I spent last weekend at the annual statewide art educators conference in Talkeetna. They had asked a number of artists to come and do some quick workshops or give presentations, and Talkeetna in September was a hard thing to say no to.
I traveled with good friend John Manthei, who gave a presentation on the “Week in the Woods” program. He is part of a group in Fairbanks working to start an organization on the folk school model – a more craft based “art” school – and the Week in the Woods has been a successful summer event here in Fairbanks for the last four years. www.weekinthewoods.org
Talkeetna also has an organization that is moving in the same direction called the Northern Susitna Institute, and they kindly let us use their newly acquired building for workshops. www.northernsusitnainstitute.org
Fairbanks painter and printmaker Bill Brody gave a talk at the conference dinner, and it is always interesting to hear Bill’s take on making art. One comment stuck with me after the weekend. Bill talked about the stupidity of working in a way that chases attention or fame – in 2,000 years no one will remember Michelangelo, let alone any of us – so we may as well pursue the things that interest and satisfy us as artists and let the rest of it happen as it happens. (Perhaps an easier task in Alaska than other places – nobody in the wider world pays attention to what we’re doing anyway, so . . . .)
Little Talkeetna was a busy place that weekend. In addition to art teachers, and a language educators conference, and a mysterious yet clearly powerful “Arctic Institute” conference – we think we saw Lisa Murkowski drive by, and I am certain she was NOT at the art teacher’s conference – these cute buggies were traveling the railway:
My understanding is that these antique rail maintenance cars are owned by private collectors who then rent time on the rail lines to drive them around. Despite their name they do not speed, with a max of about 20 MPH.
I liked the outhouse and backboard car parked in the middle.
Back at home, the final days of this lucky warm fall are coming to an end.