Update on the Art Center

Hi all! I hope you are having as happy of a holiday season as I am! I’m up to my eye balls in all sorts of fun stuff, but it’s all top secret crafting for friends and family! I decided that this week I’d give you an update on how the new job is going.

The summary is that I love it. It’s been a hard adjustment, but as I reach week 8 of working here I’m finally getting into the swing of things.

Now, if you want to hear about more than that, keep reading. I’ll tell you a bit about where I’m working and why I’m so excited to have this job.

A Short History of The Octagon Center for the Arts

The Octagon was founded in 1966 by three dynamic women who felt it was important that Ames have it’s own community art center. It actually started out in an old historic house that was octagonal in shape, hence our name. In just two years they were hosting so many classes, workshops, and shows that they looked for new building, our current home, a three story brick building on the corner of 5th and Douglas in the main street area in Ames. We’ve seen good times and bad times, but happily, it seems we are heading into another good time. The staff is vibrant and dedicated and 2013 is looking to be another good year.

Our Building Now

On the first floor we have our Gallery Shop (consigns local and regional artists ranging from indie craft to fine art), the Community Gallery (newly opened), and our tenant on the corner Ames British Foods.

The second floor is home to our administrative offices and education department. We host a broad range of art and craft classes for toddlers to adults. We teach pretty much every discipline I can think of except for silk screening and stained glass.

On the third floor we have our largest gallery + stage, our permanent antique japanese theatrical mask collection, and our third gallery, the Sweeney, where I hope to debut a sight specific installation exhibits program in 2014. And if you jump back down to the basement we have a sculpture and ceramics studio. Plus the newly renovated digital photography lab/classroom.

There is a lot of creative activity happening in this building!

My job as Exhibits Manager

So what do I do here? I manage/coordinate the three gallery spaces: Community on the ground and the Main and Sweeney galleries on the third floor, plus the corresponding storage areas and workrooms. We have exhibits rotating about every 8-12 weeks depending on the time of year. We have two juried shows a year, one national and one regional. We host a national art festival annually that I’ll help the executive director with. We also host an annual MFA show in coordination with Iowa State University and an annual High School Art Show for the regional high schools.

There’s also the fun mash of grant righting, paperwork, archive updating, cleaning, workshop hosting, phone answering, and the like. The first day of work I started installing the first of three exhibits that were to debut in just 12 days. In the past 8 weeks I’ve cleaned out storage areas, my office, set up the 2013 exhibits schedule, and coordinated our national juried show.

Whew. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind to come home to after Jason and I’s anniversary/triathlon trip. And I love it. I think I’d be depressed if I didn’t have a little too much going on all the time.

On the Home Front

I’ve been attempting to get a handle on keeping the house clean and cooking fairly unsuccessfully. Jason’s been a huge help. But, as a point of pride, I’d really like to relegate eating out to a treat again vs an emergancy stop gap like it has been during the transition.

Happy Holidays!

ps – only one snow so far and it’s making me a little sad. I’d love to be snowed in by now.

One thought on “Update on the Art Center

  1. Sounds like a lot of fun and interesting. Haven’t allowed myself to craft, now that I am 80% have a lot more grading to do and trying to keep up with grades online…helping older with college apps and younger with adjusting to high school. I have a suggestion for nutritious easy peasy dinners: yum bowls: warm rice, lentils, garbanzos, black beans or any warm beans, grated carrot, chopped spring onion, avocado, roasted walnuts, tamari, pesto, hummus, tomatoes, cucumbers, black olives…really whatever is on hand. Next night use all leftovers for fried rice!

    Happy Holidays, Amy

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