Saturday, April 24, 2010

An Interview with Sarah Meyer

Sarah has been an integral part of the NUA community since she joined in the early 2000s. The first lock-in took place during her first year here, so at this point in her career she has seen her fair share of overnight events. She had several thoughts and stories to share when she sat down with me.

S: "I remember [Maria and Rosa] were like, 'Can we do a lock-in?' and I was like, 'I dunno, what does it mean to do a lock-in?' I didn't know if they would sleep here or do activities all night. They kind of put together the structure of the different rules, the schedule, that there would be no sleeping, just art-making all night long. I talked to Tyler and Tamara about how some kids wanted to do a lock-in, where they would do art all night, and they told me I was crazy. But they didn't say that it was impossible, that we couldn't do it, so I turned to the students to help put it together. Then the next year, kids came back saying that they wanted to do the lock-in again, and every year the students looked forward to it so there's a different group of students each year that help make it happen.

How has the lock-in changed since it started?

S: "At first, we didn't really know how much food to get, how long workshops should last: they used to be three hours and they would start to lose steam and the kids would get more tired, so we learned we had to keep things going at a quicker pace. The first lock-in we had only three mentors: me, Jesse, and Kedrin, and I knew from there that we needed a lot more mentors."

After some discussion, Sarah and I determined that lock-ins seem to go by so fast and the students stay up so easily because they all feed off of each other's energy. It's almost like it's a group challenge to stay up and we're all working together to stay enthusiastic and positive and alert.

Sarah also made a lot of mention of the notion of "play" with regards to why lock-ins are so successful. Some of the activities are so simple and loose, such as bubble art or maskmaking, that we just revert to our inherent playful nature. It is a nice break from the more conceptual art many of us are used to and it is in part due to this relaxed atmosphere that lock-ins are such a blast! So we have Sarah to thank as well for pushing the original students forward to creating this great annual tradition.

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