These days, I’m out the door before 7:00 a.m., not only to beat the traffic, but also because I’m anxious to get going on another day at 277 East Town Street.
It’s been a big year. First came a request to make a cameo appearance in a video about how Medicare Connector participants conduct transactions. Then came the news that the improved PERSpective blog would be posting more from subject matter experts, including one with pension industry research expertise.
An unexpected Christmas present came in the form of an invitation to move my legendary cacti down two floors. They’re not the only ones thriving in their picture-perfect new home with its southeastern exposure.
Next came the suggestion to eat my Wheaties every Friday morning as the new member of a working group whose three-capital-letter acronym stands for the amazing philosophical discussions that take place during its meetings…or something like that….
Most recently, a series of events have followed in rapid succession, like marking the progress of a new rooftop container garden that provided one of its gardeners with an entire plateful of salad for lunch today… … and finally having a real success to celebrate! Meet the founder of our very own Little Free Library and her enthusiastic collaborator in Human Resources, both of whom are so excited to share the responsibility of keeping the little library’s shelves stocked and its glass door Windexed!
But the real subject of this post is how I scored my first punch on my “Destination Walks” card.
In this super-clever initiative on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the summer months, dozens of us hit the pavement at noon for Downtown hot-spots like the Peanut Shoppe, the Scioto Mile, the Hills Market, the Cultural Arts Center, the Shops at Capitol Square, Edible Arrangements, the Topiary Park, and the Main and Rich Street Bridges. Yesterday, we reveled in this glorious weather as we strolled to the Ohio Arts Council’s Riffe Gallery. There, we saw two mixed media creations our colleague, Member Services Representative Michael Bush, contributed to “After Hours: Artwork by State of Ohio Employees.”
Michael is one of 44 public servants who were chosen to share 60 of their works of art in this juried exhibition. On view are photographs, paintings, sculptures and textiles created after a long day at work by employees of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, the Ohio Department of Transportation, the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, the Office of Budget and Management, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the Ohio Industrial Commission, the School Employees Retirement System, the Ohio State Fair & Expo, and more.
Polar bears were the subject of photographs taken by employees of the Ohio Department of Taxation and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections. Barb Dysart, an Ohio Department of Health clerk, beautifully captured an old City Hall doorway in watercolors. Wendi Boggs, project manager for the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, employed ceramic tiles, glass beads and reclaimed wood to depict Ohio cardinals in the snow.
Edison’s Bright Idea is a LEGO-brick tribute to Ohio’s famous scientist by JD Keller, professional land surveyor for the Ohio Department of Transportation.
My “canning resemblance” keeping the cacti company this summer doesn’t come close to Christina Andrews’ Mason Jar Sunset. Christina is a paralegal at the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
Jennifer Whitten, Human Service Program Administrator 3 at the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections’ Grafton Correctional Institution, contributed three amazing pieces of beadwork, including Mallet Totem.
There really is no end to the talents of librarians. Kelly Pickett, a librarian for the Ohio Legislative Services Commission, contributed two watercolor and charcoal works. Kristin Krumsee, a library consultant at the State Library of Ohio, scored the big honor by having her photograph titled Bloom selected for the featured image of the exhibition. Her Green Buds photograph is pretty amazing, too.
Receiving my vote for “Best of Show” are three pieces by Amanda Knapp, digital resources manager for the Ohio Public Library Information Network. I knew that Mandy was a whiz at performance measures, but I had no idea that she was a talented textile artist. She made a linocut image of a coffee pot, printed it on three pieces of linen, framed them in hoops, and did a fantastic job embroidering them. Voila! She created Coffee Flowers, Coffee Sunrise, and Coffee Fireworks!
“Holy Schist! Now you tell me!,” I exclaimed when I learned that I missed three free daytime drop-in workshops that were offered in conjunction with the exhibition. On May 19, Mandy Knapp showed participants how to compose a work of art using thread as their medium. Dana Lynn Harper followed on May 25, creating a colorful succulent garden or an underwater coral seascape with polymer clay sculptures. And on June 1, Jennifer Whitten taught bead embroidery techniques to create a tiny wearable work of art.
Hurry! “After Hours: Artwork by State of Ohio Employees” is on view through July 8. The Riffe Gallery is located in the first floor lobby of the Vern Riffe Center for Government & the Arts, at 77 S. High St. in downtown Columbus.