Ямар нэг туршлага (What an Experience)
June 11th, 2014
Anyone read Mongolian?
Me either, which is why I had trouble finding 976 Art Gallery, an incredible contemporary art gem in Ulaanbaatar last week.
(Knowing it is near the Ramada is incredibly helpful.)
I persevered, however, to meet Gantuya Badamgarav, the owner of the gallery as well as the Director and Founder of the Mongolian Contemporary Arts Support Association. She was lovely, the gallery was incredible (an amazing show by Enkhbold Togmidshiirev had just gone up), and the artists were top notch.
Would it be crazy, Gana asked me two days before my visit, to plan some sort of talk on the business of art for the artists?
This talk–about 30 minutes of remarks summarizing the business education I provide to students at CCAD and working artists through Minerva Financial Arts and nearly two hours of Q&A–marked my first lecture in Mongolia, my first lecture with a live translator, and the first lecture I’ve given after sleeping in a ger.
And it was incredible.
Just under 20 contemporary artists joined us in a conference room near the gallery for several hours to talk about business challenges artists face.
Some of the challenges were unique to Mongolia; most were universal.
Artists asked about strategies for pricing work, the challenges of long-term planning in the face of inherent uncertainties, the landscape of art education in the United states, and sources of funding for the arts.
By engaging in an active dialogue and listening to the emotion behind their questions, I’m certain I learned more from the participants than they did from me.
In fact, the experience was so edifying in so many ways, I’m still processing it. (And how wonderful to reflect upon the experience as I listen to Mohanik‘s latest album. Two of the four band members joined us for the talk.)
But even without fully processing the experience, I know it was incredible. And I am incredibly indebted to Gana and the entire room of participants for the transformative effect the experience had on me.