Falling forward into autumn

As many of you may know, I’ve reluctantly left the American Visionary Art Museum, after quite a few successes, including the community mosaic project and my piece being on exhibit in the 2008-2009 show, Art, Science, and Philosophy. I had a great run with an amazing organization, but I’ve moved on to another of Baltimore’s architectural treasures (two, to be precise), managing the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower and the School 33 Art Center. The Tower, where I have my office, is a fifteen-story clock tower that now houses high-end studio space for local artists (if you’re looking for a space, please contact me via the web site). I oversee leasing, maintenance, upgrades, and other aspects of keeping these two facilities running at full tilt, and, a month into the job, it’s a great place to work.

The Tower hosts an open studio day once each month, when the building opens to the public to share the studios and work of our artists with the rest of the community. The next open studio will take place from 1-5 p.m. on Saturday, October 17th, 2009, at 21 S. Eutaw Street, Baltimore MD 21201, as a part of the city-wide School 33 Open Studios Tour. I hope to see some of you there, and encourage you to come meet our artists and go for a ride on our 1911 manually-operated Otis elevator. For a whirlwind look at where I work, take a look at the video.

Hope I didn’t make you dizzy just then. Sadly, I can’t show you the clock room or the rooftop in person, owing to legal issues, but man, oh man, it’s neat up there in the secret parts of the Tower.

The change in my working schedule has also had the effect of allowing me to resume my extracurricular activities, like my podcasts, my performance work, and my writing, which means I’ll be posting a lot more work here in the coming year. I’m particularly happy to have resumed the production of my ambient/deep listening music podcast, 12 Minute Travelogues, this month, and will be updating it monthly in October through January to complete the twelve-part series. I’m also working on getting my other podcast, Last Night I Dreamed I Was You, which highlights odd little stories with original music. The stories will be a little shorter than the first experimental episodes, but with thematic threads connecting multiple episodes into larger narratives. Look for the first new episode sometime towards the end of September.

Work on Scaggsville is slowly resuming, as I undo a few overly-ambitious and misguided edits, with the aim of having a version of the book in print (the sonatext limited micro-edition) before the end of the year. Mind you, I’ve been hoping to hit the end of the year for a few years, so don’t count on the deadlines. It’ll be good, though, I promise.

That’s about it for now, and thanks for visiting the site!

Love, your pal,

Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose, sorta

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.

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,