Once Little League is done, we make it a point to spend our Saturdays dragging Thing1 and Thing2 to at least one art museum or event. We engage in this torture, partly because we want to expose them to some sort of culture that doesn’t come out of an iPod, but also because we love to hear the grumbling as we travel to and from the designated venue.
Today, however, we screwed up. We thought we had the rugrats where we wanted them – we promised an art opening in a country setting and even a little poetry at a show curated by Maria Wulf, a New York fiber artist and wife of author Jon Katz. The two-day event is showcasing her quilts and Jon’s photographs along with work by photographer and collage artist Kim Gifford, painter Donna Wynbrandt, Diane Swanson, and Joyce Zimmerman.
On any given Saturday surrounding the kids with fine art and holding out the promise of poetry and even a talk by one of the hosts would result in considerable push back. But the minute we stepped into the gallery/barn, they seemed to be under a spell. Colorful and popping with imagination, the paintings and collages provided plenty of eye-candy, but when Jon invited the crowd to congregate in the main barn, my husband and I realized that he and Maria were the ones casting the spell.
As a student of Jon’s at Hubbard Hall’s Writer’s Project, I (and exhibitor Kim Gifford) have had glimpses of this magic, and today, watching Maria and Jon share their lives and their art while nurturing the gifts of the other exhibitors, it created a little pocket of joy. And joy is pretty strong magic. It keeps a five-year-old listening contentedly to a poetess. It inspires people in its midst to go out and create their own magic.