Jan 20, 2009

Booth Museum Day 1: Young Buckaroo

"Grazing #3" - 8" x 10" - oil

This past weekend was very exciting. I was in Georgia for the weekend to attend "The Black West" exhibit at the Booth Western Art Museum. This exhibit was the first of it's kind and turned out to be a huge success. Honestly, I didn't think that the show was going to be a big wrong was I?

The adventure started at the airport as I'm making my way to baggage claim. As I get to the top of the escalator a loud roar of applause Turns out it was for the soldiers that were a few feet in front of me. Nonetheless it was exciting to see someone holding a sign with my name on cool. It was Seth Hopkins, the executive director of the museum with Kim and Michael Godfrey (one of my art heroes). This was already exciting. Seth gave us the show catalogs and I quickly saw that I was going to stand out. It wasn't long before Michael asked the million dollar question... "How old are you?" I paused for a second and confirmed that the date of birth in the catalog was not a typo. I happen to be the youngest artist in the show by twenty years. This wasn't a problem for me but I knew that my age would come up again.

As we pulled up to the museum I was in awe. The awe factor only increased as we walked towards and into the museum. I quickly realized that this was a first class operation. After a quick lunch, we headed upstairs to see the show. WOW! It was just amazing... not just the amount of work but the quality as well. I didn't see my work immediately which worried me. Is this all a weird twisted dream? Am I going to soon find myself naked in the middle of downtown Columbus?

After the tour of the show I ran into my friend and mentor Alex Bostic. He was joined by the awesome Thomas Blackshear and Ezra Tucker. Thomas didn't waste any time..."How old are you?" I quickly went on the defensive confirming my age but he let me know that he wasn't giving me a hard time, but was impressed. I became a fly on the wall as I hung on the words of every artist in the show. It was great to be around so much wisdom. One of the museums curators Jeff Donaldson gave Michael, Kim and I the behind the scenes tour. This is where I met the delightful Rae Weimer. She really made me feel comfortable during the weekend.

After taking a break at the hotel a few of us headed over to the Cartersville Science Museum to hear a lecture by artist Ed Dwight. He was talking at the science museum because prior to his art career he was the first black astronaut candidate. After the lecture I was able to meet all of the artists (Ernest Varner, Ivan Stewart and Gil Ashby) in attendance during the group dinner at the hotel. During the dinner my head was just spinning while trying to keep up with all of the conversations at the table. It wasn't long after the dinner before I crashed in my room from excitement overload. Who knows what's in store tomorrow.


William Hawkins said...

Hi Stephen...very cool cows and...congrats on the museum gig. Sounds exciting and your work deserves it! Keep it up.
Bill Hawkins

Robert Caldwell said...

Congratulations Stephen! The age thing gets old dosen't it? Have fun and soak it all in.

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