CLOUD and Me
WAM Collective member, Laurel Darling, helping piece together CLOUD.

I have thought to myself several times since the beginning of my college career, this is the coolest thing I will ever do in my entire life. One of these times was the Friday morning that I came to WAM to help install Caitlind r.c. Brown and Wayne Garret’s CLOUD piece for the new exhibit, Clouds, Temporarily Visible. I was in awe when one of the artists, Caitlind, handed me a bag of lightbulbs and said, “Go for it.”

For a freshman like me who is not used to being around this much art, playing a role in the installation process was an amazing experience. Seeing the artists as real people whom I could talk to was unbelievable. I am so used to thinking of artists as distant people whom I will never interact with, like celebrities. So, I was surprised that the artists were so laid back. I was shocked when they left me alone, after 45 minutes of gluing lightbulbs, for a Skype meeting. I personally would probably be way more nervous about my art, but they were very chill about the whole thing. Every time I walk through that exhibit I feel very excited that I had the opportunity to help with the piece.

CLOUD artists, Caitlind r.c. Brown and Wayne Garret, with WAM Collective   member, Kimberly David.
CLOUD artists, Caitlind r.c. Brown and Wayne Garret, with WAM Collective member, Kimberly David.

“Go for it.” A phrase with freedom coursing through its meaning; a phrase that Caitlind, one of the artists of CLOUD, said to me as she lead me to a workstation full of light bulbs, a roll of silver chain and a hot glue gun. I was surprised to be trusted with a hands-on task for a piece of art that would be open to the public later that week. My task was simple: glue the chain onto the tip of the light bulb. That was it. Yet, there was this underlying fear of breaking or damaging the pieces I was putting together. During my short time gluing the materials together I got to know the artists, and CLOUD, while managing not to break a thing.

This time I had with the artists provided me with a rich background for the artwork. I learned that CLOUD had once served as a shelter for someone while the piece was in storage. The space underneath the work was vacated before anyone knew that it served as a place of comfort, but the artists found remnants beneath the glowing sculpture. It amazes me to think about the life that all of the artwork and objects at museums have had before they are exhibited. The mysterious past of these items is fascinating and it felt simply wonderful to uncover a piece of CLOUD's history.

For a senior like me who is used to studying art in class and appreciating it at the museum, working closely with two artists such as Wayne Garret and Caitlind on their illuminating work of art was a wonderful educational experience. As a Strategic Communications major with little studio art experience outside of high school, I was completely out of my comfort zone. Perhaps this is why I felt so exhilarated after I was done gluing the pieces together. I wouldn’t have experienced this hands on moment with a beautiful piece of art within the confines of my comfort. As the old saying goes, “Nothing will ever grow inside your comfort zone.”

So, I encourage you to go for it, whatever it may be. You just might find yourself on cloud nine.