there…
I did one last lap around the campus and said peace out because I’ve done just about all the things in Fayetteville I need to do. The one last thing I actually did was go to the back of this boutique that a really cool color wall and took some pictures, so that was cool.
I found myself in a Starbucks, hydrating, and recovering from the day’s events. Ready for the week ahead to work, learn, and meet new people. Tune in for next week’s post, thanks!