Saturday, June 1, 2013

Future Bear @ the New England Aquarium

On June 3rd, I will discuss the Future Bear project at the New England Aquarium in Boston. This event is hosted by the Boston Rollins Club and the Rollins College Alumni Association. For information on the event please visit The Alumni Connect site.
I am excited about this event because it gives me the opportunity to discuss the project with a bit more perspective than we had when Julian and I first began working on it a few years ago. Our collaboration has evolved into a kind of partnership with specific roles for each of us, and plenty of mutual support along the way. We bounce ideas off each other all the time, even if we only have time for an exchange of texts in the evening. Sometimes we discuss image ideas, sometimes we debate a turn in the story line. As an art educator, I offer feedback to my students on their creative work for a living, and that role is reversed when Julian comes to my studio to discuss new images I am working on for the project. He often points out that he doesn't draw, but he does have a good sense of what a visual narrative can and should do for a viewer, and his comments are always spot on. I admit, that collaboration is challenging for this reason, it is a dance of one's individual ideas and ongoing dialogue with compromise, but it is also a perfect way to continue my path as a life-long learner, a journey I began as an undergraduate at Rollins 20 years ago. I participated in the Honors Program which was then and still is now, a unique curriculum designed to teach students to work and think in an interdisciplinary, collaborative manner. If the world needs anything right now, it needs professionals who can adapt, listen, and collaborate....exactly the skills I picked up at Rollins. I think the age of experts who are trained in a narrow field of expertise without the ability to understand the way others see the world is long gone. We need to feel uncomfortable in our work from time to time. We need to allow the opinions of others to challenge us and help shape our view. Julian knows as well as I that this kind of work takes courage, and time. And coffee breaks. And above all, friendship.