The workshop rooms were often very crowded, and it made the convention experience frustrating at times. I missed one workshop, about the brain and creativity, I had planned to attend because the crowd to get in was so large. Other crowd scenes and over-capacity workshops were common; I heard some people complaining. Has the convention gotten so big that we aren't managing it well any more? I did get to a few workshops, but not nearly what I'd planned, and my choices weren't always what they said they'd be in their write-ups. I attended a terrific workshop by fellow blogger Don Masse, who blogs at Shine Brite Zamorano. This paper quilt on the floor (below) was a quickie collaborative hands-on activity by those of us in the workshop. My quilt square is on the bottom row, third from the right.
One of the most important parts of a convention, to me, is the connections you make with other people, especially people you've looked forward to meeting for a long time. To me, it was a real treat to meet some of the people I've followed for a very long time, but who aren't necessarily the social media rock stars. For example, I was absolutely tickled to meet a sweet gal named Becca Ruth, whose blog "The Little Art Teacher" used to be a quirky little favorite of mine. She hasn't blogged in a while, because of a job change, but hopefully she'll get back to it some day! And I met the lovely Renee Collins, who blogs at My Adventures in Positive Space. I've wanted to meet her for a long time.
I especially was surprised and delighted to meet "Kim and Karen: 2 Soul Sisters", as I've been following their blog on and off for several years. I was in line at the hotel registration desk, checking in, when I heard a voice calling out what sounded like "Fay-ill!! It took me a moment to realize the voice was calling my name, "Phyl!" Quite the southern accent! Thank you Karen for taking the photos at my workshop!!
Over the past year or so, I've become friendly on Facebook with blogger Rachel Wintemberg, but I'd never met her personally until now. I think we have a lot in common, and I'd like to have more time to talk in person some day, not just standing in a hallway outside of a crowded and noisy party! Her blog is The Helpful Art Teacher. And I finally did get to spend some time (Yah!) with Lee Darter, one of my Facebook Project Runway buddies, who blogs at Art Room Blog. Lee is great!!
Why am I taking the time to tell you about these people? Two reasons. First, because they all have blogs that are worth your reading, if you haven't seen them before. But the bigger reason is because there's a certain level of frustration meeting people in the midst of a crowded convention. There's time for a hug, and exchanging a few words, but not necessarily much more. These are all people I feel a certain kindred with, yet we meet for a moment at an event like this, and then promptly take off in opposite directions. I like these people. I would like to time to sit down with them and hold real conversations, rather than just a hug in a lobby, or in the midst of an overcrowded and very noisy party, or a crazy congested workshop. Having real in-person time with online friends is one of the things I look forward to most in a national convention, so I guess I feel a real sense of disappointment that our meetups were mostly so fleeting. (And sometimes, with the crazy crowd and diverse scheduling of convention activities, you simply don't see someone at all! Such is the case with long-time blogger friend Artful Artsy Amy! Amy is hard to miss, 6' tall with a dramatic fashion flair and an outgoing personality. Yet after 4 days in NYC, I never saw her even once.)
And here's a view of Central Park
I also had enough time for a couple of small museum visits. It was my first visit to the Neue Gallery, where there are a number of magnificent Klimt paintings on exhibit, as well as some other German expressionists, and also a special exhibit of work by Alexei Jawlensky. No photos are allowed in the Neue, but the Klimts are breathtaking, and I was also really wowed by the Jawlensky exhibit. I was not familiar with his work, which sometimes looked like Kandinsky, Matisse, and several other artists! I highly recommend a visit to the Neue Gallery!
I also visited MAD, the Museum of Art and Design.
This museum is a sweet little treasure!
Thanks for listening to my convention rambles! Do you have a good method of making sure you get everything you want out of a national convention? If so, I'd love to hear it! All of my advance planning, and still, I feel like I could have done it better.