I seem to have a growing fixation on landmarks and iconic structures, at least in terms of my career development. For the last three years, I’ve been working full-time at the amazing American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, which is the number one museum in the country dedicated to the art of self-taught, outsider, and visionary artists (and I’m not just saying that as a guy who’s shown art in the museum—AVAM was once again voted Best Museum by Baltimore Magazine readers). I started out in 1998 as a performer, tech guy, and otherwise useful fella, working various events at the museum, MC-ing Pet Parades, performing robot weddings, and disco-dancing in a monk’s habit for the Kinetic Sculpture Races, and was hired on full-time in 2006 as the project engineer/second-in-command for the museum’s community mosaic project (watch this site for a more detailed page soon). In 2007, at the wrap-up of the mosaic project, I was brought on as the museum’s director of maintenance, tech, and special projects, and kept the place running in spite of cranky hardware, tricky systems, and the usual bugaboos of a large institution.
It’s been an honor and a delight, working with the wonderful staff at AVAM and being a part of the museum’s mission to make art a less institutional and more personal experience for everyone, not just a privileged few. I thought I might just stay forever, and I’ll no doubt be back in my former role as a performer and consultant to the museum, but sometimes you just gotta change things up a bit to keep your senses sharp, and so I’m moving on to a new position with the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, managing two of their facilities, the School 33 Art Center and the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower.
I’ve loved School 33 since working with the artist Mars Tokyo and the installation we built for her show there, and the Bromo Seltzer Tower, of course, is the most integral and distinctive thing on the Baltimore skyline for those of us who grew up in the area. As much as I’ll miss the joyous, exuberant madness of the Visionary, I’m looking forward to exploring the possibilities and meeting the challenges of BOPA. I found a great article, complete with video, about one of the first projects I’ll be tackling there—getting the South clock face working again—starring my predecessor in the position. I’m giddy (no kidding) with anticipation at getting to work with her, all too briefly, alas, and to jump into this new world with my boots on.
I’ve been way behind with my podcasts, live performance work, and updates to this site, but I’ve been hard at work revising, rebuilding, and adding new stuff to joewall.com, and there’s even more coming, as I sort through my archives and write pages about some of my past and future projects. I’ll be adding a calendar page soon to share upcoming dates for performances and other events. The long-delayed manuscript to Scaggsville is nearing completion, too, and I’m hoping to have a micropress edition available later this year.
Wow, I’m out of breath, but it’s been a wild month around here.
Love and kisses,