“Has she considered a different delivery system for the studio to gauge interest?”
This question is so interesting to me because it often comes up in relationship to my work. It seems to be asking for a defense of why my artwork as imagined by me is a part of my practice. It does not take into consideration what I am coming to understand is the durational part of my durational practice. The duration for me refers to the time and process it takes to truly create change across that barrier. The process occurs through three steps:
The experience of art in a place and then
The creation of art with a place
Respectful relationships don’t start with a person asking another person for something. They begin with a gift for a person, followed by a commitment to being with that person and then, if the previous steps are successful, the creation of something with that person. Putting Room13Delmar in a van and driving it north of Delmar is not the same thing as designing, fabricating and creating a sculpture that turns into a studio in that place. The latter requires a commitment by me. A giving not only of my time but of my art, my self. It is not merely about serving the underserved, it is about sharing with them.
I am sure that part of the reason the NODhouse installation was so positively received was because the embroideries were already finished and framed to be hung in a gallery. There was no requirement of my north of Delmar business partners to tell me what they wanted or to problem solve alternatives with me. They could either accept the gift of the work or not. It was the beginning of our relationship and it was respectful. Room13Delmar is a next step. It is different in that it will involve a more active participation by people north of Delmar as they use the studio to explore their own creativity. But it still begins with my bringing my art to them. It is not the same to set up a folding table and ask them to join me. The magic bag sculpture that turns into the studio is my artwork and serves as proof of my commitment to them, my desire to create something north of Delmar.
I used to feel guilty about the focus on my own studio work in the durational NODhouse project. Questions such as the one at the top of this post seemed to be saying, “If it is really about north of Delmar, then the people who live and work there should choose what they want there.” That is one understanding of making community art but it is not the only understanding. NODhouse and with it Room13Delmar is about north of Delmar but it is also about me and my art practice. I gift as a gesture of respect.