Scout Dunbar - In The Ring

So excited that my friend Scout Dunbar has another exhibit up in her hometown of Ithaca! If you're around the Gorges land through May 5-27th, be sure to stop by The Ink Shop to check out her new show "In The Ring" (as well as another exhibit by the equally talented Skye Schirmer, "Blinded by Truisms").

The opening reception is May 5th from 5-8pm at the Ink Shop Studio Gallery, so be sure to stop by to chat with Scout and get a look at all her new work!



Another great show to keep an eye on (featuring my friend Scout Dunbar, as well as Anna Buckner, Sarah Harrison, Na Chainkua Reindorf and Theo Willis) if you're around Ithaca between February 27th and March 3rd. Hosted by the Experimental Gallery at Cornell University, it looks to be a really great show featuring many talented artists.


A debate...

I've been debating writing this for a while now. As I've mentioned in an earlier post, I've been working under the assumption that 2016 was a year of change for me. It has to be said that not all changes are good, no matter how much you believe they are when they happen.

And that left me with the question - when is the best time to realize that a change for the better is actually for the worse? What happens when you needed a change to happen regardless - does it really matter if the first door that opens leads you into a burning room rather than where you want to be?

In this case, I decided I still needed a change, if only because every experience is exactly that: an experience. I've always been taught that there are lessons that can be learned regardless of your situation, so if it means I'm in a room on fire, I've had enough experience to figure my way out of it.

So maybe in the end I was wrong - maybe 2016 was just another chain of experiences leading to the changes I actually needed to make 2017 the year for me. Only time will tell.


fifteen years.

In the last week, I've had several conversations regarding where I was/what I was doing on September 11, 2001. And in the fifteen years since it happened I've had that conversation multiple times, and I don't think I've ever met anyone without an answer. Everyone has a story, whether it's their own or someone else's - especially in New Jersey, where there's always someone who knows someone who knows someone. And with social media these days, this is a day where it's become harder for the rules of six degrees of separation to not become more and more prevalent as time goes on.

As I was sitting watching the roll call at the Memorial this morning on TV, sobbing into my cup of coffee (fully aware that my grief over the events of the past year were now being wrapped up in the grief of those reading the names of the victims), my mom looked at me and said, "this is what you looked like fifteen years ago".

Fifteen years ago, our school district made the decision that only the high school students were to be made aware of the attacks - leaving the elementary and middle school students unaware of what was happening. It might have worked too, if it hadn't been for a librarian at the middle school turning on the tv in a library full of students - at the exact moment the second plane flew into the Towers. In hindsight, I'm still not sure if I agree with that decision; Parsippany is so close to the city that by the end of the day, the number of students who had been pulled out of school during the day was definitely noticeable by everyone who wasn't.

The rest of the day, rumors ran rampant. Everyone knew someone who had been in the library when the tv went on, and everyone was telling stories about how the principal had come in and told them not to tell anyone else about what they saw. But this was middle school, during the first full week of school - by lunch time, everyone was talking about how stupid you would have to be to not see the Twin Towers in your way while you were flying through New York City.

When I made my way home on the bus, I remember it being weirdly quiet - and I couldn't figure out why. It took me the walk up my driveway to realize that there were no planes flying, which was weird - my family home is directly underneath the majority of flight patterns from Morristown, Newark, and JFK. It was once I got inside that the full story was spelled out - my mom and my sister were watching the tv upstairs, with my sister, who was a freshman in high school at the time, saying to me as I came in, "Have you heard?" in that older sibling, I-know-something-you-don't-know-voice. When I saw the footage of the second tower falling, I burst into tears - bringing us back to this morning's cup of coffee.

My mom had called my dad by then - he was down in Florida for a business conference and was trying to rent a car to get back to New Jersey. Everytime I think about that week now, I realize how lucky we were - his flight had left only two days earlier. I even remember going to the airport with him. I don't know what we would have done if he had been flying out that morning.

The stories were everywhere that week - our neighbor across the street couldn't locate her dad until the next day (he worked in Midtown, and got out on the ferry). My dad's best friend was supposed to actually be at the Towers for work, but ended up getting out of the subway right as the second plane hit. He made his way out of the city by walking - we didn't hear he was okay until nearly 10pm that night. Cell service was notoriously bad back in 2001, and the number of people who were unable to tell people they were okay was prevalent. We fielded phone calls from old friends of my parents all week, wondering if everything was alright, "seeing as we were so close".

In hindsight, I guess some of my most visceral memories aren't actually from September 11th - they're instead from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade that year. Although you knew how many people were missing or dead, it didn't really hit you until you saw the posters. There were so many pictures. So many words. Some had been updated by family members - newer photos, descriptions of what they were wearing, what jewelry they had on, the floor where they worked, the last place they had been seen. Some of them had been updated with little notes - "they made it to the 54th floor", "I saw them on the 71st floor stairwell". It was overwhelming. Thinking about it now, it still is.

My grandparents always said that they remember every moment of Pearl Harbor. It's crazy now to think that when I have children or grandchildren, I'll have those same memories to share of September 11th. The concept of living history is one that I think is the most hard to understand until it happens to you - and that's when you can't help but understand it. So as I watched the memorial today, I could understand why some people may find it surprising that some of the family members were still so emotional while reading the names. If I still have such a visceral reaction when I had no direct connection, how can you be surprised that the people who did still do?


New Work Content!

So excited to see some of my first pieces of content up over at Digital Insider on both their blog and Facebook page. I've included some links below (as well as some other content shared over at BOC Partners), and am looking forward to creating more to come.

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