I think the best thing that I have been able to do at the Imperial Valley Desert Museum, so far, was to get Jessica out here. I have never worked with anyone who had more drive and aptitude with a desire to achieve excellence. I met Jessica at the Society of American Archivist conference in Austin, Texas, in August of 2009. She came to the Turks and Caicos National Museum to help run the Afterschool Homework Program grant and in the process cataloged and conserved 333 archival collections.
Read this for nostalgia.
In January, I hired Jessica as a curator to move the re-curation of the Imperial Valley College Archaeology Collection forward. But because of her willingness to take on any project everything is moving forward.
Yesterday, we hosted a hands-on coiled-clay art tabled at the El Centro Arts Festival. We went through 100 pounds of clay working with over 100 youth at our table. Jessica made a connection at Kohl's while we were hosting a booth at the Mid-Winter Fair and Fiesta and not only did they sponsor our coiled-clay art table, they provided five volunteers.
Hurray for Kohl's. Their volunteers were amazing. It is cool that in this small community how many of the national corporations interact as very local organizations. Without them I think the community would be hard pressed to get anything funded. The Kohl's just opened here right before Christmas. We go all the time. I think it reminds us of home.
The coiled clay art activities are becoming the core of our public outreach program. The activity is tied into our ceramic olla collection at the museum, but as an art activity it integrates very well in the school system. We piloted the project last summer at the museum. This year we piloted the project at the Southwest High School Art Club, and we have now been asked to develop programs for Desert Gardens Elementary School and Holtville High School.