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Thursday 06.01.06

« Introducing Jenene Nagy: Better Every Year | Main | First Friday June 2006 »

Introducing Melia Donovan: I Don't Take Vacations - I Just Move To Interesting Places

Though art making can be considered an interior and self-centered endeavor, I have always enjoyed countering that aspect of production with activities that enable a dialogue outside of the studio, in the larger community, to flourish. For that reason, I am very excited to join PORT as one of the new Announcements and News writers. I am a recent citizen of Oregon and if what I've read and experienced is true, the only native in the state is my friend Ramona in Hood River. The massive influx of people from all over the world, really, necessitates a forum for navigating, organizing and rallying the arts community. PORT has certainly permitted me access to dialogue and information in a scant amount of time - I moved into my house in January of this year. I can only hope to help do more of the same.

Here's a little background about myself. My BA in Art (Photography) is from San Francisco State University. While there, I worked as a custom printer at a few, now defunct, photo labs. At the time, the tides were changing in San Francisco - the computer geeks were descending - so, in 1998, I found the tunnel that lead from the Mission District to Williamsburg and moved to New York to go to graduate school at Hunter College.

While at Hunter, I served as the Master of Fine Arts Student Organization Co-President with the lovely Lynn Sullivan. We helped to start the silent auction that year which enabled us to invite more artists and critics for lectures and studio visits and to purchase more equipment for the studio building. I graduated with an MFA in Combined Media (Photography + Sculpture) in 2001, birthed one child and moved immediately to Chicago.

Soon after the move, I started the adjunct life, teaching photography at a couple of colleges, which allowed me to produce in the studio and parent. A union in real estate with another couple that my husband and I knew from SFSU led to our opening of The Guestroom Project. Utilizing an empty apartment in our building that operated as guest quarters, we partnered artist/curators to collaborate on shows. Basically, two artists, previously unknown to each other, were invited to find a link in their work or practice. Out of that dialogue, they then were required to look outside of their respective studios and find artists working within that particular vernacular - no self-curation on the part of the artists or inclusion of our work was allowed. This was purely an intellectual exercise to facilitate a connection between people and ideas from disparate artistic communities in Chicago. In spite of the intellectual profit borne out of that work the squelching summers and frigid winters took their toll. We headed for the rain.

So, now I find myself in Portland - a city I've wanted to live in since I saw the Apples in Stereo here in 1996. I'm excited by what I've read, seen and heard. So now it can be set aside who I am and the work of participating in the rich dialogue about art, context and Portland's future can continue.

Posted by Melia Donovan on June 01, 2006 at 0:05 | Comments (1)


Hi. Glad you three are out on the left coast now. Maybe someday, soon hopefully, we'll be able to head up there and visit with you.......

Take care and good luck in all your artistic endeavors.

Btw, we have that pic of your knee while riding your bike down Valencia Street hanging in our living room, along with Dave's works and Steve's gigantic stick of Black Jack Chewing Gum............

Heart always,
Lori, Richard and Alexa Gatmaitan

Posted by: Richard G. [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 1, 2006 08:35 PM

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