Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A Toast to Nastya!

These projects will not be possible or nearly as much fun without Nastya. She’s more than just a project manager, interpreter, organizer, accountant, mediator, psychiatrist, photographer, flamenco dancing travel companion, box-and-teabag stenciler, menu-reader, giggle-juice-drinker, dog-petter, banya-organizer, abandoned-burned-down-house-scavenger, phone-text-master, etc, etc, etc. Nastya is a friend. And I want to thank her for making these exchanges extraordinary experiences.

Thank you Nastya!!

Enter Bishkek!

Three months ago, in June, Ji Lee and I went to Bishkek to initiate conversations and creations about public art. The art center where we called our home for the 2 weeks ended up with a new identity and a couple of public art projects. Now, I have returned to maintain the momentum at high. CEC generously provided funds for artist initiated public art project. Through a call for proposals, artists were invited to submit ideas for public artworks which will be installed on the grounds of B’Art. Each artist will be given up to $150 to realize his/her concept. I was there to show artists how to propose and to share some smart, whimsical and interesting public art projects done by emerging artists like themselves. This would be done through a series or workshops or Master Classes.

The first workshop had a low attendance but the attendees had idea which I reviewed and provided some creative criticism. I ended that day’s workshop by encouraging all to spread the word about this opportunity. I had a feeling they would so I anticipated a larger crowd at the next workshop.

Something extraordinary happened between the workshops – my computer died. Wait, there’s more. While preparing for the next day’s presentation my computer shorted out. There was a power surge, then nothing. How can I present without images? I went to the hotel lobby to look for some options. (Here’s the extraordinary part). A complete stranger, Kyrgyz, offered me his new laptop, for free, to do my presentations. I didn’t ask – he just offered. MANY THANKS ALEXEY!!

The next day, my one presentation turned into three – the laptop was a lifesaver.