An art exhibition and reception like EAT ART are best when planning is begun early and allowed awhile to simmer, so all the flavors come together and mature. This one’s been in the making since back in the days when my 22-year old 4-Runner starts to act out her advanced age, and I find myself without transportation on and off.
I call Josie and ask to hitch a ride to an afternoon party at Ann Leach’s house in Joplin. “Sure,” Josie responds, “but I’m going to pick up a friend first, and then we’ll stop at Spiva. I’m moderating a talk by a guest artist. We’ll probably be late to the party.” What fun!
Fun is a centerpiece of Josie’s life. Her joie de vivre is effervescent. You decide you can do whatever your heart is putting you up to, when you spend time with Josie. I never seem to get enough of being in her presence.
We both have très full days as we do our twin spins at our respective non-profit art centers. Josie’s spinning as the Executive Director of Spiva in Joplin. And me? I’m spinning as the Director-Curator of artCentral in Carthage. Thank goodness distance for a drop in isn’t a deterrent when time allows. Josie lives just down the street from Hyde House!
Josie’s home is like Josie—“old soul” and sparkling new, too. Both have history. Both are bright and eclectic. Both vibrate with edge. I love ‘em! I want to party with Josie every chance I get, even if I have to chase her around the block. That’s what I did a few years ago. I saw her solo exhibit at Spiva (long before she assumed her Spiva directorship), and I thought, “I want some of this!”
That show was an early version of the journey Josie’s art continues on our Hyde House walls today. Bottom line: Josie journals her heart’s meanderings, blows them up big and bold for all to see and makes them into art. What you see is always something that reminds you of yourself and the arc of your own journey, whether you’re finding your place in your community or your loves in life or your relationship with food.
Josie’s current place-finding meanderings and musings are artfully food-food-food-centric. In her words, “Food is loaded with design components. Color, texture, endless shapes and forms create a composition on a plate or platter. And bonus! This is art we all can eat and share. I am truly obsessed. Maybe for the first time ever. Planning, researching, buying ingredients, laying it all out (this even has a term ‘mise en place’), prepping ingredients, assembling, tasting, seasoning, cooking, waiting and then eating, usually with a loved one.”
“The thing that excites me most about food as art,” continues Josie, “is that the possibilities are endless. I know I will never learn everything about every dish, and that even if I make the same recipe ten times it will be different each time, depending on my mood, the season, the ingredients, and with whom I share the meal. And heck! We all have to eat. A few times every day. Why not make it art? And make it delicious!”
If you’re not yet hooked on showing up for EAT ART’s opening reception (Friday, April 6, 2018, 6:00-8:00 p.m.), check in with my Art Notes next week. I’ll give you a lot more juicy, mouth-watering EAT ART tidbits that will make you want to practice a little “mise en place” (MEEZ ahn plahs) of your own.
“Mise en place” is the French term for the exquisite ordering of items practiced by a skilled chef to assemble a meal quickly and effortlessly. You’re going to want to reach for your calendar, get all your to-do’s in order and pick your just right time to enjoy EAT ART during artCentral’s weekend gallery hours, April 6 through May 20: Friday and Saturdays, noon to 5:00 p.m. and Sundays, 1:00-5:00 p.m., or by appointment at (417) 358-4404.
Chopsticks, if you want them, are on us!