whitney stone: a saucy young hoyden

Whitney Stone

Note: this is the first in a series of interviews I plan on featuring on my site, about the various brilliant people I have had the benefit of knowing. This idea was jacked from Miss Souris.

How many careers have you had?

10 I think, so far.

What is your current title?

My job title is Exhibits Curator for the State of Louisiana and that falls under the curatorial department of Interpretive Services. Interpretation and communication is really what I do- through design and the cunning display of various artifacts, it is my job to tell the stories of history, through mounting an exhibit. What does this mean to anyone else? I do what amounts to theatrical planning. Narrative is the most powerful and easily absorbed method of learning information. I construct narratives from various scholarly sources (yawn) and objects and churn out something that will hopefully fascinate and teach. It is my dream job. Always something new.

With my job it seems that I am encountering new things and learning all of the time. I have worn a hard hat, a boardroom suit, welding goggles, a life vest, and a climbing harness in the process of doing my job. So you never know, the list keeps growing…

What project will you be working on next?

For the next few months (through next September) I'll be working on the exhibits to go in our new museum in Baton Rouge.

OK here's waaaaay too much information about the project:

The Museum:
A state-of-the-art museum highlighting the history of Louisiana with emphasis on the major events and persons who impacted our state and country with special focus on the distinctive aspects of the state's culture that define the Louisiana experience and make Louisiana unique to the rest of the world.

The Museum architecturally is designed to complement the layout of the new state capital as well as other buildings in the new Capital Park project.

The Collection: The museum seeks to highlight those aspects of Louisiana's history that have impacted the past of the nation and the state and those distinctive characteristics of the state's culture that define the state's experience and make Louisiana unique.

Number of Exhibits: 11 unique exhibits will occupy the new museum including a Changing Exhibits Gallery for new exhibits.

The Exhibits:
The Mississippi River, Louisiana Purchase, Louisiana at War, Huey Long and Louis Armstrong, Slavery, Civil Rights in Transportation (Plessy vs. Ferguson, Baton Rouge Bus Boycott,) Natural Abundance, Poverty Point, Louisiana Roots, Music, Mardi Gras

Your house is burning down. What one possession (aside from human/animal life) would you grab on the way out?

I have no idea. It's such a traumatic thought!

When and how did we meet?

A long time ago, through a mutual friend who I was dating at the time.

How did you end up in New Orleans?

Ah, how does anyone end up here? Attracted to inhabitable spaces below sea level? Alcoholism? No, actually I got my first "professional" type of job here after I graduated from college. It was already the location of choice for me though!

You've been in New Orleans for a long time! Is there another place that you'd like to make home base someday?

Hmmm. Sometimes I get fed up with this city, but I can't imagine living anywhere else in the United States in as much comfort and with as much freedom as I enjoy. Of course if I suddenly became very wealthy, it would make other possibilities more palatable.

I would consider retiring to someplace like Mexico or France.

What is the last nice thing someone said to you?

My Mom said she was so happy to visit me.

When I first met you, you unabashedly reveled in being an artist. Since then I have the impression that your love/hate relationship with the art scene has changed your attitude to art. Do you still call yourself an artist?

No, I don't. And you are soooooo right about the love/hate thing. I hate scenes in general- what ever they are about. I do however love so much art! maybe I relate more to craft than art when it come to my own work, but it's the emotion that is in art that can be so transporting.

I don't like it when artists use they status as "artist" to behave with theatrical affectation- or as an excuse for being poor at taking care of their business (what ever that might be) or as an excuse for being horribly behaved or rude "artistic temperament"

What is the last song that you shamelessly repeated more often than you'd like to admit?

Filthy Gorgeous by the Scissor Sisters (I was a little loaded)

Your great project has been the renovation of your house down near the French Quarter. What has this experience taught you?

One person can do what another can do. Even rocket science breaks down to simple stuff in the end. It's all human inventiveness.

I have so much respect in general for people who make things. It always take longer than you think it will.

What three tools can't you live without?

Pencil, Bicycle, Knife

Name and describe the 3 favorite vehicles you have owned.

The Orange Bug, '56 Chrysler New Yorker(wagon), My Bicycles...tied with Babe the Blue Toyota