‘The Museum of Goodbye’
May 19-June 23
The Creativity Caravan
28 South Fullerton Ave.
Opening reception Friday,
Art Walk: Friday, May 19, 6-9 p.m.
By GWEN OREL
An old cigarette machine dispenses tiny how-to books.
The owners of Creativity Caravan bought it off Craigslist.
The whimsy and the self-investigation implicit in the little books are hallmarks of the studio-workshop-gallery.
Before they bought it and moved it to Montclair, the machine dispensed poetry, Amy Tingle and Maya Stein explained.
Their workshop-studio-gallery space also holds a pushcart labeled with the business name,“Creativity Caravan,” with three small typewriters on top of it. Propped against one of the typewriters is a card that reads:
“I love you because you know the difference.”
Tingle and Stein were busy painting the walls a marmalade color when they spoke, getting the shop ready for its first participation in the Montclair Art Walk on Friday, May 19, from 6 to 9.
The bi-annual event includes more than 30 venues, only some of which are art galleries, displaying art in Montclair Center, encouraging patrons to stroll, shop, and enjoy.
“The Museum of Goodbye: An Exhibition of Surrender, Release, Desertion, and Letting Go” has its opening reception in the art walk, from 6 to 9 p.m., and will remain up through Sunday, June 23.
The Museum of Goodbye invited artists to explore Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler Ross’s Five Stages of Grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, and to create a piece in response, using personal objects. The exhibit was designed in partnership with Nicole Okumu, and includes work from 25 artists in seven states.
Stein said that grief was especially relevant for many after the election of 2016. “For a lot of people, hope has been swept away. It’s important to keep talking about it, not just lingering in anger.”
Artists were excited to participate, Tingle said, sometimes adding that they already had a piece on the theme: “It’s a topic not done often.”
“The Museum of Goodbye,” said Stein, will encourage people to have conversations, and deepen their compassion: “Someone grieving a pet can have the same force as someone grieving a parent.”
During the month “The Museum of Goodbye” is up, Creativity Caravan will hold related events, including a reading series, a music performance, and an art therapist workshop on making altered books.
Before opening doors on South Fullerton Avenue in January, Creativity Caravan existed as a pop-up and roving business. “There is a real caravan parked in our driveway,” said Tingle. She and Stein live in Nutley.
The women wanted to have a brick-and-mortar store to have a deeper interaction with the community, they said.
Having a store allows them to do explore different kinds of teaching: to kids, adults, individuals and the community, said Stein.
Tingle agreed: “It’s igniting creativity in a broad and narrow sense.” They call their space an “imaginarium.”
Creativity Caravan holds drop-in workshops and classes, such as the monthly “social sketch,” a collaborative program where one person starts a work and others join in. Stein said, “It’s letting go of what you started with.” “There could be a doodle, with a bit of collage, then paint,” Tingle said.
Creativity Caravan also holds a “letter lounge” once a month, and provides all the tools of letter-writing. At At Creativity Caravan, Tingle said, they try to “give people a taste of how they can be creative.” Stein said, “People lose their creative confidence as they get older.” The ingenuity people bring to their daily lives is creative, she said. Reminding people of their own creativity is Creativity Caravan’s goal.