Sunday, January 20, 2013

What a Week!

This past week was incredible!!! The month of January just keeps getting better and better!

I had lunch with Louisa and went to the Paseo Education Development Committee meeting on Monday. We're working on coming up with some great things to do for Edgemere Elementary and Harding Fine Arts School. That night, James and I celebrated with Romy at Cheever's because she received one of the five spots in OVAC's Art 365 exhibition that will take place in 2014. This is a huge and exciting opportunity for Romy and I couldn't be more thrilled for her! All five artists selected receive $12,000 and work with a nationally recognized curator to create innovative works. This year, they work with Raechell Smith from the Kansas City Art Institute. Yay for Romy and my friend Bryan Cook, who was also accepted. So happy for them!

On Tuesday, I enjoyed lunch with Joy downtown at Kitchen No. 324. Not only was the food delicious, but the decor was smart. I loved it. Can't wait to go back and try another tasty dish.

Kitchen No. 324

Wednesday might have been the high point of the week. Every day was good, but this one was extra special. I found out that morning that I was accepted into the Oklahoma Arts Council's Leadership Arts Class for 2013!!! This is going to be such a great thing for me because it will help me to better understand what it means to be an arts leader and an arts advocate in this state. I need all of the free (and good) advice I can get, because I want to contribute in meaningful ways to SixTwelve and to the arts in Oklahoma. So, so, so, so grateful!!!

We also held our first SixTwelve board meeting on Wednesday! Woooohooo!!! It was so fun to get everyone together and to get to know each other. I had the idea of trying to prepare the food myself and tried to get as much of it locally as I could. I wanted everything to represent our goals at 612. So I bought a salad an antipasto platter from The Wedge. I know that's not exactly "preparing the food myself," but if you've tried that platter, you understand. It's just sooooo good! I bought the chicken, pasta and some veggies from Urban Agrarian, and some hors d'oeuvres and brownies from the The Prairie Gypsies in Paseo. So I should say that I really didn't prepare any of the food myself. Haha! I would have been responsible for the main dish, but Tracey Zeeck and James took that over when people started arriving so that I could greet them. Oh well, at least I can organize...and at least the food was delicious.

After dinner, we held the business part of the meeting and it went well! Everyone signed their board commitment form and we talked about all kinds of ideas. It was crazy to finally experience what I had envisioned and imagined for so long. I know now that taking all of that time to get to know our community and the people in it before choosing board members really payed off. I'm really grateful for all of the people I'm going to get to work with!

James - Sharing the Dream

Tracey, Arif and Trey - Listening Intently 

Ron and Tracey - We're going to do great things!

We held the Oklahoma Food Cooperative's delivery day INSIDE of 612 for the first time on Thursday.

Oklahoma Food Coop Delivery Day at Paseo Pick Up Site

What a great experience! I can't believe how fast the renovations are going now. If you blink you might miss each step. Not only has work continued on the inside, but we also had all of the concrete around the building demolitioned, moved to a big pile because we're going to reuse what we can in building other concrete structures this next week and dirt moved to create the foundation for the stage area on the west side of the building.

All of the concrete is now gone, including that little patio near the back end of the building.

This is where they moved it! This was done in two days by three men. Crazy!

On Friday, I ate breakfast with Romy, lunch with Farooq, and had a drink at Louie's (Midtown) for happy hour with friends. In between all of these fun meetings, I have been researching for the creation of the preschool, The Young School! I am really excited about getting this organized and planned out. My guess is that we will start the school in January, but if the building is ready this fall (as James thinks it might be), I need to be ready then! I know it all takes as long as it takes, but I am getting anxious (in a good way) to work and to see my dreams realized. It's happening!!!!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

John Beedon

When James and I started this 612 project, we both knew that we would meet new and wonderful people because of all of the different experiences we would be having. There's something about reaching outside of your comfort zone that leads you to new groups of people with different expertise. This has definitely happened, and I'm really grateful because with each new acquaintance and friend that is made, a refreshed sense of possibility and potential enters into our dreams. The irony, however, is that we are also reconnecting with people from our past. The best example of this is our friend and framer for the building, John Beedon. I met him at OU a looooooong time ago...I won't mention the year. Ha!

John During the First Week of Interior Renovations

John has been working in residential and commercial renovations since the 80s and really knows what he's doing. When James and I first bought the building, I saw John driving around Paseo so we stopped and talked for a while. I found out that he had actually wanted to buy our building too. After some playful trash talk, we started talking about the programs that would take place there. He and his wife have been a great encouragement to me, supporting everything that we have proposed.

So when John proposed the idea of being involved in the renovations, I told James immediately! I wanted James to have the experience of interviewing multiple people and trusting his instincts in selecting those we would work with, so it wasn't a fast process. Nothing is with this project, but nothing substitutes for learning how to do things by doing them yourself. It's in that process that you learn to trust yourself in your choices and that's a good thing. Eventually, after a few talks with John at Picasso's, James agreed with me that John would be the perfect person to work with on framing and interior renovations.

The thing that sealed the deal with him was that he was the only person we talked to that agreed we should keep the original flooring. We really wanted to reuse as much of the original material as possible. And it payed off. When we were pulling up the floors, we found that most of the wood was in pretty good condition; the original grooves (I don't know the technical term) for connecting each plank together were solid and the original stain didn't go very deep so we'll have plenty of room for sanding it down and re-staining. 

John and his crew have also committed to recycling as much of what we're not using as possible.  This makes me really happy!!!! I don't want to contribute to a landfill any more than we have to. John specializes through his own company, beehold reinvention, in green and energy efficient systems and tax credit assistance, so he was naturally interested in reusing as much as possible too. Angel, Alfredo and Lou are all great guys and I can see why John trusts them. Plus they are speeeeeedy! We're very fortunate to work with them.

Angel hauled off all of the old pipes and conduit to be recycled
after they were taken out of the building.

Yesterday was a momentous day, and not just because we had our first 612 board meeting (I'll write about that tomorrow.) The main reason it was so special was the fact that John and his wife, Kristin, had a baby!!! Welcome Ayrton Ellison Shamas Beedon. We're so happy for your whole family and know that blessings will surround you.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Picking Up the Pace

Since James and I signed on the loan, things have been picking up and moving along. I'm really thrilled! Yesterday, I went over to SixTwelve and helped out a little by breaking up some old tile that was harvested out of the bathrooms at. We believe that it's original to the building (1929) and our friend, Diane Cody, is actually doing some research at the Oklahoma History Center to see if her hunch about the manufacturer is accurate. Can't wait to hear about what she uncovers!

James and BC (friend extraordinaire) spent time hammering nails out of the original, floor planks so that we can reuse the wood in other areas of the building. Our goal is to reuse as much as we can!

This pic was taken upstairs in the area that will be removed in order to open up
the space and make the area a double high gallery!
Following suit, I took a crack at the tile...literally. Ha! I wasn't able to save every piece, and I have a loooooong way to go before I'm finished, but this tile is just too beautiful to throw out. I want to see if we can incorporate it into the new bathrooms or, if we can't save enough, to create a mosaic out of it to hang somewhere in the building. Homage to our history!!!!

You can see the piles of tiles in the background and all of the cement attached to it.
I endured quite a muscular workout, using that chisel and hammer, but every single tile will make the effort worthwhile!

Closeup of that gorgeous 1929 tile!

I have to admit that having a job and purpose really is helping me to sleep better. I was never scared that this project wouldn't succeed. I just experienced some anxiousness for the day to finally get here when we could get back to work on the building and the programming for the space. I'm incredibly grateful that the day is finally here! Now, back to work (fun)!!!!