Would you look at that! It’s past the summer solstice, it’s almost July, and my internship is half over. Days move so slowly yet the weeks zoom by. Well, never mind my banter, on with my week!
June 21 (1-8pm)
Days I come to CB in the middle of the afternoon are super nice, but I feel like I hardly get anything done (which is not true). I spent my time researching James Turrell, peeling over many articles, projects, or autobiographical information for the sole purpose of myself and to share with the adult public programs team at the end of my internship. The other half of my time in the office I spent researching community engagement projects with other museum institutions around the world. Although that assignment seems rather vague, I am actually helping spearhead an entire committee driven to creating a community engagement project in Northwest Arkansas.
5pm came around and so I had to head down to the Great Hall to be a ticket scanner at the WOW (Wednesday over Water) Chihuly event. The event itself showcases the temporary exhibit with a discussion and open Q&A with someone representing the interpretation team and someone representing the curating team with Case Dighero, the head of culinary, moderating. The evening features appetizer-sized dishes alongside the signature cocktail created especially for this event. Truly, it was a fun event, even from the sidelines. I myself managed to snag the last glass of champagne (yay!) before sitting back and simply listening to the discussion.
June 22 (2-9pm)
Sara and I had our one on one to check in on my work, add new assignments, and make comments about previous events or anything. Again, it being a Thursday, the day consisted of meetings. The public programs team had our weekly meeting, highlighted by the dissection of adult public programs’ events for all of 2018. That took awhile to get through.
An hour or so later, Tyler and I joined Moira to welcome Annabelle Selldorf to Crystal Bridges before her lecture. As any other lecture event, we were scanning tickets, welcoming and ushering guests.
Her lecture was primarily about the bigger projects her firm is responsible for, and what is to come for her firm. What I took away from the lecture was her notion of architecture as an experience of place, done by two qualities of longevity and civility. Another thing I was not aware of was the significance of the Frick Collection in Manhattan.
June 23 (9:30-11am, 1-2:30pm)
Me being me, I forgot that Sara told me that I could take the morning off and only meet for a meeting in Springdale that afternoon. Oh well. I went into the office and spent an hour and a half on researching further content for community engagement.
Springdale is roughly 20 minutes south of Bentonville. I was meeting Sara at the Downtown Springdale Alliance to have a discussion with the director about the September 16 artinfusion mixer that Crystal Bridges and DSA were sponsoring.
After our meeting, Sara and I drove around for her to tell me about the area and what the event would look like. I went home after that, took a great nap, and went with Tyler back to Springdale to go out with Sara and some other people from Crystal Bridges in celebration of her buying a new house. I met other employees I had not had the chance to come across, where we discussed wacky art gallery experiences and why art is the best thing ever.
June 24 (2-10:30pm)
If you’ve been keeping track of the days, today was Saturday, aka Chihuly Saturday Night! What was different? I was the damn event leader. I was the go-to person for band load-in, volunteer coordinator, staff coordinator, and the go-to if something was wrong. To be fair, I have been at every single Chihuly Saturday Night from the event programming end. I was the most prepared person at Crystal Bridges for this position, so it only made sense.
I showed up at 2pm, JTH productions with the stage, sound, and light ready. Facilities and I unloaded the tables, chairs, stools, tubs for artmaking, and the tent reserved for the green room. Volunteers helped me setup, art educators showed up to setup the spin art while I was helping unload and welcome Brian Martin to do soundcheck. Around 4:30pm Opal Agafia & the Sweet Nothings arrived, unloaded, and did their soundcheck. Everything was going great. Guests were already arriving at 5pm with their lawn chairs, planting down in the mulch while enjoying their food from the food truck. I had gotten word around 5pm from our CDO that Alice Walton was going to be at the event later that evening. I almost exploded, ha.
Before the event officially began, I assigned volunteers to different workstations. I then did my routine duties with rounds between artmaking station, watercolor station, and ID check through out the night. Everything was still great. I had to make a quick cut behind the food truck to grab something for Opal to eat right before performing, because the line was SO long.
Around 8pm or so, Alice and her dog showed up to the event, in tow with her nephew, Steuart Walton. She blended in pretty well, or more like residents knew to not really bother her while she was at an event. But all in all, Chihuly Saturday Night went well. My only concern was that I had only a couple of cheesesticks that day, so I was ravenous.
My only day off and I slept most of the day, Netflix, and guess what, more sleep!
I woke up at 7am because I was super nervous and anxious about my day’s only event, lunch with Alice Walton. I practically ran to the library where I met the other summer college interns. I joined a smaller group discussing our college experiences, what we know about the Waltons, and funny stories alike. Our lunch with Alice was obviously scheduled and she was already planning on being at CB all day for meetings, because why not. One of the meetings was the board meeting with other board members like her nephew, Steuart Walton; Tom Hayes the CEO of Tyson Foods; Pitt Hyde, entrepreneur and the founder of Autozone; and a couple of other board members that were important. We briefly introduced ourselves to them, asked a couple of questions, and they were off.
I was sitting next to Rod Bigelow, the executive director of CB, whom was catacorner from Alice at the table. Alice gave a shpiel of where she got her interest in art, why art is important, and what she does to keep up with the arts today. We then asked her questions about Crystal Bridges. To keep things short, our conversation was centered around diversity in art museums, what we can do to keep all guests in mind for the entire experience, and why it all matters. Our input allowed her to be somewhat grounded in what the ‘kids’ think about art museums.
I made a lot of eye contact with Alice, asked her if she enjoyed the Chihuly Saturday Night, got a handshake out of her, and got a picture with her. Overall, one of the best Mondays I’ve ever had. I truly value her integrity, love of art, and privilege to create such a resource like Crystal Bridges for the public, it is honorable, no matter what you think of the Walton family.
Oh, another day off? Yep, I slept most of the day, watched old episodes of Game of Thrones, and enjoyed an evening bike ride.
That was the week. I hope you all have a good rest of your week and enjoyable holiday – don’t blow your fingers off! Happy Independence Day!