Sometimes the idea of something seems so big, the odds of it happening don’t look promising.Read More
An artist that I talk about in It's Never Going to Work several times became a very dear friend of mine over the years: Sue Christensen!
Setting: Minneapolis, MN — August 2006
We tidied up after the Guerrilla Art exhibit opening and sat around for awhile talking. Roger Lootine was one of the featured artists, displaying zines and artwork from his cheeky and politically savvy Residue Comics series. Eventually it was me and Roger left, and we decided to continue our conversation about politics and art on the rooftop adjacent to the gallery. We headed to the back storage room, dusted the rust off the handle, opened the window, and climbed out to our roof.
“You get a decent view of the Northrup King Building from here,” I said. “The grain factory too, or whatever that is. All I know is that sometimes in the winter, it totally smells like cereal!”
“Does that go to the other roof?” he asked, pointing up.
“Yeah, but I haven’t been up there. The reliability of that ladder freaks me out a little.”
“C’mon, let’s go!” he said cheerfully. (My friends are far more fearless than I am.)
And so we climbed, me much more cautiously.
“If you keep three points on at all times you’ll be way more secure as you work your way up,” he advised, quite correctly. And just like that, little by little, I found my way up the ladder all the way to the next rooftop and over once again. A killer view of downtown, a killer view of Northeast, and a kindred spirit to share it with. It doesn’t get much better.
Every so often, less often now than before, I get an email from a stranger asking to meet for coffee. To talk about how to start a nonprofit or how to open a gallery. I’d like to say I’ve always been generous with my time, but there was definitely a period when I shied away from meetings in general. Especially in the early years, there simply wasn’t enough of me to go around. I wanted deep down to be more open with my time, and I’m the kind of person that likes being busy, but the impact of saying yes to everything is not sustainable.
A few years later I took up bouldering and rock climbing, through which I learned even more about balancing. Even when you’re strapped in with a reliable belayer to help secure you, there’s always the hope you don’t fall. So you make sure your footing is steady and your grip is strong before you make the next move up the rock face. And sometimes it isn’t up — it’s sideways or even down and back up another way. Regardless of whether you’re working your way up, down, or over, balance is key if you want to make it out intact.
It has taken me years to learn how to do this with any small semblance of grace. It’s learning to say no politely, while still being as helpful as possible. It’s learning to know myself and keep open windows to fit folks in for meetings since that’s something I value. It’s learning to take time for myself and my family unapologetically, and being supportive when others do the same. It’s making sure my footing is sure and my balance is stable before I take the next step, much less help somebody else with taking theirs.
The best part of the gallery wasn’t always the exhibitions themselves: it was the edges, the after, the in-between spaces where I was able to connect with artists and colleagues like Roger. One of the most important lessons I learned from them was to not only check my footing, but also to trust myself.
Note to self: call Roger, say hi.
Cover design and spot illustrations by artist Athena Currier
I’ve got some exciting news that I’m proud to share. This October I will be releasing my very first book!
Three years in the making, It’s Never Going To Work is a part-memoir, part nonprofit tale that highlights the Northeast Arts community, nonprofits, and Altered Esthetics gallery.
The book offers real-life insights on founding a collaborative art space, and provides support to those engaged in, and struggling with, grassroots development. It’s written vignette-style, and the short chapters feature illustrations by my dear friend, another Minneapolis-based artist: Athena Currier. The effort is as much a love letter to Minneapolis as it is a compendium of encouragement to anyone like me that’s ever been told: It’s Never Going to Work.
There will be an opening in Minneapolis at Eat My Words bookstore on October 9th at 7pm (It's Never Going To Work - Release Party) - with more events and signings to be announced in the works including a few in California in December!
The book page can be found at: https://www.jamie-schumacher.com/its-never-going-to-work/ Also - I’m going to start a mailing list specifically for my writing and art activity. If you’d like to stay updated beyond this email about once a month, please sign up at: https://goo.gl/forms/8PBaXdbuOstNuTmW2
Thanks for your support and encouragement!
We arrived back from the Nuwara Eliya region late in the evening. The remaining few days of our trip would be spent with family and friends.Read More
One of our last excursions was to Horton Plains National Park - a world heritage site in the central highlands of Sri Lanka. We visited "World's End" - a sheer precipice with a ~3,000 foot drop!Read More
One of the best parts of our trip was exploring a little bit more of the family staple: tea!Read More
Ramboda Falls - the 11th highest waterfall in Sri Lanka and 729th highest waterfall in the world.Read More
Gratuitous flower and orchid photos await you...Read More
The Pinnawala elephant orphanage provides a safe home to elephants who would otherwise not survive in the wild.Read More
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One of the best parts about visiting the Dutch Burgher Union was the discovery of an Art Gallery in the facility - and a list of featured artists that have shown there over the years.Read More
After meandering our way down the coastline, we finally found ourselves at Galle Fort.Read More
While I wasn't much of a jewelry person before, I will say that watching gems being mined makes me think even more about what I'm purchasing and how it is produced.Read More
This is just too much fun.Read More
Tonight I made more ice cream out of what I thought would be awesome. And it was. Here's the recipe.Read More
On the way to Galle Fort, there is a temple that sits just off the shoreline.Read More
I was determined to dig a little deeper into the Mask-Making aspect of Sri Lankan culture.Read More
On our way to Galle Fort we stopped at the Hikkaduwa Turtle Hatchery.Read More
One of my favorite stops, without question, was Polonnaruwa. A UNESCO World Heritage location, you can spend days in this site without seeing everything.Read More