Another of my job with Saratoga Arts is to help with the annual 10×10 exhibition! This year we received over 600 pieces from over 300 local artists. My job is to assist on receiving the art work, cataloging the art work, installing art work (the making sale of the art work and curating work from the kids’ summer camp (which grow every week).
Cataloging over 600 pieces is not an easy task to do. We need to figure out ways to organizing all different types of artists’ information, their price and the medium they used for their piece. We will let the artists fill in two small sheets of information. One of the tag was on the back of their piece and we gather the other same tag for cataloging. We assigned each tag a number and while we are cataloging, we put the number in the excel form. The number went from 1 to 677. And I need to make sure that in the excel form the number is lined up in sequence, so everything won’t mess up.
This exhibition is very community-engaged. Everyone could submit up to three pieces. The piece must be 10×10. If it is sculpture, it must fit in a cube of 10x10x10. There is no selection process of this exhibition, which means everyone who submit their pieces (if it could fit into the general rule of 10×10) will be accepted. I witnessed all kinds of people who are connected with art in various ways during the submission process. There are professional regional artists, new emerging artists who are on their way of building professional careers, people who make art just for fun, seniors, kids… The works also feature a wide range of diversity: from paintings, drawings, multimedia to sculpture and photography. The topics are diverse also, from pop art, to realistic paintings and to abstract patterns; from animals, vegetables to landscapes. The show shows the diversity of Saratoga community and also people’s strong passion on arts.
Since most people are not professional artists, the way the exhibition is curated is different from a museum or gallery setting. A lot of my work is about people and communication. Due to the large amount of submissions, it’s hard to make sure that everyone follows the rule. Frequently, there are people whose pieces are larger than 10×10 but still wish to submit. Then it’s a time to figure out how flexible the rule could be. If it is just a little be larger, then we will probably just accept it. But if it is too large (eg: 12×12), then we need to figure out a way for them to adjust their piece, usually by recommending them the place they could buy a smaller frame or just accept their pieces without the frame. If they need more time to figure out how to make adjustment, we need to be flexible on the deadline also.
As I am organizing the tags, one of the biggest challenges is to read people’s handwritings. Again, because it is not a professional museum exhibition, not everyone has their input information printed. As someone who learned English as a second language, I’m not familiar with different ways people write certain letters and not very good at guessing some last names and first names, so I have to ask my co-workers a lot. But gradually, I became really good at that.
AS someone who is a big fun of Saratoga Arts’ 10×10 exhibition, I’m glad that I got the opportunity to do some behind the scene work. Before I just feel that it’s amazing for Saratoga Arts to make art accessible to everyone, but now I understand the hard work behind it.