My birthday is just a few days past Christmas, and I always throw myself a birthday party for about 30 friends and family–my husband is my trusty co-host in all things and does such a fabulous job of it.
Obviously, that is not going to happen this year. So this past weekend, I invited a number of people to join my husband and I at a progressive Photoville FENCE party instead. It was little early, but we wanted to host a party before the exhibition is taken down on December 7. We bought some fun, individual-serving snacks and drinks and started at West Fargo’s Scheels Soccer Complex.
We planned an hour at each stop, which was the perfect amount of time for people to safely space out and read and look at each artist’s narrative and photos. It also gave us time to have conversations…once we realized who was hiding behind the masks, that is!
As with all events I host, I always have that pre-worry that no one is going to join us. And as with all events I host, I worry over nothing. People always join us, and this party was no different. And it was so lovely to see people in 3-D and to have safe conversations outside and socially distanced.
One guest’s comment: It was all great–very thought provoking. I have been telling everyone about it.
We moved on to MSUM’s football field fence where even more people joined in to experience this incredible exhibition.
One guest’s comment: I loved the diversity of the photos, not just diversity of the human subjects which there was, but also a wide range of subject matter, ideas, and styles represented. Even though we only met up with you and Mazz at the MSUM site, we did visit all three sites throughout the day. We each picked our favorite series from each site and our favorite individual photo from each site. Thank you for including us!
One guest’s comment: We traveled from out of town to see the exhibit, and I would encourage you to do that if you aren’t in the FM area. If you are there, get out to see all three exhibits. The nice thing about the presentation is the breadth of experiences that are featured. There are some delightful, fun pictures to see that will just make you smile, and there are some pictures that will break your heart. There are pictures that will teach you a lesson about something you horrifyingly never knew existed that concern, for example, women’s hair and a grain product, and there are pictures that just celebrate the diverse beauty of nature. Your senses will all be fed.
And another: We loved every fence and every picture. Do yourself a favor and go see them. Take your children. Read them the explanations and prepare to have discussions that maybe you couldn’t have any other way than looking at something new to you. Thank you to the Art’s Partnership for being so proactive again, and bringing something wonderful for all of us to enjoy. Your part is to just go.
Our final stop was at Rheault Farm. By that point, we were chilly! But the photos drew us in to stop and learn more.
One guest’s comment: We ended up seeing all three installations. Our daughter joined us for West Fargo and Rheault Farm. I think what I appreciate most about this installation is its accessibility. I love the thought of folks being able to walk by and enjoy the art in a casual manner. I’m hopeful that many people will see the images multiple times and that their appreciation for different artists might evolve. One other aspect that I loved was the WIDE variety of topics included in the overall installation. I truly feel like there is something for everyone in this exhibition.
One guest’s comment: All I can say is WOW! I was so impressed with how great the images looked and loved the addition of local artists featured. Plus, this show is perfect for all ages
All in all, despite the cold, this was one of my favorite “birthday parties.” I have stopped wanting to gather for the sake of drinking wine and eating cheese alone–there are already plenty of opportunities to do that (at least in a “typical” year). Instead, I want to gather and have meaningful conversation, learn new things and be moved by the humanity of others’ lives. Photoville FENCE did just that. I promise you, there are photos that will haunt you with their beauty, their story and their bravery. And there are photos that will delight you with their humor, their cleverness and their whimsy.
The panels are up until the middle of December, but in case you don’t remember how winter works, it’s not going to get warmer anytime soon, so do yourself a favor and plan to get out to see these three exhibition locations sooner than later. I am thankful that Scott Olsen presented this opportunity to us as it was not anything anyone from TAP had ever heard of or knew anything about. I am so proud of the Board of Directors of The Arts Partnership for enthusiastically saying yes to this exhibition before we even had a sponsor. And I am so grateful to 702 Communications for their signature sponsorship and to the FM Convention and Visitors Bureau for their additional sponsorship. I also appreciate MSUM and Fargo and West Fargo Parks for helping us to find the perfect locations. And finally, to Danica McDonald on our staff who managed this entire project from start to finish. It’s just outstanding.
I hope you will put together your own party and celebrate this first-ever tri-city FENCE exhibition. You don’t have to check in with any of the locations to gather, but please do be sure to clean up after yourselves if you have treats. And if you do go see it, please let us know what you think–send us comments and take photos to share. We want the entire community and beyond to have the experience of FENCE.
Find more information about it on the Photoville FENCE page.
I have to tell you a quick story related to Photoville. This whole program was created by two men nearly 10 years ago in New York City, named Sam and Dave. One our second call with their team, Dave said, “What’s your last name?”
I told him, and he said, “Do you know a Wes Del Val?”
“That’s my brother!” I screamed.
“Wes, Sam and I worked together years ago. We love Wes!”
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love my brother, too, but I absolutely adore this story–we live in such a gloriously small world sometimes, don’t we? What are the odds that two men from something I knew nothing about until a few months ago would have worked with my brother…in New York City?????