“How do we summarize 2018?” we asked ourselves, watching, mesmerized, as another cricket tried to crawl in out of the cold garden. What if we listed the exhibitions?
We had known that the Plural group show was going to be an important milestone, especially since our Bus to the Barrick drive had — thanks to community generosity — enabled us to bring more schoolchildren to the museum. We wanted to show them Las Vegas artists, artists who had practiced in Las Vegas, and artists who had thought about the region. We wanted to remind the students — and everyone else, not only them — how fertile this place could be. How multifarious. Some of those artists came and spoke; some of them held workshops.
Arriving in June, Andrew Schoultz: In Process: Every Movement Counts represented a different kind of community synthesis, bringing street murals indoors, incorporating them in installations, and, also, bringing the walls of the museum outside, in a sense, when the artist took the motifs from his paintings and transformed the appearance of the Clark County Winchester Community Skate Park. Boundaries are porous. Tamar Ettun, whose Jubilation Inflation opened in October with a large, celebratory Art Walk, created a different kind of many-sidedness, responding to her study of trauma by making work that asked participants to consider the potential depth of play, an exhibition that clued you in with pieces like Screwed Pink Helmet that were both welcoming and dangerous.
That was in the East Gallery. In the Braunstein Room there was Vessel: Ceramics from Ancient West Mexico. Curated by Paige Bockman, Vessel will continue into 2019. Over in the West Gallery, Chelsea Adams opened out her study of literary anthropophony to include the visual arts with Soundscapes. Before her, in the same space, Mary Corey March’s Identity Tapestry installation invited you to think through a series of self-identifying proposals. Talking to an audience here in May, she said that one of her challenges as an artist had been designing an interactive process that everybody could understand immediately, without “jumping through hoops.”
Smaller exhibitions quietly appeared in our library windows, showcasing a mid-century Mexican mask or a monochrome pot by Jaime Quezada.
A portion of the Las Vegas Zine Library settled in our lobby, read by visitors and discussed by UNLV classes and guided tours. Thousands of other zines were in a back room, being catalogued. The Zine Library custodians, Jeff Grindley and Stephanie Seiler, led workshops. The UK artist Gemma Marmalade arrived from the University of Derby and delivered a performance-speech-manifesto in the Barrick auditorium after a “Subversive Saturday” zine-making session in March. The Visiting Artist Lecture series took place. When? On Thursdays. “When should you use titanium white,” one member of the audience asked Whitney Bedford, “and when should you use something else?” Visitors to the Community Art Day in June watched clay-making demonstrated by Clay Arts Vegas. They lined up for Virtual Reality. They listened to violins. They considered Schoultz’s murals. They looked up.
Wendy Kveck from Settlers + Nomads worked with us to bring in representatives of Common Field, a national network of non-profit arts organizations. Join! they said to the audience of artists and art-oriented Las Vegans. If you want to! Dr. Erika Abad studied Identity Tapestry in February and gave a lecture about it in the first week of October. “Who are we,” she asked, “and how do we heal?” Visitors, invited to write hopeful messages for the For Freedoms placard piece in November, filled two walls. “Freedom from anxiety, tuition, depression, current political climate,” wrote one.
The generosity of others was necessary, and gratefully received throughout the year. It is our supporters who encourage us to put on ambitious exhibitions; who bring the children here in their school buses, who donate artwork so that we can carry out our tours, building an articulate community, aware of the arts.
Catching the cricket in a cup, we put it out.
Photographs, from top to bottom: Andrew Schoultz painting the Clark County Winchester Cultural Center Skate Park, by Mikayla Whitmore| Lance Smith leads a drawing workshop surrounded by artworks by (l-r) Gig Depio, Amy Yoes, Eri King, and Krystal Ramirez; the photo is also by Krystal Ramirez | A rehearsal for the Tamar Ettun choreography, Part Blue, performed at the UNLV Art Walk on October 12th, by Nick Endo/UNLV Creative Services | Mary Corey March’s Identity Tapestry, 2018, by Mikayla Whitmore | Vessels in Vessel: Ceramics from Ancient West Mexico, by Justin Locust | Stephanie Seiler and Jeff Grindley lead a zine-making workshop, by Josh Hawkins/UNLV Creative Services | Community Art Day visitors walking to a reading by Huston Green in front of artwork by Andrew Schoultz, by Amanda Keating/UNLV Creative Services