I mentioned in my post last week that I would reflect on the AIGA “Head Heart Hand” conference that took place in Minneapolis, MN back in mid-October. It’s hard for me to believe only a month has gone by since I attended the conference. Sometimes time moves so slowly while moving too fast at the same time.
My flight was supposed to leave Rochester, NY at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 9. After receiving a phone call about the flight being delayed an hour, I made my way to the airport, had some dinner and waited until 6:30 p.m. for the flight to take off. I landed in Minneapolis at 7:45 central time (8:45 eastern time). I checked into the hotel, made it up to my room, called my husband and went to bed.
On Thursday morning, I got breakfast from the hotel marketplace, a breakfast I would become quite familiar with over the next three days (yogurt, granola, dried fruit and honey) and wandered over to the convention center to check in. I waited in the A–D line, received my name badge, program materials and swag bag, one of the many perks of attending a conference. As I was walking out of the main lobby, I recognized someone who I had graduated from RIT with. I stopped and chatted with her for a little while but she was on her way to a few studio tours, something I had not signed up for when registering for the conference. That’s something I wish I had done while I was there but I felt awkward and little out of place since I was attending the conference on my own. Instead, I headed back to my hotel, threw on a pair of sneakers and decided to find the Walker Art Center.
After walking through a lovely park and crossing a fairly busy highway during rush hour traffic, I made my way the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, right outside the Walker Art Center. The sculpture garden was fairly busy for being so early in the day, mostly populated by college students who I assume were there with one of their classes to sketch the sculptures. I walked around the garden until 10 a.m. when the art center opened. I made my way into first exhibit, titled “Painter Painter,” which consisted of work from American and European artists. From there I made my way in to the Claes Oldenburg exhibit, “Claes Oldenburg: The Sixties.” I spent a lot of time walking through the large exhibit, watching videos, looking at sketches and sculptures. I didn’t realize until I had already walked through it that I started at the end and viewed it backwards… oh well!
While eating lunch at the art center I realized that this was the first time I had really gone to a museum or gallery on my own. It was a strange feeling because typically I’d be discussing the work with the person I am there with; this time it was just me and the dialogue happened inside my head. This internal dialogue kept coming back to me throughout the weekend. Not only was I exploring a new city on my own; I was experiencing the entire conference, the presenters, the content and the environment on my own. I found myself really thinking things out often having conversations with myself (silently that is; I didn’t want to look like a weirdo!) It was interesting and somewhat unexpected. I feel like I learned a lot about myself from that experience.
The opening session of the conference was good. I have only ever been to one other conference, the 2012 HOW Design Conference in Boston. The two are very different and I came to realize this throughout that first session which included speakers Eric Baker and George Lois. This conference was about the craft of design, the profession of design; where design came from and where it is going. After the session I headed over to the opening reception where I got a free drink (soda) and ate some carrots and cheese (I couldn’t eat any of the other food they had). I looked around the design fair where vendors giving away free goodies, many of which I had to pass on due to the size restrictions of carry on luggage, and then headed out to find Chipotle, one of the few restaurants where I knew I could eat something being a gluten-free vegetarian.
After eating dinner back in my hotel room, I looked through the program to see which sessions I wanted to attend the next day. As I said in my last post, I made a decision to choose the session based solely on the description and not on who was doing the presenting were. I made some mental notes and I headed to bed early because I had registered for an early session the next morning. That evening I didn’t take the time to really think through, but now, through writing this post and reflecting on it, I’ve come to realize that the internal dialogue that happened throughout the weekend changed how I view where I am at and where I am going. I began to ask a lot of questions and really think about what it is I am doing and what I could do better…