Nina Simon

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Local scientist, curator, writer, educator, Nina Simon came into the KZSC studio to talk with Nada about her fairly new position at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History (MAH).

In May of 2011, Nina was named Executive Director of the MAH. Prior to that, Nina spent her time writing, consulting, and designing interactive exhibits for museums and galleries all over the world out of her home in the Santa Cruz Mountains. She launched her blog, Museum 2.0, in late 2006 and has received over 600,000 visits.

Nina is a wonderful addition to our community and the Museum. She is one of the industry’s most prominent outside-the-gallery thinkers. We talked about her goal to remake the MAH as the primary cultural touchstone of the Santa Cruz community that best embodies our unique cultural vibe.

How does one go about “remaking” a museum and what is involved? In her blog, Museum 2.0, Nina explains that to remake the museum experience, one must get more active participation. This is in alignement with contemporary art theory. We talked about how her ideas relate and were inspired by Tim O’Reilly’s definition of Web 2.0. Without getting into the nitty gritty,  Nina explained that the core her work is the simple idea that more participation creates a better cultural institution and/or art piece.

From these ideas, in 2010, Nina published, The Participatory Museum. This book is a comprehensive, practical guide to visitor and staff participation in cultural institutions. This is how she and MAH staff are remaking of our Museum.

Lastly, we discussed the whole slew of upcoming events happening at the museum: STARS,  to the newly instituted Third Friday events. and the four new exhibitions going up December 17th; the Rydell Winners, the Espresso Police, Futzie Nutzle, the Butterfly Effect.

December 10th is the Museum’s 20th annual fundraising gala, STARS. This event features an art auction, culinary fare and dancing. All proceeds support the Museum’s exhibitions, collections, events and educational programs throughout the year. This year’s them is the “Roaring 20s” so get out your flapper dresses and Zoot suits. Get your tickets fast, this event always sells out.

To hear our broadcast in its entirety, please click the gray ‘play’ button below:

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Here’s the video taken during our show with an iPad2:

Rydell Award Winners: December 17, 2011–March 18, 2011
This is the third in the series of exhibitions that feature the works of the Rydell Visual Art Fellowship recipients. After Roy Rydell’s death — two years after his wife Frances died — their estate was bequeathed to the Community Foundation to establish a fund that would be used to give financial support to help local artists.

The 2011 Rydell fellows are:

  • Andrea Borsuk, a Cabrillo College instructor whose paintings deal with images of feminine beauty and feminism in often humorous contexts.
  • Andy Ruble, an instructor at Foothill College and a ceramicist whose sculptures embrace both natural and architectural forms.
  • Tim Craighead, an abstract artist who is also a lecturer at UC Santa Cruz
  • Victoria May, whose provocative work includes handmade pieces such as garments and headgear often with psychological or socio-political themes

The Espresso Police: December 17, 2011–March 18, 2011
Café Pergolesi, the first generation of modern coffee shops in Santa Cruz, was founded by Frank and Judy Foreman. In conjunction with Futzie Nutzle, this installation will serve as a gallery/café with a performative bent.  The Espresso Police will make unannounced visits and offer coffee to Museum visitors throughout the exhibition. There will be musical performances.

Futzie Nutzle: December 17, 2011–March 18, 2011
Artist Futzie Nutzle, aka Bruce Kleinsmith, is an arts activist who helped make Santa Cruz the rich artist-oriented city it is today. This exhibition highlights his drawings and assemblages, some of which have been collected by and featured in the Museum of Modern Art, Rolling Stone Magazine and The Japan Times.

The Butterfly Effect: December 17, 2011-March 18 2011
Can the flutter of a butterfly’s wings set off atmospheric changes that alter events? Graham’s photographic installation allows you to step into a world of light drawings, hanging scrolls, magnifying glasses and specimens for close observation. Artist and curator Shelby Graham creates a delicate installation of fragile wings that can melt when held too close to the light.

All You Need is Love: March 31, 2012–July 8, 2012
This museum-wide exhibition will invite visitors to explore the many ways that love is manifest in our everyday lives. The artworks and historical objects will reflect everything from passionate love stories to love gone wrong to the fierce love between mother and child. The exhibition will include extraordinary artworks by over thirty artists.