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Announcement: Art Exhibit: found in passing, by Steven Boothe #SanLuisObispo

Dear friends and family:

Warmest regards and gratitude for all your love, support and encouragement.

Artist: Steven Boothe
Exhibit: “found in passing”
Cal Poly University Library, 2nd floor gallery (just past cafe)
Now through Feb. 24th.
Honoring: Cuesta College Book of the Year: In the Neighborhood by Peter Lovenheim
Acknowledgements: Huge thanks to Cal Poly Library Special Collections and Archives for the invitation to submit this exhibit in conjunction with the Cuesta Library Book of the Year, and also a big thank you to Josh Machamar for agreeing to be my adviser for this exhibit.

Details and artist statement:
The Cal Poly Library Special Collections and Archives has a blog announcing the exhibit here:

Please allow me to mention that this exhibit would not have happened apart from the Cuesta College Library staff’s annual effort to bring awareness to a literary work which they believe stands out as a significant contribution to humanity and can provide current inspiration to our community by providing a venue for the author to come and share with us.

This years theme explores the question of neighbors and neighborhoods as presented by the announcement:

“Join us for a week of cultural activities, discussions and workshops around the theme of neighborhoods and community featuring In the Neighborhood: The Search for Community on an American Street, One Sleepover at a Time, by Peter Lovenheim. Where are your tribes, spaces and places? How do we create inclusive neighborhoods in the disjointed, fast paced world?”

So I was invited to present a selection of photos highlighting the scenery of our neighborhoods with the hope of generating further thought and consideration along this years theme.

Cuesta College has many beautiful and strong ties with the faculty and staff of Cal Poly. Many of our instructors teach at both schools and regularly support events and activities both through direct participation and spreading awareness among the students and our libraries are no exception.

Thus it is that upon learning of this years theme Cal Poly Library Special Collections graciously extended the opportunity for Cuesta College Library to put up an exhibit in conjunction with the Book of the Year events which led to the Cuesta library staff to extend the invitation for me to consider presenting on their behalf.

The resulting exhibition now on display through February 24th represents my effort to honor both the theme and the beautiful parties from which these invitations were born.

In addition to the visual display, I also wrote the following statement as I was preparing the work and considering the theme of neighbors and neighborhoods.

Who are we?

What is a neighborhood? If we went looking, where would we start? Where would we search? How do we respond when we find one? Do we engage? Do we involve ourselves with others? Neighborhoods have neighbors don’t they? Is there any difference between a neighbor and an occupant? Who is our neighbor then? Who are we?

Are buildings and sign posts evidence or artifacts of life? Material fixtures are scant evidence of life after we’re gone — a context, a frame, a reference, but scant evidence of life itself. Among these fixtures some choose to live together, some apart, some strive for better, and some for not. But if we look for neighbors, where do we start? I suggest inside, what some call our heart.

Neighbors are not locked vacant buildings, empty crates left idle next to locked dumpsters full of food out of date. Neighbors are not streets where no farmers are welcome. Neighbors are not disengaged, no, engagement is what makes them. They are asking the question of what can be done, to better not only their lives, but others as one. So who are we becoming and who are we to, the others who we pass as we’re going through? What will others remember, after we’re gone?

Memories are the evidence that all neighbors see. Do we care about the others who we disagree? Do we care enough to see those under a tree? What about those politics with whom we disagree? Do I shun all exposure to what discomforts me? Could one day their troubles apply both to we? Does any of this matter?

What do you see?

#Poem: Fading

My eyes and heart are tired.
There is ringing in my ears.
I am close to sleep.
I hear the clank of dishes in the sink. I wonder if there is anything else I can do today.
My eyes close, then open, and close, then open, and close again.
I am still here.
Now I am gone.