Phase II of the Outreach
On Sunday the teams split up: musicians and dancers to begin a tour throughout Hungary, and the visual artists staying put in Baja to see what we can do about intersecting with the local art scene. The local workers also want us to produce an exhibit by next Friday...oy...And Chuck wants a kiln.
So, after cheering our dancers and musicians off, we divided to conquer, setting out to explore Baja while also building into the lives of the young people we had connected with the previous week.
Who were Baja's artists, past and present? Where are the museums and cultural centers? We have been to the art supply store almost every day, earning free candy and gifts from the workers there, asking them about local artists. We visited the gallery in the town center and spent some time with the gallery owner, who seemed more interested in selling us art than in engaging with us as artists. And we find the museum dedicated to Nagy Istvan, who I’ll write about later.
No one has any idea where a kiln might be found, except at the art school, which we are disappointed to learn is closed for summer. We hope we can at least meet some of its professors. And to our great surprise and delight, Arnold informs us on our last full day in Baja that about a dozen art professors want to meet us; seems word has gotten out about our presence here, and one called the other, and well, at 4:00 one Friday afternoon, we were sitting in Arnold’s garden with about a dozen Hungarian artists. Marcia the art teacher spends time engaging one of the little boys with clay; the rest of us show off our sketchbooks and the artwork we’ve produced during the week. (It is also the first time we’re seeing each other’s work, busy beavers that we’ve been!)
A gallery exhibit morphed within minutes into a very informal gathering in Arnold's garden, artist to artist, learning more about Hungarian art, sharing artwork, telling our stories. A mutual exhibit next year is proposed, and yes, they have a kiln. So next year....!
Ah the possibilities...