This guest post is written by no guest at all but longtime director of the Artists-in-Residence Program, Alix Refshauge.
Over the past 5 years HUB-BUB has brought 20 talented and unique emerging young artists and writers from across the country to live in the Hub City. I had the great honor of working with 16 of those fine individuals and it would be a big fat lie if I told you the experience was anything less than life-changingly awesome. Needless to say, I’m thrilled to be back in town and excited for the weekend’s planned (and unplanned) activities.
The idea for the 5-Year Reunion hit us last summer as a great way to stay connected with the AiRs and to get as many of them together in the same room as possible. There are still some alum who have never met each other and only know the legendary stories that go along with each class. Fall came and went and, while we’d sent the idea to the artists and talked about it in the office, no formal plans had been made for any kind of reunion. As you may have noticed, our falls get rather busy. My departure date was fast approaching and the idea felt as if it were almost lost. It would have been too bad for many reasons, one of which is the new Hub City book which Corinne worked on all year: Apartment D. The book is a collection of work by the first 5 writers-in-residence and will be featured during this weekend’s events.
I remember sitting in the office with Stephen one afternoon in January looking at the gallery schedule for the upcoming months. He mentioned that he thought we should still try and get all the AiRs together for an exhibit and asked if I would be willing to help coordinate it from California. Maybe he caught me at an emotional time because it sounded like the best idea in the whole wide world. It meant helping HUB-BUB with another cool event, staying plugged into the residency program, and having an excuse to come back to town for a visit. Sign me up!
We got to California in late February and by early March enough boxes had been unpacked so that I could sit at the computer screen and get some work done. AiR correspondence began. It’s been a fun three months of countless e-mails and Facebook banter with AiRs and regular Skype calls to the HUB-BUB office. Thanks to the Warhol Foundation, HUB-BUB was able to offer each AiR a small stipend to reimburse a portion of their travel or shipping fees for their artwork. The HUB-BUB community has opened up their houses so AiRs have homes to stay in this weekend. We were hoping to bat a 1,000 for attendance but 13 out of 20 isn’t bad at all. We’ll miss the 7 who can’t make it of course – my vote is we celebrate a litter harder in their honor and hope they can come back for the 10-Year.
Let’s not forget that the 5-Year AiR Reunion also marks HUB-BUB’s 5th year in the building. I’d love to know how many cool events have taken place in the Showroom during that time and also to celebrate a space that has brought so many friends together, has worked hard to make the arts accessible to everybody, and has been a positive force in revitalizing downtown.
My expectations for the weekend: to reconnect with old friends, to hear some good stories, and to celebrate the lovely people who spent 11 months making art in our community and the good work they continue to do in the places they are now. I hope to see you there!