Wednesday, April 5, 2017

A Blast in Baltimore

Although it was a whirlwind trip to Baltimore and the American Visionary Art Museum we are grateful for every moment. From Vollis Simpson's whimsical Whirligig to the ascending/descending turn of the mirrored wings of Andrew Logan's  Black Icarus to the spiraling energy of the dedicated staff at the AVAM we were caught in a vortex of inspiration. 

As we have written in earlier blog reports of our farm and garden—Rule #4 from Rancho Deluxe (formerly Uncle Dick's Fun Campstates: 

4. Listen to the small voices. Trust the whispers. Pay attention to what you glimpse out of the corner of your eye. It’s how you know what to do. Your furtive mind will offer many ideas that may become discounted because they are not practical, or remunerative, or, foolish in the eyes of others. Try some ideas out, they may become a signpost or a dead end but you won’t know until you act.

The old saw—the proof of the pudding is in the eating— finds the concept vitally alive at AVAM. This place is a delicious feast for the eye, heart and that most precious attribute: human imagination.

We are in awe of founder/director Rebecca Hoffberger who is visionary-in-chief of our all-time favorite museum. She does not shy away from using the museum as a place for bold statements and as a forum for inciting discussion about provocative issues. She is committed to opening the heart and embracing the creative spirit. 

Along with an extraordinary permanent collection of artworks by "outsider " artists every year the museum mounts a large thematic exhibition. This year its YUMMM! the History, Fantasy and Future of Food. To increase awareness about the problem of plastic in food our film, One Plastic Beach is included in a loop on the big screen. 

The table was set with a rainbow pile of plastic. Participants were given a plate and encouraged to make an arrangement. This was not a take-away project but Beka Plum, K-12 education coordinator, was standing by to snap a Polaroid pic. The plastic then went back into the pile for use by the next person. We knew our project was going to be a hit with the kids, but we did not expect this kind of hit. Our activity table attracted kids-of-all-ages. And talk about gourmet plating. Culinary artistry. The arrangements were fun and fanciful —how about a ham on rye with a pickle?  YUMMM!

Many of the kids had never seen a Polaroid so there were great squeals of delight as the image magically appeared.

We were honored to be invited to present our powerpoint at the Logan Visionary Conference: Food, From Crisis and Innovative Delight and to share the stage with such a remarkable group of experts:

  • Keynote speaker Seth Goldman: Co-founder & TeaEO Emeritus of Honest Tea and Executive Chairman of Beyond Meat
  • McKay Jenkins: Author of Food Fight: GMOs and the Future of the American Diet and University of Delaware Tilghman Professor of English, Journalism, and Environmental Humanities 
  • Kenneth L. Kaplan: Food futurist, senior health system advisor and co-founder of Food Systems 6
  • Deborah Mizeur: Clinical herbalist and nutritionist, and co-owner of Apotheosis Herb Farm on Maryland's Eastern Shore 
  • Ernestine Shepherd: World's oldest (most gorgeous, too!) competitive female bodybuilder and professional trainer 
  • Judy Wicks: Founder of White Dog Cafe and the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia

Big thanks to Abby Baer, conference coordinator, who kept us on time, on target, making sure everything went without a hitch.

We stretched out our art experience by making a quick stop at the National Gallery of Art in D.C. to check in on Thomas Cole's four-part allegorical series, The Voyage of Life. Over the years we have visited this painting several times to gauge where we are on the river of life. After the turbulence of 2016 with our move from the daily grind of commuting to Electric Works in San Francisco to the successful transition of the business to Richard's son and daughter-in-law to our days of retirement we find ourselves nearing the edge of smooth sailing.