Sunday, August 17, 2014

Building The 66 Kid Exhibition From The Ground Up

August 17, 2014
   Just got home from Kingman and I'm exhausted—but very happy. The book rollout for "The 66 Kid" was a complete success and I'm especially proud of the exhibit at the Powerhouse that is a companion to the book.

   I had the idea to do a show to go with the book last fall, and, in fact, drove to Kingman to pitch the concept to another museum in town. The director there turned it down flat saying they wouldn't spend a dime on it because the festival was going to be a bust. So I walked across the street to the Powerhouse and asked their director, Josh Noble, if they might want the show. Long story short, he cleared it with his board and we set out to redesign an upstairs gallery space that featured Mohave County photographer Carlos Elmer, a local hero and longtime Arizona Highways contributor. That display had been up for a decade, or more, and Josh felt the museum could use something new and exciting, so he took a chance on me.

   Here's how the first wall looked in May when I visited during the Fun Run when Ken Amorosano and I filmed all the video sequences in one long day on the road from Seligman to Kingman:

Mickey Campa and Josh Noble standing in front of the Carlos Elmer exhibit space back in May.

   When I drove up to Kingman last Tuesday, Josh had installed the LED screens but little else was on the walls. Dan Harshberger designed layouts to go around the screens for the six walls utilizing graphics and maps from the book. These were sent out to be blown up and when I arrived on Tuesday evening they hadn't been applied to the walls yet.

The 66 walls as they looked on Wednesday morning.

   Now the amazing part to me, is that Josh had never mounted a show before! But the kid (and he is just a kid) has nerve and he simply rolled up his sleeves and started hanging the show with a drill and a level. The paper hanging proved to be trickier to do and so Josh called a paper hanger from Lake Havasu, who drove up and literally hung the show on the walls. Here's the walls on Wednesday afternoon.

The 66 Kid walls as they looked on Wednesday afternoon.

   In the video you can hear me giving Dan Harshberger a hard time because he kept telling me I had to ask for the order and I kept saying, "No, it will look tacky to plug the book in the show." Frankly, I'm kind of glad he didn't listen to me.

The 66 Kid walls as they looked on Thursday at noon, in time for the opening.

   The people started climbing the stairs to see the show immediately and the exhibit definitely drove book sales as tourists would come down the stairs, walk right over to my table and buy a book, which, come to think of it, was the reason we did the show!

The view of the upstairs exhibition space from my signing table in the lobby.

"One of the greatest things a person can do is change his mind."
—Eugene Jarecki