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Staff Interview with Cathy Mayhugh

Intern Brandon sat down with Cathy Mayhugh, Director of Exhibitions at Fitton Center for Creative Arts, to talk about her role in the big operation that is art at the Fitton and in the community.



Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?

A: At the top of my head I'm going to say Andy Goldsworthy. Andy Goldsworthy creates these temporary outdoor sculptural installations in nature and photo-documents them. For example, he'll find a hole in the ground and place leaves around the hole to make it look like its glowing from within and the reason I love it is because its temporary. Everything is temporary, we are temporary, and its not so precious. So I just kind of like the way he plays with that idea and also that his artwork is outdoors. A lot of times it's in a remote space and someone can simply stumble upon it.

Q: What exhibition has personally influenced you the most that you have installed?

A: I'm going to say our recurring juried art competition. Its called Hamilton Current and its influenced me the most because every time it happens I get inspired to make artwork myself all over again. Artists are coming from different perspectives and they bring in new work every time and I see stuff I've never seen before and it really inspires me.

Q: What does your day-to-day look like at the Fitton?

A: I don't really have a day-to-day at the Fitton, it looks different every single day. See today I'm doing a lot of planning and I'm going to be at my screen for most of the day but when I first got here I jumped into my office and there was an artwork waiting for me that I needed to install in the gallery. So its kind of a combination of panning, curating, planning with artists, and the physical work of making the exhibitions happen in the galleries. My work is definitely project oriented in the sense that every nine to twelve weeks a new exhibition happens in these galleries and so I'm planning in between. For four or five very intense weeks I'm changing over the galleries so all the artwork goes away, we repair the walls, we receive new artwork, we decide where it goes in the room, and then we install it. We adjust the light and then we install the signage.

Q: Do you usually decide where the art goes or does the artist?

A: It depends on the exhibition. Like for this one the artwork I decided where it went in the room but Kim Rice down the hall was on site all day on Saturday installing her work. I depends on whether or not the work is installation art and they have to be here to install it and they understand the components and how to make it happen. Sometimes they just send it to me and I just put it up and do what I do. Its very much a collaboration between the two like Dustin London's paintings in this room. He had a very strong idea about the flow of the paintings in the room and he already had a plan for me when he dropped them off on Saturday. I asked him to place them where he wanted them and we did that in ten minutes and it was beautiful.

Q: What does arts in the community mean to you?

A: I think a place like this place, where people can come and participate in the arts is very important. I think some people are intimated by the word "art" but it's all around us everyday. Everyone should and can experience it and I love what we do because it sometimes introduces it to them for the very first time. This is a place where people can come and feel comfortable I hope and do their thing. Art gives a lot to people for different reasons. It could be a way of escape or a healing process or it can just be exciting to learn something new. Art is a good way to come together and make friends by participating in class and share the experience of a play or performance.

Q: What is the biggest challenge the Fitton faces as of today?

A: Our biggest challenge is continually trying to fund what we do. It takes support to do what we do and it is constant finding it and it is constantly changing. While society is changing and people are leaning towards entertainment through devices, I think they still want to get together in places and be social so I think there will always be a need for that.
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