What it means to be a zero

Julie Griffith, left, poses in front of the community art project.

For the first time last week I realized I belong somewhere.  

It began with a shared concern that our art program was going down the tubes from recent Optimization 2.0 proposals. Pamela O’Connor, from my Open Studio class, started an email chain brainstorming ideas of ways we could help. 

Suddenly my phone was glowing with texts and emails, which it never had before, and I was having nightly conversations (on the phone!) with Pamela about life in general and how to best approach the plan to initiate a student-and-alumni-run community art project.

Next was an email and phone call from Mark Foley, Jr., owner of the property we desired to have our art show in.  In an email he wrote, “I am personally and professionally absolutely on your side, and am anguished by what I see and what many have warned would happen to Castleton and the system if it chose the path it is now choosing to go down”.  

Reading that felt like getting hit by something but not getting hurt, instead growing stronger, like Mario running into a power star.  I was filled with emotion, somewhere between validation and reality setting in.  It was like finding out I was pregnant – scary and surreal, exciting!

By simply going through the steps I had been immersed in as a VTSU Castleton Studio Art major, coupled with my experience in staffing the Castleton Bank Gallery in Rutland, attending receptions and assisting with curating student shows in the Christine Price Gallery, I intuitively understood the basic format for assembling an art show.  Later I would compare the experience to planning a wedding.  

Being a Zero is belonging to a movement led by the strongest artists I know – Chrystal Bean — master of sculpture and czar of curating, Matthew Stoddard – graphic design guru and Rutland City Superhero, Pamela O’Connor – insanely talented painter with the professional chops of a faculty member and advisor, Jasmin Gomez – graphic design alumni legend, and many more students and alumni that threw in their artwork and support, including Mason Fleischer who created a piece unique to the show.

Nothing about Zero Hour seemed foreign except belonging – we all felt immersed in our element before and during our show.  The hustle and bustle was something we’d all been trained for, even if we didn’t know it.  

Being a Zero means you have the capacity to adapt when the waves crush against you.  We make beautiful art that unites us and makes us fit in.  

What inevitably goes in hand with art is music.  While we were working out the kinks of the show, behind the scenes our Jazz musicians at Castleton and West Rutland High were fitting Zero Hour into their already-crammed recital schedules.  As Pamela fielded emails and coordinated until her fingers were smoking, Sunday (show time) crept up like a southbound train.

The piece-de-resistance was a 6×8’ community art project.  We captured the whole creation of it from start to finish, by live-streaming and supplying a fully-stocked art-supply bar.  Twenty-six community members and supporters of our show filled the blank mural with art so that we could peel back the tape we had applied and read the message there.  

Stop into the Opera House at 50 Merchants Row and find the studio called RUVT and have a look yourself! 

Love, just another Zero.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post Future-focused at ASC
Next post Taking positive Steps