Friday, June 20, 2014

City Hall Show!

I'm happy to announce I am included in Without the Wall, a group show curated by Treacy Ziegler. This show will be on display on the second floor of Philadelphia City Hall, right outside the Mayor's offices. The opening is Wednesday June 25, 5-7 pm. Can you guess which piece is mine in this photo? :-)

Ziegler invited a number of  professional artists to create artwork which she then paired with artwork made by her students who are inmates in a New York prison. “Ziegler’s curatorial play further blurs the line between professional and self-taught art,” says Helen Haynes, the City’s new Chief Cultural Officer. “But what she’s also doing in her comparisons, whether it’s her intention or not, is to allow us to recognize through the prism of art - within the darkest of settings such as a prison - there can be an uplifting display of human potential.” You can read more about the show by clicking here.

Without the Wall
June 25-August 22, 2014
Opening Reception: June 25 5-7 pm
Second floor, NE corner
Philadelphia City Hall
1401 John F Kennedy Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 686-1776

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Newly armed with my MFA I have actually already gotten a college teaching job at Montgomery County Community College, which will start in the Fall. In the meantime, I am teaching a few summer courses at a wonderful neighborhood art center. The first Life Drawing class started last night and it went great: excellent model, talented hard-working students, good energy all around!

"Bryan and His Shadow" charcoal 2014 NBMiller

But I haven't taught studio art to adults in about three years and I forgot how exhausting it is! It doesn't seem like it should be so tiring, in fact, the teacher of the class across the hall seemed to spend a lot of time sitting out in the hallway playing on his iPad, and I know he is beloved by his students. But I am the "pour constant energy, thought and individualized attention on to the heads of my students" type of teacher. I thoroughly enjoyed it but I am exhausted! It'll be good to build up my teaching "muscles" again. Or maybe I just need to get an iPad and a more laid-back attitude? ;-)

If anyone wants more info on the summer classes I am teaching, two sections of Life Drawing and a Self-Portrait workshop, here is that link: 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Judge Nancy

Being a judge is exacting work but I have to admit I kind of relish the challenge. I must do an okay job at it as I keep on getting asked to judge various art events/exhibitions. Either that or else people just can't find anyone else willing to take the heat, er, take on the task! :-D The latest judge gig was last month, when I was asked to judge the end of year art exhibition at PennWood High School. Talk about hard work for the person with the much talent and so few prizes available to give! What's a judge to do? Double the honorable mention list of course! ;-)

Judging at Penn Wood High School May 2014  photo: Alyce Grunt
I've been in innumerable art exhibitions and other situations where my work has been judged and so I understand how it feels. Sometimes it can really burn, sometimes it's an unexpected delight. I have a lot of compassion for the situation. People's dreams and joys are so trustingly put up for all to see. I hope people realize that the judgment is just one person's opinion on one day, and not a decree from on high guiding the course of the artist's future career for all time!

Despite any judge's best efforts there is a certain amount of random chance involved: from whose work is next to yours, how it is lit, what order your work is seen in, time of day and the judge's personal tastes (no matter how hard she or he strives for open mindedness!) I always go through a show of work multiple times and in different directions, jotting down notes before I even begin to think about making a selection. But a different judge on a different day might pick an all different roster of winners!

This pdf on what it takes to be a good judge from a Scottish Legal group is pretty excellent, just substituting art expertise for legal expertise: