Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How did this happen?

I started I-95 in 2000. In 2002 I got a Leeway Grant, and from that I was in a Leeway winners group show at the Art Alliance. From that, Helen Cunningham asked if my photos could be published with the Fels Fund annual report. Her husband, Ted Newbold, saw my work and suggested that Kate Ware, the former curator of photographs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, take a look at my work. So I went and met her and the Art Museum bought 8 of my prints. I first met my curator, Mr Peter Barberie, during the course of one of my meetings there. He astutely asked about the post 9/11 component of my work.

So that was a big, big deal. And then in 2004, Peter Shaw, a local collector, saw my work and bought a bunch of stuff for the St. James apartment building at 8th and Walnut. Then I applied for a Pew Fellowship in the Arts and was fortunate enough to be awarded a fellowship. That was another big, big deal. One of the jurors on the Pew panel was Chrissie Iles, who was a curator of the 2006 Whitney Biennial and she called and asked if I wanted be in the Biennial. Yes. And that was a success. And from that Bruce Silverstein gallery asked me to get on board. And that was a success. And then Todd Oldham hooked me up with the guys from AMMO books and I made America and that was a success. Then I got a United States Artists Fellowship. And then I went to France and worked on a project in Lectoure and to Anchorage, Alaska for an AIR fellowship and to Spain to teach a workshop and have a show in Madrid and be in a show in Segovia. Plenty of other things happened but this is a basic framework of how I came into the "art world." Now I'm back with Peter, who I met years ago when he was a fellow and I was a lady who didn't know that calling the Philadelphia Museum of Art "the Art Museum" was unsophisticated.

As all these incredible things happened I worked on I-95, which was my focus for 10 years. I-95 ended this May, exactly as I planned in 2000. That is done and now the Art Museum show is coming up and I'm going to work on it like I did on I-95, which is as if my life depends on it.

Who thinks that life's dreams are possible? One thing I was certain of is that I wanted my work to connect to my life, to the lives of the people in my portraits, to the places in my photos, to the folks in my neighborhood, to the canon of street photography and to 60's and 70's conceptual art. I'm happy that I've succeeded on some levels.

It's on, friends. It's on, and I'm filled with gratitude, ambition, desire, drive and love.

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