Central Sierra Arts Council is all a-buzz as preparations for our next special exhibition come into place. This afternoon, I popped in to gather a bit of information on the upcoming “Woven Arts of the Andes” show. Gobs of people were all hard at work! I’ve never seen so many people at the arts council all at once, except on our wonderful reception nights! A lively whirl of cooperation and collaboration, all spiced up with cheerful excitement and anticipation, filled the galleries as three different committees worked on preparations for an impressive outreach to our community.
One group joined forces to plan the actual exhibition as CSAC Board member (and nationally known graphics designer) John Lytle, CSAC Volunteer Staff member LuAnnTillman (one of our local ceramic artists who was recently a part of the Columbia Anagama show) and Exhibition Chairperson Laurie Livingston (more about her soon!) joined forces to hang the exquisite textiles pieces from Peru. Along with the amazing collection of traditional weavings, the exhibition will be accented with photographs by George Caldwell, our exhibition’s featured expert and humanitarian, and Laurie Sylwester, Columbia College art professor. The pair recently traveled to the Andes to gather materials and images that will be on display.
Meanwhile, in CSAC’s back gallery, members of the Motherlode Weavers and Spinners Guild helped each other prepare a complimentary exhibition of our local woven textile arts. Together they’re creating a magical alternate show with beautiful weavings of our own Motherlode Weavers and Spinners Guild, as well as information about spinning and dyeing wools. An integral theme of this show is the way that textile arts poetically bind us together across continents and through time. So, during the Andes show, MLWSG will present a series of weaving and spinning demonstrations (A schedule will be published soon). Plus, many of the guild’s beautifully executed weavings will be for sale with a portion of the sales benefitting CSAC’s efforts. We’re grateful for help from our own local textile artists for this chance to collaborate. It’s great to see their work back at CSAC!
Pretty soon another Board member, (and another great graphics designer) Don Hukari, popped in to deliver art posters that will be available during the show. Executive Director Connie O’Connor-Gahagan offered insight, advice and her welcoming smile along the way. Plus, Connie shared the growing list of sponsors for this show. Lead sponsors for “The Woven Arts of the Andes: The Fabric of a Culture” include The Motherlode Weavers and Spinners Guild, By Hand Yarn, The Bank of Stockton, Chicken Ranch Tribal Council, The Sonora Area Foundation, FAN Magazine, Sierra Seasons Magazine, Black Oak Casino and the Union Democrat. Along with these good folks, many friends of CSAC, both personal and people in the business community, are stepping up each day with more than $1000 coming in recent days. Plus, there are other generous in-kind donations and services–All helping our community feel fully involved in this dynamic effort.
Throughout these preparations, CSAC’s Arts Education team is preparing for the opportunity for schools to visit the Andes exhibition. Students will have a chance to experience this vital story of how the woven arts of the Quechuan people have held their culture intact for centuries. They will learn about the llama as the central figure in this cultural tapestry. To accomplish these educational goals, the Andes show will provide several opportunities for students and the general public to fully engage through weaving and spinning demonstrations, art talks about historical traditions, the struggles of the modern-day Andean weavers, as well as storytelling presentations to learn about the rich folkloric traditions of the Andes. Plus, don’t be surprised if you meet a llama or two during this show! Efforts are also underway to secure performances by Andean musicians (fingers and toes crossed!). And in true CSAC Style a glorious reception is being planned!
Then to top off my “I’m amazed with CSAC” Day, I got home to find an email from the exhibition’s creator, artist and Llama Mama Joy Severin, with a schedule and information about those art talks, many led by George Caldwell, himself. Everyone working on “The Woven Arts of the Andes: The Fabric of a Culture” is working diligently to provide locals and visitors an unforgettable memory of life half a world away from Tuolumne County. And all the while, we will realize the strong tie, the connections that shrink this immense world.
Take this opportunity to feel a bit closer to this remote corner of our world. Let yourself witness the deep mystery of ancient life in South America as it struggles to exist in modern times.
Next up: Dyeing with bugs? Yep! And what do you do when you’re new in town? Volunteer at CSAC–Laurie Livingston, the new gal in town!
P.S. During this lovely hubbub at CSAC yet ANOTHER group of eight huddled around a large table, plotting the course for one of CSAC’s youth arts education programs. In addition to the Andes show, CSAC is working on a collaboration with ATCAA’s MentoringWorks program: Views of Friendship, a cultural exchange with Sonora’s sister city, Kirishima, Japan. In preparation for a youth art exchange with the children of Kirishima, local artists and arts educators gathered yesterday to plan a “paint out” of Sonora with local kids that will take place later this Summer.