Tbilisi, Day 2- The Workshop (and dinner)

The main event of day 2 was a workshop for students and faculty from several universities, including the Georgia Institute of Public Affairs and the Free University, which we toured with the head of its Department of Visual Arts and Design, Irena Popiashvili. Irena returned to Georgia after 20 years in the US where she co-owned the Newman Popiashvili Gallery in New York to head the Georgia Academy of Arts. She was recruited in 2013 by the new Free University of Tbilisi to build its program in visual arts and design. Now in its second year, the program accepts 30 students annually into three tracks: visual arts, graphic design, and interior design. The entire university is on the campus of what was

tbilisi 7 studio

One of several unused buildings on the Free University campus

built as the Soviet Agrarian University during the Soviet era. Some buildings are still empty and un-renovated following the end of the Soviet era and are now home to mountains of 1970s furniture and equipment.

Tbilisi 8

One of the undergraduate studios

The art studios, however, are lovely – light-filled and sparsely furnished. For an undergraduate to have access to such studio spaces 24/7 is a real gift.

Tbilisi 9 goat

This two-headed goat is one of several anatomical oddities in the natural history museum on the Free University campus.

My sense of the fluidity of time and planning discovered yesterday continued as we talked about maybe grabbing a snack, or maybe heading directly to the venue, which we ultimately did. Arriving slightly ahead of our set-up time of 3:00, the technical staff responsible for turning on the projector and such wasn’t around. Again, context is everything. In the US, I would have been incensed, calling people, trying to track down the missing technical assistant. But my presentation was prepared, the slides were on my computer, and I could see the cable and adaptor all ready to go, so I just sipped on some Nescafe and chilled. The lesson to be learned here, of course, is I don’t need to be incensed at home either – the presentation is ready, the adaptor is within view, and I can just sip on coffee (preferably drip or French press, not Nescafe) at home too. “Its all good.”

attendees 1

About 30 students attended my arts entrepreneurship workshop

Given that most of the publicity, including an appearance by my hosts on Georgia’s equivalent of Good Morning America, happened in the last 48 hours, the workshop was surprisingly well attended by 30-35 students and 8-10 faculty members from four different Georgian universities and arts conservatories.

explaining entrepreneurship

Explaining arts entrepreneurship as a discovery and creation process for connecting means with desirable ends

I talked about various definitions of arts entrepreneurship, introduced them to the Pave Program in Arts Entrepreneurship, and shared some tools for teaching/learning arts entrepreneurship through a case study of SAM: Student Arts Market.

Being the food lover that I am, the highlight of the day was my Georgian dinner. My hosts ordered a selection of traditional Georgian foods, including salad with walnut sauce (walnuts show up in some form in almost every meal), mchadi (a kind of corn-flour bread with cheese bake into it), badrijani (rolls of egpplant filled with walnut paste), spinach pkhali (balls of chopped spinach, onion, walnuts (it’s a theme), and spices), several Georgian cheeses, and piles of khinkali, juicy Georgian tbilisi 6 dinnerdumplings filled with veal, pork, or for vegetarians like me, mushrooms. I learned that the Georgian style of wine is aged in clay vats that are buried underground giving the wine a strong tannic or must flavor (I opted for Georgian wine aged in the European style, not wanting to overpower the taste of the food – or so I explained).

About lindaessig

Linda Essig is Dean of the College of Arts & Letters at Cal State LA and principal/owner of Creative Infrastructure LLC. The opinions expressed on creativeinfrastructure are her own and not those of Cal State LA. You can follow her on twitter @LindaInPhoenix.
This entry was posted in Arts education, Arts entrepreneurship, Arts policy, Higher education and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Tbilisi, Day 2- The Workshop (and dinner)

  1. Pingback: Effectual Thinking → Corn Muffins | Creative Infrastructure

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s