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Behind the Access Doors: Exhibition Coordinator and Designer

By Andrea Hayes, Visitor Services Representative

This second half of our interview picks back up with Exhibition Coordinator and Designer, Cameron Faucette.

AH: So, what’s been your favorite exhibit? Or do you have a favorite exhibit?

CF: That’s like picking your favorite child! Or your favorite pet! It depends on the year.

AH: Okay so this year.

CF: Okay, so I probably do have a couple of favorites. One of the things I really like about working here is that I’m working on art exhibits and history exhibits and they’re both very different. They’re similar in my process, but they’re also very different in how I approach the design in an exhibit. But probably my two favorites if I’m forced to pick are actually from last year, both of them are from last year, are Ft. Benning at 100 and We Had Faces.

AH: Those were great ones.

CF: They were probably my favorites because they both ended up almost exactly how I had envisioned them. When I design or envision an exhibition sometimes by the end of execution and installation it’s a little different than what I had envisioned or there have been changes made or comprises I had to make or typically there’s one thing that bugs me. Like I wouldn’t have hung that there, I would have hung it over here or that color is a shade too dark or I should have done a flat when I should have done an eggshell. They’re typically minute things, but they’re things that just bug me.

AH: They stick out to you.

CF: They stick out me and they’re just things I would just do differently. But Ft. Benning at 100 and We Had Faces pretty much looked exactly how I envisioned. And they’re both very different. One was a history and one was an art exhibit, photography. I am partial to the medium of photography. I love it. So that may also be why I love that exhibit. And Ft. Benning was one of the exhibits I started knowing what I wanted to do in the first conversation that I had with the curator, Rebecca.

For history shows, I try to create mood, not just a look but a mood of an exhibit. Because I feel like with history shows I want to in some way transport people back to that time and to historically put someone in that place, and I try with history shows to evoke different senses.

For We Had Faces I knew I wanted to do like old Hollywood glam, but what does that mean? And initially, I thought red, red carpet and gold and I kind of felt like that was the more expected, the more I guess predictable look and I didn’t wanna do that And this is where at times I pull my interior design experience. A lot of the art deco furniture back in the 20s and 30s that you saw, there was a lot of gold and silver and shiny brass, but there was also some pink velours that you would see in some old pictures and a lot of dark greens, but I felt like pink was subtle.

AH: Pink can be hard.

CF: Right. I’m one that a lot of times I see the exhibit in my head. I’ll have a color in my head. I don’t even know if that color exists.

AH: And that’s why you drive to store sometimes.

CF: Yes! You know if you go to a paint store it’s kind of overwhelming, even for a designer. You’re under harsh lights and you’re trying to look and it’s just…Well anyway, one day was actually [holds up magazine] I’m old school. They have them online. They’re getting so much smaller, they used to be three times the size. I like a real magazine. And I have subscriptions to several and I was looking through an interior design magazine they had a bedroom and they had a pink and I was like “Oh my gosh! That’s the pink! That’s the pink I want!”

One of the things about the [pink] that ended up being so perfect for this show it has a lot of pigments in the paint. So what that means is that it has a lot of deeper saturation of the paint, so when it goes on the wall and you’re looking at the art on the wall because of all the saturation in it, visually it’s kind of a trick with the eye; it looks further away. Again it’s very subtle. What that did with the exhibit was as someone was walking through the exhibit it almost made the artwork, the photographs look closer to you and the wall looks further back. Again it’s very subtle tricks with the eye. I didn’t even want to paint over those walls.

AH: That’s amazing.

CF: I think the William Hawkins show turned out really well as well. There were not a lot of challenges to laying it out. The pieces sort of laid themselves out. And there were minimal colors used. I did use some like the black wall and the insets in the hallway and I think a nice yellow in the mezzanine that let the pieces pop. So, that was another one of my favorite shows.

AH: That was a good show. I liked that show.

CF: I thought it was a good show too. I really liked the artwork and I think that helps to inspire me when I have a special affinity to the artist or the subject matter. And I really like his work and I let the art speak for itself and speak to the visitors.

AH: Last question, is there anything you want people to know about the Design Department at the Columbus Museum?

CF: We feel extremely privileged to work here. We feel a huge responsibility to not only design and execute the vision that the curator has for the show, but we also feel a huge responsibility to the artwork and the artifacts themselves. We display the artwork in the best way possible for our viewing audience. I feel like with art shows our work shouldn’t be noticed it should be the art that’s noticed and to me, wall color and things like that are more the backdrops, more a subliminal piece of the puzzle that just accentuates that art. So to me if people really come away really learning something or really appreciating something from the art and not really saying “Oh! I love that wall color!” then I feel like I’ve done my job.

With the artifacts, we feel a huge responsibility to honor the previous owners and the story they tell and we are presenting them in a historically accurate way and sometimes a compassionate way that doesn’t exploit, but honors that piece and that tells that piece’s story and tells that piece’s history and that we do it in a proper way. So we feel a huge responsibility and we love what we do. We’re always doing something different. Our lives change from day today. One day we’re working on this exhibit, the next day we’re moving a piece in one of the permanent galleries. We strive to make it the best looking Museum, not just for our curators and the staff here, but so that our visitors have an amazing experience.

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