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Imagine walking into the most amazing party you had never planned for. Last night Willie, Sue and I were invited to a Museum of Everything (MOE) dinner and dance event at the old Selfridges Hotel in London, adjacent to its department store. The space was ENORMOUS, all raw cement walls and floors, suited up nicely with an exhibition of 50+ sculptures by Judith Scott, an artist I have only ever admired in books. The display of her yarn-and-string woven sculptures was so unpretentious, so moving, so honoring, that I lost it right there on the spot, turning into a puddle of tears. A nearby guard shook her head in agreement.
As soon as I pull myself together, I realize that there is an unfinished film by MOE playing in the next room that features art workshops from around the world (they are looking to come to the US to film more studios). There is no sound to the film tonight, but we get to watch Heinrich Reisenbauer paint a carefully mapped out set of yellow pears, so peaceful, so decided. Nothing at the event is overly fancy, but there are so many odd details that are just right. Like the little badges they are pinning on us that say 'every', and the plastic streaming ribbons you have to walk through to get beyond the door. And then there was Willie Jones, dancing by himself to Fela Kuti under the disco ball.
Suddenly, we're invited into the next room, which housed one long row of 30 narrow tables for dining. About 200 of us ate elbow-to-elbow, and I am sandwiched between Willie and a woman who runs a sculpture project in North London. And then comes James, the founder of MOE-- a charmingly bearded man who wore a knee-length suit and spoke through an enormous megaphone during his address. He already knew who Willie was, and he marched up to introduce himself right away, saying he was humbled to meet such an artist. Willie's response?: "Right on."
The plates are snatched away, we hear chairs being scooted around, and turn to see AN ENTIRE BRASS BAND, who are about to play the theme song to Rocky. They play for a bit, the room gets darker, and we are told 600 more people are about to enter the room for the dance party. Exit Willie, Sue and I. We meet a few more lovely people as we are squished down the stairway on our way out, and say goodnight to James while staring at the lines and lines of people waiting to get in. It's around midnight and we are walking back to our tiny hotel rooms in Hyde Park, buzzing only from the radical randomness of the evening. Just before I go to bed, Willie knocks on my door to remind me that he needs his colored pencils back so he can draw more tonight.
Heartside Gallery and Studio began in 1993 as a small program of Heartside Ministry. This ever-expanding program continues to offer the Heartside community and its neighbors a supportive and safe environment in which to create, exhibit and sell work.