2 hours to showtime

The gallery display opens in two hours-- internet connection here in the studio has been a bit wonky, but final prep is underway.

The process of determining what the final project will be usually involves breaking the group of 18 into three smaller groups-- honestly, it's usually easy to whittle down to the best ideas because some of the ideas tend to be ridiculous.  This year the group had three REALLY solid ideas making the melding of them even more difficult.

For the first time since I've done it-- some of the students are actually going to be part of the exhibit, giving it a performance component.

The norm is for the students to break into smaller groups and work on segments of the installation.  In previous years I've even seen groups do three separate installations and then attempt to marry them together, which I don't find productive.

The idea is to guide, not lead-- to point not teach, and that can be difficult for the Artist Mentor to adhere to for a number of reasons;

1. Too little direction and the students will often meander.
2. You are dealing with young artists here, every artist has an ego of some magnitude, otherwise they wouldn't be artists, so as the Artist Mentor you need to still demonstrate the voice of authority to keep them on task and schedule.
3. You really don't have that much time to get the project done, so there is little room for mis-steps, mis-direction of re-dos.

Trying to get the students on board and enthusiastic is also a challenge, and then to keep them there.

Sheldon, our Studio Observer-- Observing.
Installed in each studio is a Studio Observer-- a volunteer who spends most of the event watching your project come together.  Veronica has done it in the past and she's told me as a previous Artist Mentor its very difficult not to jump in.

Our Observer this year was Sheldon and he was awesome.  Sheldon performed his duties, took a LOT of photos and when we were in trouble looking for something he'd jump down off his perch and help us look for it.   In some of the other studios and in previous years I've often noticed Studio Observers who sit and look like your eighth grade Librarian which can suck the energy out of the room.

Sheldon did anything but-- he was a great and valued addition to our group.