I’m excited to say I’m joining the OFBYFOR ALL team — a movement to help civic and cultural orgs become of, by, and for their communities. Spearheaded by Nina Simon and the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History (MAH), the initiative is designed to help organizations achieve impact by sparking needed change at the programmatic, staffing, and leadership levels.
I’m joining the team as their consulting creative technologist and will help guide the research, development, and building of tools for a wide range of organizations. I get to think about scale — how to help build a tool set that will work across institutions, considering that their operational size, budgets, and programmatic offerings may be vastly different. We’ll be working to build a platform — the connective tissue which will help members of the #ofbyforall movement chart the change they are making and connect with each other.
Having worked on #ofbyforall-like projects my entire career, getting the chance to use this knowlege in a way that will benefit many organizations is compelling. The chance to work with Nina Simon is a dream and I’d be remiss without saying this is one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that gives me the chance to learn from someone who has had an enormous impact on the MAH, her community, and our field.
Work for OFBYFOR ALL will begin in July and, at that time, my role at the Barnes will shift to consulting creative technologist. This will allow me to complete a few things in progress and start work on new projects as they arise. I am fortunate that Barnes leadership could see the overwhelmingly good fit my skills were to OFBYFOR ALL — together we found a way to make this opportunity work for everyone. I am especially grateful that in bringing this to Thom Collins, the executive director of the Barnes, his response was, “This project just sounds like something you should do, and the content something the Barnes and the field should benefit from as well.” As these changes move forward, you’ll continue to see me blogging here about Barnes-related projects — we’ve got one sponsored by the Barra Foundation that we are particularly excited to share.
So much about this shift is actually about meaning — finding the right fit and being selective in the projects that I take, so that meaningful change can happen. The reconsideration of my professional life has also given me the same chance to be more mindful in my personal life. You’ll find me in Philly through December, and at the start of the new year my partner and I will shift our home base to Marfa, Texas, where I’ll be working remotely on both projects, along with others as they come along.
In reflecting about place we had to ask ourselves — if we could be anywhere and part of any community, where would that be? We were seeking a radical and meaningful recalibration. We wanted to take a chance on the thing we’d never do, that bit that wasn’t going to be safe, and we wanted to go somewhere where we could make mindful choices.
There’s nothing more intentional than deciding to live in a remote town. This one is in far West Texas, it’s three hours from a regional airport, and its population is just over 1,900 — my high school was larger. I’m a native Texan and the choice of this geographical area was carefully considered. Marfa is reflective of what we loved about Red Hook, Brooklyn — tight knit, remote, and rooted in the arts — yet it is without the ease and convenience of the big city. It means we’ll be making careful choices about how we’re living (and which work I’ll be taking). I often talk about how constraints form the foundation of any project — I’m applying that same principal to my life, starting in January.
I recently sat down with a friend who happened to be in town and told her about all these changes. When I asked what she thought, she responded by saying, “it sounds like you are prototyping your life.” I smiled — she got it.
If you are interested in working together, reach out.