Asking As Art Practice

May 16, 2014


As of next week, I will have worked at the Walker Art Center for 3 months. It also marks just about the half-way point of my 6-months stint. What the heck do I do there?
  • I organize: I make spread sheets and lists galore in preparation for summer programs.
  • I take care of unglamorous details: I make building requests and sound permit requests; I schedule; I double check that community programs won't disrupt Walker programs.
  • I curate: I chose artists for our little music series, and I'm really proud of the line-up!
  • I encourage: I meet and email with community members and artists and help them make their programs possible. There's an exciting variety of programs-- a combination of classes and spectacle, art and games, performance and social events.
  • I promote: I get excited about things on social media, which is pretty much what I do in my everyday life. It works out!
  • ...and I ask: Do you want to come to the info session? Do you want to bring a program to Open Field? Then I wait and see what happens. It's a fun experiment! So much of this community programming has been a complete surprise-- I have no idea who these people are, where they came from, or how they heard about the program. Yet there they are wanting to dance (or hula hoop, or play in a band) on Open Field. Some people come because of the Walker name; some want to try something new; some were invited back from previous years of the program. 
Open Field has been a great fit for me because more and more of my projects have been centered around finding the place where my ask and the community's need come together. Over the past two years I've make a lot of requests:
  • Can I interview you?
  • Do you want to bring a performance to my house?
  • Do you want to attend said performance?
  • Do you want to read this blog thing I write?
  • Do you want to make (or contribute to) a project about the Wintertime?
I never expect people to say 'yes', but it's always a fun surprise when they do. I don't want the people who feel luke-warm about it-- I want the people who say YESYESYESYES- this is exactly what I've been looking for; an opportunity to do __________________.  Sometimes there is a perfect serendipity. When I put out the ask, it's not for everyone, but it is for someone. The fun is discovering who that someone is.

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