Monday, May 28, 2012

Star Gazing II in the Desert

Stargazing events may become a signature event  at the Desert Museum. The energy developments being built near the museum might effect this, but right now we have pretty dark skys around the museum. On Thursday we hosted the El Centro Rotary Mystery Event. 60 Rotarians got on a bus and drove out to the museum, unbeknownest to them, for a Star Gazing Party and dinner.

On Saturday the museum held its second Star Party for the general public. The IV Press article on Sunday said that 70 people had come out, but the last count taken was 118 people. With the new art exhibit up and more of the building open, the flow of people at this event was much better than last January. There was plenty to do and see. The stars were the best just about the time the event was over and most of the people had left. But we had a few guests who were at the museum from 5:00pm until 10:30pm. That seems extreme, but I would bet those people had the best time.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Exploring our Desert Culture Grant

The final report for the Exploring Our Desert Culture: Ceramic Art Program, a grant from the Imperial Valley Community Foundation Youth Grants Program, was written this week. The grant was to complete a coiled clay art pilot program. The outcomes listed in the grant included having 57 youth participate in coiled clay programs with the museum this year. This included the summer program in Ocotillo and working with one classroom at Southwest High School. The pilot program, however, has achieved outcomes far in excess of what was anticipated.

There were 433 documented participants in the coiled clay pilot program that the museum ran this past year. Of these, 243 were youth aged 14-22, the target audience of the grant. The museum anticipated that the program would be successful with high school art students. It was unexpected how well received the program was for younger children and adults. This is especially true for adults who participated with their children during the summer program in Ocotillo.

The Ceramic Art Youth Program at the Museum will begin again on Tuesday June 5th and will run every Tuesday and Friday until the end of August.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Partnerships are Everything

Sustainable partnerships are everything. The Desert Museum and the Colorado Desert Archaeology Society are partnering for several volunteer days to give a big boost to the re-curation of our archaeology colleciton. Affiliated with the Colorado Desert District California State Parks, the Colorado Desert Archaeology Society normally provides volunteer curation services to Anzo-Borrego State Park. They understand the research potential of our collection and its value as a complemetary collection to the artifacts housed at the curation facility at Anzo-Borrego, and are now also providing curation volunteers to help us with our Collections Inventory.

Twice a month they will drive from all around Southern California to help us curate in Ocotillo. Today, we had 8 volunteers who curated over 600 artifacts. Some people drove two hours to arrive this morning. They are a wonderful group to work with and we are so grateful for their help as we work to care for the collections.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Supporting the Arts: Madrecita - Arte en Miniatura

Our curation staff cut the ribbon at this Friday's opening of 'Madrecita: Arte en Miniatura' at Selene Nevarez Estrada's gallery in Mexicali. Bernardo Olmedo, who organized the museum's recently opened 'Every Day is Earth Day', was one of the organizers of the miniature's exhibit. The exhibition allows people to get up close and personal with the pieces. There were many that enticed the viewer with minute details, compelling a closer look and an intimate study of the work.

Friday, May 11, 2012

May is Curation Month

May is Curation Month at the Museum. Volunteer curation days will be held three days a week.

Thursday 10-3pm
Friday 10-3pm
Saturday 10-3pm (Saturday Ceramic Art program by appointment only for the month of May.)

During all public hours during May the curation lab will be open to volunteer curation. We estimate the inventory process is one-third complete and as the weather warms up are encouraging anyone aged 12 or older to come help us preserve this special part of Imperial Valley history.

Friday, May 4, 2012

First Exhibit Opening: Every Day is Earth Day

The first exhibit at the Museum officially opened on May 2nd. The exhibit, entitled Every Day is Earth Day allows us to see the world through the eyes of seven members of the IVC Arts Faculty.  We marked the occasion with a celebration of art and film that continued all evening.

Earlier in the month, we held a preview of the event for the Friends of the Museum, a support group of members who have made a commitment to support the museum with a gift of $500 every year for the next five years. Lauryl Driscoll, who attended both events, commented that her parents had worked for more than 30 years to see this museum get built, "and it is great to see it finally happen." 

The museum has had a long history with IVC and it is great that the first exhibit gets to be the work of professors. “I like the idea of having a new cultural institution that will support the arts,” said Bernardo Olmedo, who was instrumental in organizing the exhibit. Carol Hegarty, the Head of the Humanities Department at IVC, agreed, “It takes everyone working together in a community for local arts to be successful. It is not about competition, it is about partnership.”

The evening continued with a screening from the Sundance Institute's Film Forward program. Organized through the Film Commissioners office, the Film Forward program brought two independent films to the Imperial Valley with the film directors. Here at the Museum, we screened Bran Nue Dae an Aboriginal Australian film. The film has been viewed over 8 million times in Australia, a country with a population of just 2 million. Many attendees commented that the film was funnier than they thought it would be and the director, Rachel Perkins, explained that this film is one of only 3 Aboriginal comedies - and she has produced two of them. Usually, she said, films about Aboriginal people are somber and serious and she deliberately made a film that people could see themselves reflected in and laugh.

The night overall stimulated conversation on the commonalities and differences between cultures, cultural expression through art, and the charming grace of passionate communities. 

Ceramic Art @ Children's Fair

We served 200 youth at the El Centro's Children's Fair this weekend doing our Ceramic Art Youth Program, sponsored by the Ocotillo Optimists. It was a good opportunity to get the word out on what we are doing today at the museum. The booth was busy non-stop from the moment the fair opened. Our board of directors helped man the morning hours while Kohls came through at the last minute for us to help during the afternoon. Without their help we would have had two volunteers surrounded by hundreds of coiled clay eager children... and their parents. Everyone likes to join in this family activity.