Sunday, April 08, 2007

Challenging Venus

For the past 4 years (ever since I moved to St. Louis) I have been juried into Venus Envy . The 1st time I entered I had no idea what I was getting in to. We had just moved here from San Francisco, I saw the call for art and it sounded fun. If you have looked at the VE website, you might have gathered the show attracts really progressive art, all made from women. Many local artists use this show as a chance to "push the envelope" a bit and challenge viewers. Me? Well, call me shallow (ok, that's enough) but I try to make work that is fun - for instance, this piece will be in the show along with 21 of my other brand new works.
To give you a little background, Venus Envy is a non-profit organization. The show location changes each year. The group relies on donated properties - typically it's a building set for re-hab or demolition so the owner allows VE to adapt the space however they wish. Free of charge. The artists and a huge team of volunteers do tons of cleaning and painting to make the space fit for the show. Stages and a bar are built, lights hung, walls installed. You get the drift, it's a B-I-G deal. This year, I happened to volunteer to help the entertainment acts, so I haven't done much cleaning however, in past years I have done things like scrub toilets, vacuum floors or clean up trash.
In addition, the artists hang their own art and also attend all three nights of the event, that being the Preview Party on Thurs. and the actual show on Friday and Saturday. We are given a certain # of linear feet to install our exhibit according to the "proposal" that was accepted into the show.
Saturday was installation. We were expecting brick walls so John was armed with his drill and masonry bits. Rhonda brought her Pro-Panel walls, enough for both of us, in the event we didn't have good hanging area. Turned out we used the Pro-Panels, which was probably good since there was no electricity to operate our drill. Of course we did not expect that. Nor did we expect it to be 23 degrees in the unheated building that also has no plumbing. We froze our butts off doing the installation. I have never been so cold in my entire life. I am talking about the kind of cold that sets into your bones and you simply cannot shake it off even hours after you are back in a heated space. And dirty, did I mention it was dirty?
I have complete faith that it will all be fine by Thurs. but right now it's hard to imagine how that is going to occur. Every single year I have serious doubts that the show will come off as planned but it somehow works out and is attended by thousands of people. It will be fine this year too - the power of women is simply amazing. I just need to keep telling myself this. And possibly re-consider my wardrobe to include some fleece....


  1. I'm sure all the hard work will be worth it and the show will be a SMASH! Shari

  2. Love the new piece, MB. But, oh! So sorry to hear about freezing your ever loving butt off. Hopefully, Spring will have resprung by Thursday. Can't wait to hear more. Be sure & take plenty of pics.

  3. Wishing I was there to attend....what fun !!!!


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