Last weekend we were in Kelso, CA at the Visitors Center for the Mojave National Preserve in the Desert Light Gallery. It was for the installation of my photographs as the Artist In Residence for the Preserve. We were working with members of the Mojave National Preserve Artist Foundation to get all the photographs up on the wall.
This is the first show in the New Desert Light Gallery on the first floor of the visitor center. The previous gallery was in the basement and had more restrictive display space limitations. The new gallery has a much lighter and more airy atmosphere to it. Being as this was the first installation in the new space, no one had any idea how long it was going to take.
We started the work at 10 A.M. and were hoping that we could finish the same day. We only had access to the facility until 5 P.M. when the Visitor Center closed. Bob Killen and Janet and Bill Huston would be there to do the install. Since I’m in a wheelchair I could do small tasks but it would be Bob, Janet, Bill and my wife Margaret that would do all the heavy lifting.
Margaret and I had transported the 15 photographs and other paraphernalia to the visitor center in the back of our Jeep Cherokee. We had the photographs each packed in separate bags we had constructed from insulation material to protect them from any bumps and bruises of transportation. We also had my camera bag, an overnight bag and my wheelchair. It was a pretty packed car for the trip out. It also turned out to be a very beautiful day. The sky was bright blue with some great clouds. Temps were going to be in the 70’s with a light breeze. It was a shame we were going to be indoors.
We first laid out the photographs along the base of the walls to decide which photo would go where. It took a while to decide which photos would go where in this new space. Being a new space we had to work around all the idiosyncrasies of the space. Once we agreed on the order, it was now time to start the process of the actual hanging.
Measuring all the spaces and finalizing the position on the wall took a while. Bob and Janet were measuring and marking the location while Margaret and Bill were putting the hanging wire on the frames. We hadn’t installed any wire since the final hanging method hadn’t been decided yet. While everyone was busy, I got a chance to photograph some of the work. This one of the drawbacks of having Multiple Sclerosis, even though you’re present at activities, you’re can be outside since you really can’t take part.
We took a short break for lunch and by 2:30 had pretty much completed the installation. There were a few small items that would need to be completed the next morning when we were coming back to take a few photos of me. That was going to be a very weird experience. I’m always behind the camera, not in front of it.
We finished the few items remain from the day before and it was now complete. Looking at the display, I could definitely say that all the work I had done the previous year was worth it. It had been a long and at times difficult process. Seeing the photographs on the wall brought back so many memories of all the locations in the Preserve that we had visited.
The Mojave National Preserve is such a beautiful area and we enjoyed it so much. If you’ve never visited the Preserve, you should make an effort to come experience for yourself.
Hey, here is an idea, we’ll be having a meet the artist day in Late November or early December. Come out and view the show and introduce yourself. I’ll be there to talk about the show and my experiences and I would like nothing than talking about my work. Bring the family and spend the day in the Preserve and drop by the show and say, Hi!
Information On The Mojave National Preserve and the Artist In Residence program.