May 9, 2019 | Alyson Stanfield

Multiply Your Audience and Expand Your Show’s Impact with Jill Powers

We often forget that we’re not alone. It’s easy to do because you spend so much time working by yourself in the studio. But … You don’t have to hold up the weight of a solo exhibition all by yourself.

If you get a little creative, you will find a whole bunch of people who would love to be involved with your show. They would be happy to help you install it, interpret it, and share it with others.

©2014 Jill Powers, Essential Waters. Bark fiber, 48 x 56 x 3 inches. Used with permission.
©2014 Jill Powers, Essential Waters. Bark fiber, 48 x 56 x 3 inches. Used with permission.

In my former life (a long time ago) I was an art museum curator and educator. This is exactly how we thought about exhibitions in the art museum: holistically.

We never installed the art and only hoped people would come to the museum and understand the work. We spent months discussing—as a team— how we would involve others in the show. How we would help make the art more meaningful to our visitors and, at the same time, increase the chance that many more people would see the work.

This is where my guest for this episode of the podcast comes in.

Jill Powers is a sculptor and installation artist who creates art related to ecological issues. For her major exhibitions Jill produces public events designed to educate, delight, and challenge  visitors and viewers. She also seeks unique collaborations with area businesses, organizations, and experts to help support and promote her artistic themes.

Close Contact, Bark fiber, natural materials, 9 x 5 x 5" ©2016
©2016 Jill Powers, Close Contact. Bark fiber, natural materials, 9 x 5 x 5 inches. Used with permission.

In this episode, she describes the many programs she has organized and how she does it. You’ll hear about how she's worked with dancers, scientists, and restaurants to expand the reach of the show beyond the walls and pedestals of the galleries. You'll see how easy it is to multiply your audience when you take this approach.

Show Notes

In this interview, you will hear about:

  • Jill’s background both in art and education, and her passion to create and teach in different settings.
  • Two Colorado exhibitions: Plants and Insects in a Time of Change at the Firehouse Art Center in Longmont, Colorado (2013) and Hold Fast: Seaweeds in a Time of Oceanic Change at the Dairy Art Center in Boulder, Colorado (2016).
  • The curatorial thesis of experiencing art that opens doors to the message.
  • The actual work that was on view for each exhibit.
  • The benefits of becoming involved in your community and collaboration beyond what seems possible.
  • The clever way Jill’s exhibitions included everyone from dancers, to chefs and scientists.
  • The film night she organized as part of a public program.
  • The funding that took place in order to successfully run the exhibits.
  • The obstacles she faced in pulling off both events with over 3 years of planning.
  • Her way of using volunteers and organizing systems to help her stay focused and on track.
  • What led her to recognize the value in involving others and making the art more meaningful.
  • The immersive aspect of her exhibits including live samples of seaweed at a tasting station and using music to set the mood.
  • Her advice for artists who may consider becoming more involved in their community, and why enthusiasm and personal connection is so impactful.
  • A glimpse into what’s next for her in the future, including a book based on her teaching and life experiences.

Resources

Jill at one of her events for the Ocean Ecology and Seaweed exhibition
Jill at one of her events for the Ocean Ecology and Seaweed exhibition.

About My Guest

Jill Powers is a sculptor, installation artist, and educator who creates art related to ecological issues.  Using current science about the natural world, Jill finds singular vantage points that fascinate her, and motivate her research and ideas.

You can see Jill’s art and learn more about her exhibition events at JillPowers.com. While there, sign up for her newsletter and she'll send you a free download worksheet to get started planning your own events.

15 comments add a comment
  • Wonderful and SO helpful for where I’m at with my newest series!!
    This interview was chock full of fantastic ideas to investigate!
    Thank you for sharing Jill’s story!

    • I have been an art educator full time for 24 years and am now doing art full time in my retirement. I felt daunted when listening to Jill because her energy and innovative approaches were so unique. I wondered if I had that kind of energy to promote myself in a similar magnitude when I am older than dirt. However, my brain began to assimilate how Jill’s thought processes evolved to generate interest in her exhibits. I wondered if I could pull off something likewise. I am a one person beginning business with a shy demeanor. Can I break through and do it too? I guess with baby steps….

    • Alyson Stanfield

      Rochelle: I’m glad you found it inspiring!

      Marsh: You can do it!

    • Rochelle,
      So glad you feel encouraged by this interview! There is so much more I could have included. Enjoy exploring new ideas for sharing your series!
      Jill

  • Deb

    Jill’s story shared a bigger picture, collaborative approach to presenting her art – it spoke to me like no other podcast! Thank you for sharing the details and planning that went into such an inclusive and rewarding approach. On a more limited scale, I started planning my own event while Jill was speaking – sounds like so much more fun than a traditional art show experience for you and the attendees. Love the community collaboration around a passion/theme. Greatly appreciate your vision and first class execution!

  • I’d like to share my new mantra for success “Risk has to be longer than my arms. My passion has to drive me to reach. My vision has to sustain me in times of disappointment. Humility has to continually feed my soul. “

    • Marsh,
      Yes, you can do it! Just start with your own true interests and your curiosity, and let it grow. Did you get the Free Download on my website to get you going?
      Jill

  • Marsh,
    Yes, you can do it! Just start with your own true interests and your curiosity, and let it grow. Did you get the Free Download on my website to get you going?
    Jill

  • Thanks for the wonderful interview–very inspiring and a challenge to take on big ideas and projects.

  • This podcast was incredibly informative. I have been developing an idea for an art installation that could include guest speakers and teaching on issues surrounding elections and voting. It was great to hear how Jill collaborated with researchers and environmental groups. It was important to hear that Jill’s projects took 3 years to develop and come to fruition. Helps me be realistic in my own planning.

    • Alyson Stanfield

      Thanks for listening, Eve. I look forward to seeing what you come up with and I know you’ll share that with us in the Art Career Success System.

  • These sound like fabulous multi-faceted exhibits. I would’ve liked to be there. Thanks for sharing your fun ideas.

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