This is your personal notice that Tohono Chul Gallery will host a grand opening this Friday, Feb. 20 5:30 7:30pm for two exhibitions currently showing: Tumamoc Hill: Art, Culture, and Science in the entry gallery, and Sonoran Desert: Large and Small in the main gallery.
Curator James Schaub says there has been a lot of good reaction to the Tumamoc show. Here’s my favorite story.
Karen Hayes, assistant curator of the Tohono Chul Gallery, was walking up Tummaoc Hill one evening around the end of January and her companion almost stepped on a large rattlesnake. It is so unusual to even see a snake during the winter, especially after the cold spell we had in January. After the shock of seeing two large humans, the shy snake left the scene as fast as it could, given the cool temperature and it’s cool blood. Karen went into the gallery the next day to look at my tapestry print, Three Rattlers of Tumamoc, and was able to use it to correctly identify her snake as the Black-tail rattlesnake, Crotalus molossus. Sweet. Art and science, maybe even some culture.
Many people, including me, are terrified of rattlers. Yet, that fear has lessened considerably after my experiences scanning those snakes for the art work, with the expert coaching of the Tumamoc Herpetology lab. What remains is a fascination. Yes, snakes deserve our respect and finding one is always a powerful experience.
Karen’s story reminded me of one of the functions of rattlesnakes in the environment: to keep us awake, present, and alert to our surroundings. We probably won’t see a snake, but we’ll keep our eyes on the ground. We’ll step out of our chattering Homo sapiens brains, put away our smartphones, even for a few moments; then we may notice other things. Once you see one thing, you will see more, and more.
There are Tumamoc artists in both shows. Come down or come up, meet the artists and hear the stories. Even if you just come to walk around the grounds in the evening light, you’ll have a good time. Just watch out for rattlers.
S0noran Desert Mandala is in the Sonoran Desert: Large and Small show. It is meant to be large, 4 x 4 feet, but there were so many submissions to the show that Tohono Chul Gallery asked me to print a smaller one. It appears that area artists love the Sonoran Desert.
The mandala is part of a larger project, still in progress, promoting the writings of Byrd Baylor. Stay tuned for more on that project and see the Desert Dwellers Know poster on my site.