Shannon Bohn McCallister 
Member since Mar 22, 2012



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Re: “VOTING NOW CLOSED: 2014 Best of Richmond

Wolff Fording & Company is the oldest American design & manufacturer of dance costumes and they are located in Shockoe Bottom. Is there a category that they would fall under on this and how do I get them on the ballot as an option for Best of?

13 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Shannon Bohn McCallister on 01/29/2014 at 8:12 AM

Re: “The Second Act

Given the anger behind your words I can only wonder if perhaps you had something happen in your past to garner such a bitterness toward Artists outside of what is going on in Richmond. Tell me, what kind of Art have you sought out, as there is a wide variety that goes on here in Richmond, and most is not advertised. What do you deem quality art?
Granted there is some celebration of the mediocre that goes on here but there is also some well-thought out innovative pieces that take one past the surface of the piece. To flippantly categorize all artists as being egotistical because of your experience with a few is very insulting. I didn't choose this for a hobby, I have chosen this as my career just as one chooses to be a doctor, psychologist, technician or scientist. I would love to be able to work full-time in my chosen career instead of having to do it on the side of a full-time bread and butter job but it is becoming harder to do this as negativity toward Art is spread across the nation. We have already started to remove it from our schools forcing on students tests that measure ones ability to memorize and recall facts but do not encourage the love of learning, imagination and experimentation.
With this tunnel vision teaching philosophy being planted into the curriculum how will our children learn the flexibility to handle the obstacles they encounter in their lives. Because as you know there is no absolute right or wrong answer in reality. If we eliminate the foundation of exposing kids to outside-of-the-box thinking early, how can we expect our country to be any kind of leader in the global market? Or are we looking at being dependent upon foreign nations for all of our products as we have eliminated the programs that taught us self-subsistence?

Posted by Shannon Bohn McCallister on 05/18/2012 at 2:17 AM

Re: “The Second Act

In what way, shape or form is this a post-Romantic notion? That someone who is presenting a service that another benefits from and asking that they be paid for that service a scenario that is only appropriate for storybook or literary works? I suppose everything that you do ..."Byronic given away freely since you seem to feel that people should not be paid for their work and that such an idea is "immature in an early nineteenth-century kind of way." Interesting. Anyway, before the entire topic took a comprehensive detour the points I was trying to make were 1) that the arts can be utilized to create a solution to a problem by allowing communication, organization of unrelated ideas into a cohesive concept and a neutral playing field that allows non-biased and equal participation; 2) that the backlash of anger and name-calling generated by the events causing the resulting backlash not be directed at the artists of Richmond when these events are more for the purpose of creating Tourism rather than foster an Art community.
If I did not stand behind the words I type, then I would not put my name to my words. I don't hide behind Anonymity. Perhaps it's time to start repairing the problem that apparently has been present, as Byronic has been considerate enough to point out, since the days of Vasari, Bellori, and Diderot. And that point is that for a community to be strong it must recognize that Art is a necessity and not a luxury.

Posted by Shannon Bohn McCallister on 05/16/2012 at 11:55 PM

Re: “The Second Act

I agree with you to a point, that this is not about Art but about
Tourism being showcased as 'being for the artist'. If this were about
bringing Art into Richmond, then Artists would be able to find
employment at these establishments that would free them from having to
pull a full time job, on top of a teaching job on top of the side work
of sharing their art with the community, which sadly is done many
times pro-bono or at rates that rarely constitute minimum wage. This
misdirection then causes the anger of the community to be directed at the
artists who giving of their time to bring power and strength to the
community. If it were about the artist then the city would make these
resources easily accessible to the artist. If it were about the
artist, then artists would be employed to run these establishments
instead of being cast aside because their education is snubbed as being a misallocation of
Tourism is about making money, no disputing that, but should you provide the artist with
a liveable income they will turn around and give that money right back
to the economy instead of having to "eat" the cost of their supplies
and their time in the hopes of 'making it big.' I for one don't want
to be big, I just want to be able to live without working 24-7 in order to be
an artist on the side and pay my bills on time. When money is recycled back into the city's economy then there is money available to take care of the necessities. By using the Arts as a powerful tool to turn an idea into a reality rather than simply entertainment to bring in audiences and hope they buy things while here, we can start filling in the gaps and take care of the things needed to be taken care of such as our schools, the scarcity of jobs and even healthcare.

Posted by Shannon Bohn McCallister on 05/11/2012 at 9:20 PM

Re: “The Second Act

An attempt to make sense of Art.
Unless you are engaged in Art is very difficult to understand the affect it has ones life.Therefore I will try to put the reason for being an artist, to provide an argument against the idea that the Arts is elitist or clique and to clear up the negative image that is being imposed on artists because of decisions not being made by artists who are working their butts off to make their community a better place to live and do not have the financial strength to make themselves heard or the budget for advertising their existence:

I am an artist. I have a urgent need to take from my surroundings and continuously transform theses things into something new. I will seek out different perspectives in an effort to understand or feel more connected to the things that I don't understand. And when I do gain a new perspective and understanding then I have a strong desire to share this new found insight with anyone who wishes to be shared with, and even those who may not, because of the reward they will have behind the new insight. In my heart I feel that this insight will bring joy and clarity to the person I share it with and therefore allow them to grow in their own chosen path. I like to create these little moments in one's brain with my art that trigger emotions and memories of those who participate in my art be it in sight, sound or movement that breaks down the stubbornness that claims that everything is fine the way it is. I have found that when I am made aware of something, even if it has been clearly visible for a long time but I was not aware of before that second, I begin to gain a new perspective which allows me to advance in my thinking and start to see the connection of events, people and places. For example, I could stare at a flower for a long time and appreciate the beauty, but when I am brought into the mathematical science of the flower and the world of fractals, suddenly that flower becomes more than just piston, stamen and petals. For someone who loves numbers (which is not me), this person is then able to take his or her knowledge and experience of formulas and equations and apply it to his or her observation of the flower and thereby enhance the simple act of looking at the flower even more when he or she shares this information with others. By the sharing of this information from all realms of the knowledge ladder from math, textural study, color theory, science, poetic interpretation, nutrition study, chemical observation, folklore, etc we are joined together through our experience of looking at the flower. This is the power and mystery of Art. It welcomes anyone and everyone regardless of past and present experiences. Anyone can share and participate in the Art, for even simply viewing the art or hearing the Art one is participating in the Art.

I think the problem that we as the Artist have created unintentionally is that we have defined ourselves as Experts of our Art. And although we do not wish to abuse the term Expert with the idea that we know all there is to know about our field, we are forced to present ourselves as all-knowing Experts in order to compete in the market place for the financial support to be able to do our art for a living.

Through the support of reality-TV, Art has been a thing that is categorized and defined as very specific things and we have begun to celebrate everything produced, even the mediocre. When you look back to the past, as I often do in my studies of clothing, you will see that Art was something that was shared freely with others. Civilizations are full of historical examples of families sharing their knowledge of art with others and passing down their skills to younger generations. This sharing was done not for the purpose of making big money, but so that they could build a strong community and connect (or network) with others in order to self-subsist. When you take away these skills because they can be outsourced some place else cheaper and quicker, you take away the ability for a community to find the connection they need with each other. How can you communicate with each other when you've removed the universal form of communication, which is the Arts?

The Arts prompts dialogue between different groups of people allowing each group to feel equally represented as they contribute to the art or share their experience with the art, i.e how it made them feel. This equal representation is supported by the simple fact that there is no wrong answer when it comes to Art. There may be disagreement or an inability to see the others view, but this disconnect does not mean that either party is wrong. We need this ability to express our feelings during a time that many feel no one cares, understands or is listening. It is human nature to want to be heard, to be counted, and to matter. If we don't have that resource of expression, then we all shout at once and no one gets heard.

To be an Artist requires a commitment to the Arts. A commitment that says that I will do what it takes in order to be able to devote the time and work necessary to advance in my understanding of the Art I have chosen to explore. For only through time spent exploring and understanding the specific Art can one begin to transcend beyond the surface value of the art and into the very depths of their own life to seek out whatever it is that makes the Artist feel they matter and that they are a part of something greater than him or herself. In other words, before you can make something your own, you have to understand how it works first. If you want to break the rules, you have to know what they are first. Singing in a church choir is a form of art, but the art is taken beyond the surface when the singer understands the foundation of their singing and the history behind what they do.

When we realize the power of the Arts, then we will understand how vital it is for a community. It's time to start quibbling over who is the better Artist or what Art should matter and focus on how we can use this powerful tool to create a strong community that reaches out to every person in that community. Poor financial decisions made in the name of art should not merit a city-wide attack against the Arts. The Arts affects us much more than we think, even if you don't have a background in the Arts.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Shannon Bohn McCallister on 05/10/2012 at 10:22 PM

Re: “VCU Cuts Strut, Dissolves Student Fashion Show

VCU has another large fashion show which is run by the Fashion Design and Merchandising Departments called RAW. This is their juried show. This show does not get as much press as the Strut show which led to my thinking this was it for the students. But reading about the amount of time, work and commitment put into this show from both the designers and merchandising department the RAW fashion show merits much respect and more publicity especially to those of us on the south of the James who are not near VCU. The best description I've seen came from a Courtney on another forum to explain the difference between these two shows: "THe STRUT show was produced by a student organization who worked with local vendors to create the looks and entertainment aspects of the show. The VCU Annual Juried Fashion Show is the VCU Fashion Show because it is produced by VCU Fashion Merchandising students and all the garments in the show are original pieces by Junior and Senior VCU Fashion Design students." Even still, students should not be limited if they seek to go beyond what is provided by an education system in order to further themselves in this career or be prevented from establishing networks with businesses in Richmond so that this groundwork to building their own business is in place when they graduate.

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Shannon Bohn McCallister on 03/22/2012 at 11:23 PM

Re: “VCU Cuts Strut, Dissolves Student Fashion Show

This is such sad news! In this job market it is vital that these students be able to have as much "realized" experience in their field of fashion as humanly possible. The academia experience is not going to cut it anymore. If they don't have the connections when they graduate it's going to be much much harder to compete against fashion graduates not just nationally but internationally, including Paris the giant of haute couture fashions. Not to mention all those children of famous designers who will inherit the family business and already being prepared for it. These students have the connections right under their noses (fellow students) to put on the show without VCU support should it come to that. They should not let this obstacle stand in their way. They need to "make it work." Sage advice from Tim Gunn and the honest truth of the industry. It's what I tell my fashion students. I put together an impressive fashion/ art show at Dogtown Dance Theatre last November but it only seats 200 people. Still a bunch of specialty shows that allow expansion of creativity is better than none at all.

1 like, 2 dislikes
Posted by Shannon Bohn McCallister on 03/22/2012 at 7:58 AM

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