Interactive Art II: The City Museum

You may recall our earlier post from this summer about Meow Wolf’s permanent exhibit space in Santa Fe.  Well, we have discovered another amazing work of “Art-itecture” here in Saint Louis, Missouri: The City Museum.  Opened in 1997, brainchild of artist Bob Cassilly and wife Gail, the “museum” does included some components of a traditional museum: bug and bone displays, curated collectible antiques, art on the walls.  And it has also: a rooftop ferris wheel, ten-story slide, cave-maze level, a walk-through replica whale’s mouth and fishtanks, circus performance, several bars and snack areas, mini-skatepark and giant-legoland, and outside suspended gymnasium for adults and children alike.  In fact, there aren’t too many parts of this dreamland a person can’t climb around on.  I’ve included some pictures below (of the outside portion) that I took during a recent four-hour playdate at the museum, and I’d suggest a rumination on interactive work as a creative prompt for the week: what way can you, in your medium, explore creative production that invites the viewer in to participate?  All artworks do this to some extent, but where and how can you push the boundaries of invitation in your work?  Happy Arting!  –Lydia


Photography Contest!

Passing this along from the New York Center for Photographic Arts….

“International Juried Photography Call for Entry                                                                                 PATTERNS and SHADOWS  2017″

“The New York Center for Photographic Arts (NYC4PA) invites photographers world-wide to submit images using any photographic process (print, image transfer, emulsion transfer, encaustic, black and white, etc.). Winners will receive $3,000 in cash awards, be featured in a New York Gallery Exhibition, on the NYC4PA Online Gallery and in the PATTERNS and SHADOWS catalog. The Grand Prize winning image will be posted on the NYC4PA home page.

 We are very excited that Winners and Juror’s Selections will have the opportunity to participate in a gallery show, APRIL 3 – 14, 2018 at the JADITE GALLERY in the exciting Hell’s Kitchen area in Manhattan.


There is a striking photograph of a camel caravan taken from above.  At first glance you see dark animals and riders in the bright sunset the color of sand.  On closer inspection you see tiny well-lit camels and riders with the strength of the image in the tall dark shadows cast in the setting sun. In the same vein, dusk casts shadows on a flight of stairs creating a canvas of black and white stripes.  Just as powerful are shots where the impact of the image is derived from patterns in the composition such as the tile pattern on the Sydney Opera House, rows of theater chairs etc. Interesting interpretations of your own shadow are welcome as well.  Be creative – send us your best.


 Editor – The Photo Review

 DEADLINE: NOV 12, 2017 (Midnight Pacific Time

(Results are sent to all entrants via E mail about three weeks after the deadline )

Grand Prize: One photographer will receive $750.  The image will be part of the New York gallery show, the NYC4PA Online Gallery and the call catalog. It will be featured on the home page of NYC4PA website.                                                                    

·       First Prizes: 3 photographers will each receive $300. Their images will be exhibited in the New York Gallery show, the NYC4PA Online Gallery and in the call catalog.

·       Second Prizes: 3 photographers will each receive $250. Their images will be exhibited in the New York Gallery show, the NYC4PA Online Gallery and in the call catalog.

·       Third Prizes: 3 photographers will each receive $200. Their images will be exhibited in the New York Gallery show, the NYC4PA Online Gallery and in the call catalog.

·       Jurors’ Selections: 15 additional images will be exhibited in the New York Gallery show, the NYC4PA Online Gallery and in the call catalog.

·       Honorable Mention: 20 additional images will be exhibited in the Online Gallery and listed in the call catalog.

 *All Prize Winners, Juror Selections and Honorable Mentions will receive an NYC4PA certificate.


This Call for Entries is open worldwide to both amateur and professional photographers.  NYC4PA invites photographers working in all mediums, styles and schools of thought to participate. Experimental and mixed techniques are welcome. Only 2-D work is eligible.



Stephen Perloff is the founder and editor of The Photo Review, and editor of The Photograph Collector.  He has taught photography at numerous colleges and universities and has been the recipient of two grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Sol Mednick Award, the first annual Vanguard Award from the Philadelphia Center for the Photographic Image, and the Colin Ford Award for Curatorship from the Royal Photographic Society.

Stephen is regarded as an expert in the photographic art market. His articles are reproduced in dozens of journals including American Photo, Town & Country, Silvershotz, and the website Le Journal de la Photographie. He has been called on as an expert for The New York Times and several other publications, He has also written several essays and introductions for photography books. He is a long-time member of the Board of Artistic Advisers of the Center for Emerging Visual Artists (CFEVA) and a board member of the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts, both in Philadelphia.

His own images have appeared in numerous galleries, museums and private collections including: The Light Room Gallery, Philadelphia; James A. Michener Art Museum; The Print Center, Philadelphia; Philadelphia Museum of Art; and Santa Bannon Fine Art; as well as the InVision Photography Festival. In addition, he has curated more than a score of exhibitions, from the James A. Michener Art Museum to the Juliet Margaret Cameron Trust and Galleries on the Isle of Wight, United Kingdom. His next curatorial project, “Nine New Jersey Photographers,” will open at the Stockton University Art Gallery in Winter 2018.


The entry fee is $35 for the first three images. Additional images may be submitted for $10 each. There is no limit to the number of images submitted.

 Prepare your images as follows

 – JPG, TIF, or PNG files with the longest side 1,280 pixels.

 – Select a unique  name for each image so you can identify images when we send notification. Tea Glass1 Tea Glass 2 can be difficult

 – We prefer shorter names.

 – Filenames with special characters may not load properly

 – If you are working in Photoshop, and are using the image size screen, the file size indicated at the top is the size before any compression applied in the save process.  Please save the file as a JPG and then look at the file size.  It should be perfect.

 For payment and upload please go to:


All entrants to NYC4PA Open Calls for Entry, by virtue of their submission, are attesting that the images submitted are their own work and there has been no copyright infringement.  NYC4PA will not be held liable for any infringement of rights that might surface during the jurying or displaying of any image.

 By submitting you grant NYC4PA the right to use your image(s) for promotion and advertisement of NYC4PA.


Should your award notification or prize be returned as undeliverable, NYC4PA will not resend the notice (whether by the same or another method,) research your address nor make any further attempts at delivery, and your submission will be deemed ineligible. Please be careful when entering all your contact information.

 Cash Prize winners living outside the United States will be responsible for fees incurred for wire transfer if PayPal is not available.

 UNITED STATES TAXES – All exhibitors are required to pay tax on sales.

For, Non US residents the tax amount is 30% paid through NYC4PA as US representative.  NYC4PA will withhold this amount and forward the balance to the exhibitor at the end of ARTEXPO.

US residents are required to report all sales to the IRS. For total sales through NYC4PA of  $600 or more, we are required to file, and provide artists with a copy of, a 1099 tax form.  If this is the case, you will need to provide NYC4PA with tax ID information in January of the following year.  


As a submitter NYC4PA will include you in future mailings and announcements. If you would prefer NOT to be on our mailing list please log onto!contact and ask to be removed.


Our entry software has an address field for the state you live in.  This applies to the US and several other countries – if you do not have “state” as part of your address simply leave that field blank – it is not mandatory.


If you have questions or issues please contact us at  We will make every effort to get back to you as soon as possible.  We will specifically be available via email, until 11:00PM EST on the last evening of the call.”

Post-Halloween “Fear” Prompt

This Halloween, upon gorging on horror films, I got to thinking about things we are afraid of.  Vampires and zombies, to me, represent fear of dangerous hunger in one form or another, of addiction to something (blood and brains) that, by its nature, is destructive to human beings.


I thought about some other things people in film and literature fear: being trapped, enslaved, or confined.  Being lost.  Being hurt without reprieve.  Being without resource or safety.  Being at the mercy of something we don’t trust or understand.


Today’s prompt, just a bit late for Halloween but still useful, is to use your art form, whatever it may be, to represent a fear and explore, for extra challenge, a way to inhabit, deal with, overcome, or simply face it.


*A short story/poem/allegory

*A dance

*A piece of music/song

*A furniture design

*A cake or picturesque meal

*A piece of jewelry

*A part of a business plan that engages the weakness of a project (the part you might be afraid of)

*A painting or sketch


Happy Halloween Sunday Creating!


Call for Blog Contributors

Featured image is by artist Leonora Carrington (1917-2011)


As NOMAD grows and focuses on expanding and building the website, we also are turning to expanding the blog. We would like for people to contribute articles featuring creative endeavors from their own projects, towns, cities, and countries. So we are officially calling for those who might like to contribute to our arts blog!  Please email us through or feel free to reach out through our Facebook page.

Article ideas;

Events (coming up or reviews)

Featured (Artists/Writers/Musicians/etc.)

Performance Reviews

Advice (grants/scholarships/sales/how-to)

Places to Visit

Featured Residencies

Supporters and Collectors

Creative Social Innovation


Do not limit ideas based on the simple list above- we welcome any ideas that explore the creative world. Again, you can submit ideas through or Facebook with articles and ideas. NOMAD also wants to reach out to communities around the world- to build a strong international base and celebrate projects people otherwise may not get to know or see.  So if you know someone who is not based in the United States and may want to share material, please share!

To those who are freelance writers or employees writers and base your income on publishing for a living, we will get there one day.  We are currently expanding our team as well as working on improving the site- and arts-focused community is forming alongside this very blog. Those interested may even consider a future position at NOMAD as an employee or regular contributor.


Thanks for all the support thus far!

the NOMAD family


The Frustrated Hedonist: Writer R.S. Mancuso

“I am a Hedonist. I seek pleasure as a path to the righteous and good. Yes, this includes food, sex, travel, and elements of luxury. It also includes the discomfort you feel when doing the right thing, no matter the cost. For me Hedonism is a feeling, not of indulgence, but of the moment. That moment that leads to an ephemeral happiness. Happiness is not a permeant state of humanity; rather it is a passing time, a frame of the moving picture. The idea of Good/Right is too broad a concept to paint on a canvas, use only one ideal, or choose a path. Hedonists aspire to pleasure. I seek to capture those moments with words.”

This is how R.S. Mancuso, author of the new blog,, described herself to me, when I asked her about the concept behind the work.

I met R.S., otherwise known as Becca, in the Prescott College writing program.  She was working on a collection of short fiction having to do with the sea; she’s an avid scuba diver and her enchantment with all this ocean runs from the sensual (the smell and taste of saltwater, cobbled beachrocks, etc.) to the existential that the sea has always brought, psychologically to question for humankind: danger, aspects of the unknown, strangeness and beauty, pressure changes, etc.).  Of course, her interests as a writer/person are not limited to the sea, but ten years ago, at that moment in time in the program, the ocean was her entry point into the larger matters of being a person.  I loved the lyric imagery of her prose, which seemed like poetry to me, drawing me into her stories like a mermaid might draw a sailor into the sea:

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Lately, these themes and stylistic approaches echo in her brand new blog, which I’m highlighting here today at NOMAD.  As her above “bio” states, Mancuso is interested in how people seek pleasure, not sensory pleasure alone, but happiness on many different levels: the sensory, the emotional, the existential, and the moral.  How these components of the self interface to be prioritized and negotiated in any different situation are her concerns, leading her both into the natural world and beyond it:

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I have included these little text excerpts here to entice you, reader, to plug into and follow her newest forays into the human experience of “seeking.”  The site’s aesthetics, I would also mention, like a pretty mermaid, are designed to entice:

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So, let yourself be tempted this lazy Sunday.  Who knows, maybe your delve into the deeps of R.S. Mancuso will inspire some grappling of your own, fellow creatives…

Follow her here, at…

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Sunday Funday Creativity Prompt

For today’s blog, I thought it would be fun to do an assignment.  The reason it came to mind is because I’m taking a memoir-writing class, and, in the midst of the cast of characters in my life that interweave through the story of “me,” there is another recurring character that isn’t a person: it’s creativity.  When I think about the actions I have taken that have shaped my life into what it currently is, tracing events from childhood through my young adulthood, I find I have done many things to find a relationship with my imagination.  I have gone on adventures, pushed myself out of ordinary jobs, formed bonds with unusual people, and sought those creative practices that helped me to learn what I wanted to learn about the world; reading and writing, poetry and philosophy, listening to music, and then eventually, business, have also provided information on my path of inquisition around the nature of power, community, love, and love’s antithesis.

grown baby.jpg

So I drafted my recent memoir piece about my relationship with creative pursuit.  It’s not done, or I’d let you read it, but in the meantime, here is your creative assignment for the week, should you choose to engage it: trace your own personal history with creativity.  Follow it through the major events in your life and make notes about how this pursuit of your art form(s) shaped your view of your world, your place in it over different times.  Start with bullet points if you want, with the events themselves, major or minor but memorable, and try to connect the dots, draw trends.

Trace your own personal history with creativity.  Following the major events in your life,  make notes about how the pursuit of your art form(s) shaped your view of your world, and your place in it over different times.  Start with bullet points if you want, with the events themselves, major or minor but memorable, and try to connect the dots, draw trends.  Or start with the desire, if you identified it young (the impulse to seek creation) and follow how you learned to find it in different forms, how you were led to the one(s) you use now.

The purpose of this exercise is twofold: first, to understand how your drive to learn and create shapes you even when you may not be aware of it, and how important it is in directing your actions, if you have followed the impulse.  Secondly, this exercise can be a tool for reflection on your life through a lens that focuses on your relationship to yourself at the heart of it, rather than viewing your life through lenses of relationships or uncontrollable events.  So, it can help you get to know yourself better. Have fun!


*painting photos compliments of me, Lydia

Jesse McClosky’s Dark Daring

I met Jesse McClosky at the Millay Colony back in 2011.  I want to feature Jesse today because A: he has work up in NYC right now for your immediate viewing pleasure, B: I find his work fascinating!  and C: as I think about my own process of revising work, he is a role model.

“Memorial for Massachusetts”                                                          “Magic Cat”

Jesse describes his work as “find[ing] comic alarm in pop gothic imagery.”  His works intrigue me because of the narratives embedded in each painting, some of which are private (one about his family’s dead horse, Jesse’s obsession with shoes and stomachs, people he knows) and some are cultural (works involving horoscopes, myth, etc.).  The works are also so high-contrast in both color use (light and dark) and between bending line (swirls, curves) and corners/straight lines, they draw me to ruminate on the extremes of the universe we live in….and I like that.

“Lady With Soap Bubbles”
webJM-2.1.jpg“Birth of the Zodiac”

Also, if you couldn’t tell from the works shown here, there is a lot of layering happening to create such cascading/blooming effects…one day, in his studio at Millay, I saw that Jesse had started to paint over a major portion of a work that had looked nearly finished to me.

“What are you doing?!” I exclaimed.  And he told me the work just wasn’t quite right; although he’d already been working on this piece for quite awhile, it needed more texture: he layers paint and paper to create multiple dimension.  Because of the contrast in light and dark, even on screen Jesse’s painting pop from the canvases, but in person, there’s more:  see the two photos below, where I took the second shot of the work from the side to try to capture some of the dimensional layering.


j3.jpg“An Available Knife”

Obviously, this work takes a lot of time and patience…many stages of process.  And so Jesse has more than one work in progress at once, in a Bushwick studio so filled with works he has to unstaple finished works, roll them up, and stack them in the rafters to make room for more work.  Since Jesse paints nearly every day, staying late into the night, his catalogue is outstanding.  I’ll put just a few more examples of his work here below, so you can get a taste for what you can find at SRO Gallery, 1144 Dean Street, Brooklyn, weekends, 12-6, and weekdays by appointment.  You can also find him here:

If you ever think you’ve spent too much time on a work, in search of the right rendering for YOUR meaning, let these works assure you otherwise.  -Lydia

“Bird Fountain”                                                                        “Escape Into Life”
“OCD: The Art of Obsession”
download.jpgimages.jpg                                                                             “New World Nightmares”                                                “Tudor Rose, Pumps and Stick”
The artist himself.  Photo: “Wine Break,” by Christine Navin.
The author, Lydia in front of “The Birth of Astrology.”

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