Friday, January 8, 2010

Day Three....

I'll bet some of you are wondering what exactly I am doing here at The Metal Museum. Here is the proposal I submitted to the SmartShop Board of Directors and the Metal Museum. This is my mission:


Who:  Holly Fisher
What:  Artist Residency
Where:  National Ornamental Metal Museum, Memphis, TN
When:  January 1, 2010 – March 30, 2010

Artist-In-Residence Details: The Metal Museum's Resident Artist Program affords artists the opportunity to live and work in a stimulating, supportive museum environment. With full access to the on-site smithy and foundry, artists are able to focus on their art and create a new body of work over the course of three, six, or twelve months. The program welcomes self-motivated, focused individuals working in various forms of metal arts including foundry, conservation/small metals and blacksmithing work. Housing, studio space, and some materials are provided.

Accommodations: The Museum is located on 3.2 acres on the Mississippi River in a former merchant marine hospital. Artists are housed in the east side of a duplex that once served as the Junior Officer's Quarters. The residence can accommodate up to four people at a time - three rooms for extended stay residencies and one room for guests. There is basement room with private bath and living area, the second floor south room with private bath and the second floor north room with shared bath and private porch. Rooms are assigned as available.

Expectations: Artists are expected to dedicate at least 36 hours per week to creating a body of work as outlined in their statement of intent. In addition, artists are expected to commit 2 - 4 hours per week assisting with shop maintenance (i.e. cleaning, repair, upgrading). Artists are also asked to donate one artwork to the Museum for the permanent collection, to be mutually agreed upon by Museum and artist. The residency does not include a living stipend. Opportunities to do limited, contractual work, such as assisting the Museum with educational programs, are available.

Proposed Project: During this three month period of residence, I will complete a entirely new body of work (9-12 "Reflection" pieces) as I study reflective surfaces, their inherently interactive nature, and the metal forming techniques required to produce the work. The pieces will be made from cast silver, sheet formed stainless steel and chrome plated cast iron. The forms will be inspired by the scientific principles surrounding water and air movement. A "Reflection Paper" will document in words, my creative and technical processes, my experiences and resulting theories. The new body of work will be shown at SmartShop's Gallery during the month of April, 2010, with an artist's reception during April's Art hop and a specially scheduled "Welcome Home" party with a slide lecture documenting my adventure.

Direct Benefits:
•    Exceptional opportunity to study under several recognized masters in the field including James A. Wallace, Jim Masterson, Bob Rogers and Richard Prillaman. Their instruction and guidance will culminate in my building knowledge, experience and skills in the following areas: Cast iron mold making, cupola operation and finishing techniques. Silver forging, casting, soldering and finishing. Advanced methods for sheet forming and polishing stainless steel. Jewelry design and fabrication techniques.
•    Develop new relationships with skilled artisans who could then be invited to SmartShop to share their specific skills through guest programs.
•    Uninterrupted creative based time for SmartShop grant, organizational and programmatic planning and writing.
•    Collaborate with Metal Museum Director Carissa Hussong and Metal Museum to gain new perspectives about organizational development and directives. 
•    Collaborate with Metal Museum Outreach and Education Coordinator Judy Davis to develop strong programs for Kalamazoo Arts Integration Initiative, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and other Kalamazoo Public School venues.
•    Allow the SmartShop staff to practice and perform their specific duties without the direct influence of the founder, resulting in increased staff ownership over the daily operations of the organization, thereby making the organization stronger and more autonomous.
•    Rest, rejuvenation and reflection time for the Program Director who, for all intents and purposes has not had a break for focused creative endeavors for the past 7 years.

Minding the Store at Smartshop During the Residency: Even though I would be physically absent, I will continue to perform my duties as Program Director for SmartShop  (15 hours per week) for grant research, writing, and development, as well as organizational and programmatic planning and writing. I will also be available via phone and email for communications and planning with community partners, scheduling, problem solving and staff assistance. Attached you will find a breakdown of staff costs associated with absence. Operations manager Pamela Gallina, Part Time Instructor, Jon Reeves, Administrative Support (Special Operations) Lisa Verwys, Book Keeper Lisa Colgren and Shop Manager / Lead Intern Kara Oberg have enthusiastically expressed support for the project and feel confident in their ability to manage shop and gallery operations in my absence. I too, feel confident in their abilities.
Why a Residency? This residency opportunity is similar to practice in the field of education for scholars and college professors who need time off to complete research projects, to revamp course curriculums, to reflect and re-energize. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports that 66 percent of employers in the educational community offer paid professional leave.  But the term is not reserved for academics alone.  Many corporations use professional leave as a way to recognize exemplary employees especially when increased compensation increases are not practical.

In the article The Key to Sharpening our Professional skills as Educators, Scientists, and Clinicians , the authors cite a passage that sums it up nicely,  "If your ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed; but skill will bring us success". 

  Sabbaticals: The Key to Sharpening our Professional Skills as Educators, Scientists, and Clinicians
Gayle A. Brazeau, PhDab and Jeanne Hawkins Van Tyle, PharmD, MSc
aAssociate Editor, American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education
bSchool of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University at Buffalo
cCollege of Pharmacy, Butler University