Artist Talk at Arcadia - Do it Yourself: Art, Life and Creating Opportunities / by Colin Keefe

Andi and I had an opportunity this week to talk at Arcadia University.  We talked about our art practices, the gallery we run (Mount Airy Contemporary), our family and day jobs, and how all of that gets balanced and mixed in our daily life.  We also spent a lot of time talking about DIY culture - how artist-run spaces operate, what kind of opportunities there are in Philly, regionally and nationally, and did a shout out to the 40+ artist-run efforts in the Philly area.

It was a ton of fun and the students were very gracious (no hurled tomatoes!).

I don't teach in my day job (a lot of artists do) so I'm not often among 20 year olds still trying to figure out who they are, much less what their plans might be.  I ended up reflecting on how things were when I was their age, in a much less interconnected world.  How I spent my first year out of school in St. Louis working as a carpenter for a theater company; how I moved in with my dad for a year in Boston, and had a studio on Harrison street.  I especially recalled how confusing, lonely and tentative life was as a 21 year old.

One of the students invited me to come visit their AUhaus design group after, which turned out to be a student roundtable discussion held weekly.  That was tremendous fun, and made me wonder what my life would have been like had I gone into teaching instead of carpentry (and later technology) for my day job.