Art Works Blog

The Art-Full Wish List

In the spirit of the holidays, we asked NEA staff members to submit their art-full wish list—it could be something literal, metaphorical, or even magical. Here’s what they had to say:

“For Christmas I want one of those Time-Turners that Hermione Granger used in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban so I’d have enough time in the day to read all the poetry books I’ve been hoarding, write all the poems I’ve been hoarding, and still have plenty of time to watch Stranger Things 1 and 2 a few more times. If I can’t have that I’ll settle for a long cocktail hour with Greta Gerwig to talk all things Ladybird.” –Paulette Beete

“The gift of love. Oh, and a subscription to California Sunday Magazine.” –Adam Kampe

“On my wish list: a genre-busting YA graphic novel featuring the talents of artist and MacArthur Fellow Carrie Mae Weems, comedian and auteur Jordan Peele, and National Book Award-winning graphic novelist Nate Powell.” –Lakita Edwards

“My art-full gift came early this year with the opportunity to return to the National Endowment for the Arts and work, once again, with the remarkably talented and dedicated staff that work each day bringing the arts to the entire nation.” –Tony Chauveaux

“I'd like the gift of time. Not, like, vampire-time for all of eternity but the ability to expand a day here and there without penalty (i.e., aging or sleep deprivation). With more time I could see more movies without swords and lasers. I could go to more museums without worry that my sons will touch, run around or run into great works of art. I could discover and download new music so that my playlists don't date me. I could dance badly. I could read books as fast as I buy them, but savor each one without interruption. I could draw on the passion of artists around the country for inspiration and grounding and not just on construction paper with crayons. Maybe I'd even write again. I'd probably write about vampires.” –Amy Stolls

“My wish is that every student across the country is engaged and empowered through an excellent arts education.” –Ayanna Hudson

“I would like to be transported to a beautiful library filled with all of books I have read over the course of a lifetime.” –Nancy Daugherty

“A $1,000 gift certificate to Plaza Arts…..okay…..let’s make it $10,000.” –Laska Hurley

“At the top of my holiday wish list: four hours of uninterrupted time with a book in a room that has a large window and a mug of hot coffee on the sill.” –Eleanor Billington

“Top of the list: a visit to Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which closes February 18. It’s an extensive exhibit that has, at its core, 133 of Michelangelo’s drawings. Not only does it give a perspective of his work over time, but because drawings are drafts of ideas, we’ll also get a sense of his process as an artist. Adding to the allure, because the drawings themselves are so delicate, they cannot be exposed to light for a longer period of time than the exhibit’s three-month run without fear of damage. So, it’s a combination of the permanent and the ephemeral—which fires up my romanticism. Counting the days…” –Jo Reed

“A 16mm Kragsanov 3 movie film camera and one full pallet of Polaroid film.” –William Maloney

“The art-full gift I’m wishing for is a bit on the magical side. I’d like to be visited by a muse in 2018 to help me complete all the half-finished songs I’ve piled up in 2017!” –Bill O’Brien

“I’d like to have the opportunity to present my art to appreciative audiences. (And of course world peace and prosperity.)” –Bill Mansfield

“For my magical holiday gift, I’ll visit Bois Sauvage for a crawfish boil under lights strung between Spanish oaks and talk with people about humidity and horseshoe crabs. Later in the evening we’d bring up Yoknapatawpha and let Sing, Unburied, Sing and Light in August hang out for a bit. Both books trace marginalized people in the state of Mississippi and examine twisted legacies of race, culture, and power. It might take Faulkner [author of Light in August], who dropped out of college, time to start talking with Stanford grad Jesmyn Ward [author of Sing, Unburied, Sing], but eventually they’d get into it. The works are on speaking terms. Someone would probably be burning citronella candles to keep the mosquitoes at bay and we’d listen to Mose Allison and Fred McDowell, but they’d get drowned out by the radio. I’d call a long-gone bar band from the Delta, The Tangents, to come over and set up. Take a skiff out on the bayou or maybe go down to the Gulf of Mexico and walk on the beach. Stars on the water are hard to beat. Having some time to sit in a boat and look at the stars seems like the ultimate art-full gift.” –Pepper Smith

“I’d like a bottomless box of beautiful papers and fabrics—the magic kind that doesn’t take up any space in my house—so that I’d have endless supplies for future crafting projects.” –Rebecca Sutton

“Atop my wish list is to find a way to reconnect with my mother whose dementia has progressed to a level at which telephone conversations, basically “check-in” calls during which I just let her speak her mind and tell her that I love and think of her, have become impossible. Like many, if not most, individuals affected by a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, I am longing for an alternative method of interaction to replace verbal communication. I currently practice my metaphysical skills to “speak” with my mother, hoping that I get through to her. I long for a sign from her, a message no matter how short, that I indeed reached her. That’s what I wish for this holiday season.” –Katja von Schuttenbach

“I'd like to get Dove of Peace by Pablo Picasso, but more than that, I'd like to have peace be at the center of all decisions, big and small.” –Carlos Arrien

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