I thought it would be fun to summarize my years of working on exhibitions at Hickory Museum of Art. In doing so the song “Seasons of Love“ (aka 525,600 Minutes) from RENT kept playing in my head. So as Kai Ryssdal would say, “Let’s do the numbers.”
12+ years involved with exhibitions at HMA
11 years as Exhibitions Manager (7 as Exhibitions + Communications Manager)
219 different exhibitions installed
14,352 vinyl letters adhered to (and peeled off) the wall
5,994 artworks (paintings / photographs / prints / sculptures) that I’ve had the privilege of touching and installing
3 exhibitions brought to life in tableaux vivants
37 times riding the lift before getting over my fear of heights
60,124 coffee stirrers teamHMA and I have picked up from the gallery floor (thanks Jonathan Brilliant!), and while we are at it:
9 coats of paint to cover up his coffee grounds paintings
101 living artists (not including group shows) I have worked / collaborated / interacted with
84 gallons of paint
24 pints of spackle
2,444 cups of coffee
104 times water/coffee has gone up my nose from laughing in staff/exhibitions meetings
19 warnings I’ve had to give that flames of any kind are prohibited in the Museum (mostly sternos/candles, but once burning sage leaves)
Some of my favorite moments working at HMA (in no particular order):
Dressing up as Bob Ross.
Being 9 months pregnant crawling around on the floor putting finishing touches on a woodworking exhibition, and fighting the urge to climb a ladder to help a high school student hang his work.
Leaving work for an OB appointment saying “I’ll be back in an hour…” Then calling work an hour later from a hospital bed, frantically giving instructions to my co-workers for events taking place that weekend. And Mary assuring me, “Kristina, we’ve got this. Just concentrate on having that baby.”
Crawling inside a 29’ long inflatable Buddha sculpture to adjust 2x4’s and sandbags during BLOW UP.
Saying goodbye to our old lighting system which involved lighting everything from 25’ high ceiling with 15 pound fixtures with sketchy wiring.
Getting installation ideas from artists -- such as Matthew Diffee’s awesome suggestion of writing directly on gallery walls with washable markers. (This was after I let Hootie Bowman loose with permanent markers.)
Organizing tableaux vivants for Hickory Selects (2007), Imagination of Henryk Fantazos (2009), and Faces & Figures (2014). My favorite tableaux were of Fantazos’ Okra Smugglers and Blood for Toys (which featured my husband), Ed Crump as Fred Gorham Folsom III’s So I Sez I Sez…, and HMA’s own Clarissa and Mary in Jane Peterson’s The Windowseat.
Making a birthday cake for what would have been Paul Whitener’s 100th birthday, and a cake for Carl Moser’s 90th birthday and solo exhibit at HMA.
In 2010 we hosted “Torn from Home: My Life as a Refugee.” Afterwards it travelled to Honolulu and as fate had it I was able to see it in Hawaii. I took pride in the fact that HMA’s installation was far superior, which is a testament to all who partnered with us to make the show come alive for visitors, especially Hickory International Council.
Having artists such as Steve McCurry and Joel Sartore appreciate the installs of their work.
I often get asked what my favorite exhibition has been. It is difficult to pick a favorite show because I have worked with so many fabulous artists. (I was going to list them here, but I know I will forget to include one.) In recent memory, BLOW UP: Inflatable Contemporary Sculpture and A GRAND VISION: Elliott Daingerfield Paints the Grand Canyon and Grandfather Mountain are high up on the list because each offered new challenges. But a longtime favorite has been WAKING UP WITH VAN GOGH. Guest Curator Moni Hill invited 70+ primarily Asheville artists to respond to Van Gogh’s Bedroom in Arles in their own styles and mediums. The artwork was fabulous. Plus the complementary programs were fun to plan, including an absinthe tasting, and Meet the Artists reception which had a themed food display (featuring my nightstand, French macarons, and apricot lavender chicken salad).
Fortunately, this is not the end of the story. I happen to know what is planned for the next two years at HMA, and already have a list of soon to be favorites!
This post is # 38 of the 75 stories to celebrate HMA's 75 years.
Post written by Kristina Anthony, Exhibitions Manager.