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How to not be an ASS about politics on social media

Hello. It’s your lovely British-American friend here. I never post about politics. I rarely talk about politics (though my husband does – usually enough for both of us and then some). This will probably be my one and only vaguely political post, and hopefully it won’t lose me too many friends.

I voted this morning. It was my first US presidential election, and I think you’ll agree that it was a pretty shitty one. I’m not going to tell you who I voted for. I’m a strong believer in the idea that you never ask anyone about their politics, religion, or salary. If you want to disclose your beliefs that’s absolutely fine with me, but I’m not going to. I am, however, going to provide some general tips about how to behave during election season (which currently seems to last about 400 years):

  1. If you are passionate about the candidate you will be voting for and feel the need to share, then by all means DO tell me (and the internet) who you voted for and why. I am interested to hear your honest and personal reasons. However,
  2. DO NOT belittle, ridicule, shame, harass, or otherwise act in a hostile manner to those who are voting for someone different. There are intelligent people whom I respect on all sides of the current political debate – trust me, there are (if you don’t believe that, then you are part of the problem). You will immediately lose my respect if you act like everyone with a different opinion than you is stupid. I am seeing a lot of this on both sides. Stop it.
  3. DO NOT assume that you know who I am voting for based on external factors (I work in the arts, I am a woman, I am from England, I am a parent, etc., etc.). One of the many reasons I was happy to leave Baltimore/DC is because I was sick of the constant political conversation and especially the arrogant attitude that everyone in the room feels the same way. This is probably my single greatest pet peeve about politics in general. Unless I have told you my opinion about something, do not assume that you know it.
  4. If you are passionately encouraging others to vote, even to the extent that you are offering to pay to get people to the polls, then DO think carefully about that. Will you still pay that person’s taxi fare to the polling station if they are voting for the other candidate? Will you still yell and scream about how it is my patriotic duty to vote and that I’m truly a horrible person if I decide not to if I am in favor of the other person? Really? If yes, then go you. You’re a pretty awesome person.
  5. And finally, it would probably be best if you DO NOT write a blog post telling other people how to behave. Oops.

America is awesome. I chose to become an American two years ago and regardless of who wins today, I DO NOT regret that decision. Let’s all just practice a bit more tolerance, respect, and humility.

Take a moment. Breathe.

Georgina xoxo

boots

 

Pondering Curation

Part of my year-old job at the Idaho Falls Arts Council is to plan, curate, and install 8-10 visual art exhibitions every year in two galleries at the Willard Arts Center.

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The Willard Arts Center, Idaho Falls

I was a little intimidated by this at first. Curators at the Smithsonian Institution typically have PhDs, are required to regularly publish scholarly articles and books, and take their work very seriously. I wasn’t 100% sure I was qualified to “curate” (albeit on a much, much smaller scale), and I’ve never been great at being intellectual, academic, or even serious about art.

However, it quickly became the best aspect of my job. I enjoy finding artists and planning exhibitions. I LOVE seeing new works in person for the first time and deciding where they should go in the gallery. I’m less fond of patching/painting, unpacking, hanging, and lighting, but the end result typically makes up for the hours of physical labor. I still don’t know if I’m doing it correctly though. I select artists because I like their work.

I might like something because it displays craftsmanship in a particular medium or an unusual approach to subject or technique. I might just like it because it’s pretty, which I’m sure is a giant sin in the world of real curators. I’m a big fan of visible, expressive brushstrokes in painting and I love scenes of wilderness, particularly mountains. I put artworks next to other artworks because the subjects are similar or the colors complement each other. Sometimes I put works together because they contrast one another, such as a panoramic photograph of mountains next to an expressive painting of a dancer.

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6th Annual National Juried Exhibition

Most of all, I don’t worry about it. I play with the artworks until they work together to me and then I hang them and call it done. Some artists who have come in to help with the installation of their work have been surprised at my laid-back approach to curation. Am I doing it wrong? I don’t know. Fortunately, unlike the curators at the Smithsonian, I do not have to worry about a major art critic tearing apart my choices. I’ve had artists in group shows unhappy with where I placed their work, but I think that is unavoidable when each gallery boasts prime locations as well as less favorable corners that all need to be filled. At the end of the day, I enjoy the opportunity to highlight the kind of artwork that I think should be highlighted, and that’s what I think being a curator in this kind of setting is all about.

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Haunting Views: Photographs and Multimedia by Eric Demattos and Ariel LaFontaine

2014 – A year of change

Facebook has been prompting me to show my “Year in Review” all week, which is a fun but mostly clueless app. The automatically-generated version managed to notice that I got pregnant (well done, Facebook), but failed to include anything about changing jobs, buying a new house, or MOVING TO IDAHO. It is possible to customize the display, but not in a particularly easy or intuitive way (it lets you select moments from all of your posted photos, but does not help you figure out which photos were from which month). I like the opportunity to look back over the past year and ponder everything that has happened, and the end of December is the perfect time to do that. It’s always possible to find achievements and milestones to be proud of, but there’s no doubt that 2014 has been a particularly momentous one for us. So here it is, my year in review, thank you for being a part of it. :-)

In January, I said goodbye to the people and places of Baltimore and D.C., loaded up an RV with belongings and cats, and made the 2,200 mile move to Idaho.

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In February, I started work at the Idaho Falls Arts Council and generally freaked out about being completely clueless in this new role. I also started painting again.

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March through June, I settled into the job and the house. I discovered the awesomeness of baby goats and started to paint them. We participated in a real life cattle branding in Mackay. We visited Yellowstone on opening weekend and began to explore Idaho’s wilderness areas. Christian’s parents came to visit. I grew more strawberries than anyone could ever possibly need. We went horse riding at Diamond P Ranch in West Yellowstone.

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In July, I discovered I was pregnant. Still in shock about that.

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In August, we opened ARTitorium on Broadway. A big deal for me and the Idaho Falls Arts Council, and the culmination of a great deal of hard work.

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September through December I got somewhat used to the idea of being pregnant. We visited Baltimore for Christian’s sister’s wedding and remembered why we left. We went to a barn dance. I flew to England for Christmas. We started preparing for the arrival of Babylander.

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It’s been an amazing, tumultuous, scary, exciting, dramatic year. I began 2014 in a different state – geographically, physically, and emotionally, and can only imagine how different things will be a year from now after we add a third person to our weird and wonderful family. Here’s to a good one – please have a drink for me to toast the New Year since I cannot.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!