- Learn - Make - Connect -
On Thursday, October 24th, I attended the Introduction to Audio Recording training where I was taught the different uses of various recording equipment and microphones by Patrick DeSimio, a co-founder of Cruces Creatives who helped set up and equip the audio room. For those who have been considering this training, I would definitely recommend it as a peek into the world of audio recording and your first step into it.
Prior to the course, I had thought that this would be an easy training and that the information would not be all that new to me as I had bits and pieces of knowledge already; however, I would most certainly find out I was wrong. This training would prove to be eye-opening as I learned about the different types of recording equipment and their uses, focusing on the physical elements such as the mics and cables and the digital elements of a digital audio workstation (DAW).
I first learned about microphones, primarily in regard to dynamic mics versus condenser mics. This was particularly interesting to me as I had dealt with dynamic mics in my own life without even knowing they had a specific name, and it was fascinating to know how they differ from condenser mics and what factors go into choosing a microphone. Dynamic mics, according to DeSimio, are durable and have a low sensitivity to sound, mainly picking up sound only from the area directly in front of them. This type of mic is particularly known for creating a grittier sound that complements rock music and similar genres well. The condenser mics have a broader frequency range and are also more fragile but produce cleaner recordings. Condenser mics are good for studio use by people with some experience in recording as they have settings to ignore unwanted background noise, while dynamic mics were better for more public use, such as on a stage, particularly in regard to karaoke and open-mic-nights.
DeSimio then transitioned into speaking about the different kinds of cables used, along with how to operate the mixer/preamp. Once the cable connected the mic/instrument to the preamp, the box would then amplify the signal to a usable level – without it, the signal is too weak to be used with a DAW.
After I had practiced setting up the cables and preamp, it was time to practice with the digital audio workstation. According to DeSimio, most DAWs are essentially exactly the same with perhaps just a few design differences, meaning that the free, easily-accessed DAWs can very well produce the same quality content as more expensive options. DeSimio suggested that one should consider GarageBand or Audacity as free DAWs that can complete tasks without issue. We discussed the potential uses of such tools, such as audio-books or podcasts where one might want to change the voice of a particular fictional character or add some variety to the sound of one’s voice to maintain interest from the listener. Utilizing the knowledge presented, I was able to practice a bit with maintaining sound levels within the DAW as DeSimio recorded a bit of Robert W. Service’s poem, “The Cremation of Sam McGee,” using a dynamic mic first and then a condenser mic to show the sound difference.
There is a lot of skill that goes into sound production, not only in knowing how to practically work the equipment, but also in how to use it creatively and innovatively to create audio productions that catch attention and produce the desired effects. From taking this training, the main lesson I gathered is that in deciding what sound equipment to use or invest in, the biggest factor is the main context within the technology will be used. Considering which situation different microphones or equipment will be used in can greatly impact which items are used and what factors one needs to consider in setting them up.
I thoroughly enjoyed learning about them while discussing the world of audio recording and its uses with DeSimio, who was more than happy to answer questions along with explain a few tactics used in making sure one can actually record well. There was a great deal of information that I had never even heard of in the training, and it was fun to be able to experiment and see how some of my favorite content in audio-books, songs, and performances is created.
On November 1st, Cruces Creatives showcased a new art gallery and an open-mic night for the public. The art exhibition, “The Distance Was Very Frightening” by artist Mónica Martínez-Díaz, was a beautiful and contemplative work on love, and it was an honor to be one of the first to view it. In addition to the main art exhibit, this Art Ramble also featured a holiday tree, decorated with miniature paintings and hand-made ornaments that Cruces Creatives put up for auction to raise funds. Combined with the fantastic music from the open-mic, November’s Art Ramble was fantastic.
“The Distance Was Very Frightening,” incorporating captioned photographs and a pink-and-red color scheme, was dedicated to the duality of love and how people tend to express it. This was explained by Martínez-Díaz when I had the brief pleasure of talking about the exhibit with her during the event. Martínez-Díaz expressed that the collection was inspired by an observation of how the vocabularies for love, hate, and obsession tend to be very similar, to the point of being near-interchangeable, and so the artist engaged in a study of how phrases could be switched around (for example: “This romance feels like sadness / this sadness feels like romance”) to mean something different despite using the same words. The second set, pictures of an arm in different positions, contributed to this notion in a more abstract way that is better left to the viewer to decide. Using the colors of pink and red on the walls and on the picture frames, the exhibit takes advantage of the viewer’s associations around Valentine’s Day to get them thinking about romance as they look at the art.
“Every explicit duality is an implicit unity.”
The holiday tree was also a thing of beauty, decorated with miniature paintings in wooden frames and stuffed hearts decorated with beads. Each ornament was hand-crafted by a volunteer at Cruces Creatives, making the holiday tree near priceless when one considers the love and time poured into it. Bids, starting at $200, came in to buy the tree for one’s own home, a treasure that will grace the lucky buyer’s house for years to come. Even for those not interested in a holiday tree, there were a few jokes and remarks that each ornament could make a gift to friends and family, accomplishing all shopping in one fell swoop. No matter what the winner of the tree does with it, it was certainly gorgeous to look at as it stood, glittering, in Cruces Creatives’ lobby.
The music, of course, was amazing as it always is when we gather together at the Cruces Creatives stage, featuring folk songs, country songs, and a few more modern songs at the very end of the night from various singers. After the deep-contemplation and appreciation brought on by Martínez-Díaz’s exhibition, it was relaxing to be able to sit and listen to songs sung from the heart, both traditional songs and original pieces, whether I was in front of the stage or in the lobby talking to other attendees.
Cruces Creatives has again kept its record of being able to create a homey environment while showing off various kinds of art. I look forward to next month’s Art Ramble when the feelings of the holidays have really begun to settle in, and when, for those who celebrate it, the need for a holiday tree no longer seems so far off (at least, of course, for the few of us who have not started to celebrate since the end of October 31st).
First Friday Art Ramble December 6!
December 6 is the first Friday of the month, which means it’s time for the Art Ramble! This month’s event features paintings by Michael Ponce, the all-original open mic, a holiday tree auction, and youth entrepreneurs from Kids Can, who will be selling holiday gifts that they’ve made.
Private Studio Possibility
Cruces Creatives is looking into opening a satellite site to help serve our creative community by offering private, lockable studios that members could access 24/7. The Private Studio Program would also include a membership to Cruces Creatives. If you might be interested in a private studio—for art, crafting, entrepreneurship, or more—please share your input at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HRCNK76.
Open Day in the Kids Room November 30
For parents and guardians who’d like to do some holiday shopping without the kids--and who’d like their kids to have fun and educational activities in the meanwhile—there’s an open day in the Cruces Creatives Kids Room on November 30. Under the supervision of STEAM Team instructors, kids can make stop-motion animation videos, computer programs that interact with the physical world, sculptures using 3D-printing pens, and more. The cost is $10/hr per child, and materials are included. For more information or to register, visit http://www.crucescreatives.org/event-3606920.
Maker Days Call for Instructors
From March 24 to March 27, 2020, Cruces Creatives will be hosting Maker Days: family-friendly programs where parents, grandparents, kids, cousins—the whole family-- can learn and make together. Sessions on each Maker Day are organized in three-hour blocks: 9:00 a.m to noon, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., and 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. If you have a skill you’d be interested in sharing during a Maker Day session—any form of making is welcome!—you can contact program organizer Sandy Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.crucescreatives.org/event-3631004 for more information.
Here are a few plans in the works:
Administrative Assistant - Lindsey McDonald has been approved through the Workforce Connections On-The-Job Training Program and will be starting next week!
Print Order - New trifolds and Lea W. - S. business cards have been ordered. They should be in the first week of December.
Finances - As we near the end of the year expect Lea Wise-Surguy and Margaret Neill during Tuesday and Thursday evenings to hunker down to wrap up 2019 finances and get ready to start 2020's.
Congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small - This past Friday Lea Wise-Surguy was able to meet Congresswoman Torres Small during a meeting with the Arrowhead Center. She was able to share the great impacts our Job Shop has had and shared future plans to grow Job Shop and eventually our facility. The news was well received.
Cruces Creatives is constantly changing, growing, and becoming a better place because of the great work you're doing. Here are a few updates to know about:
BRB Sign - There is now a "Be Right Back" sign for the front desk so if you need to give a tour, use the restroom, or walk away from the desk for more than a quick minute you can have a sign to welcome folks and let them know you'll be back soon. It is located above the Lost and Found area.
Thanksgiving - This upcoming week we're closed Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for the holiday. Have a wonderful time with your families!
Thanks for the incredible giving and work you do to make Cruces Creatives an amazing space for learning, making, and community.
This week a special thank you to volunteer couple Tricia and Colin Salazar. Tricia is an active monitor, our lead volunteer event coordinator, and helps with marketing. Colin has been working behind the scenes making our website more user-friendly and appealing. This past week they worked together to make our website even better!
Thank you to our fun-loving, hard-working, maker couple, Tricia and Colin, for helping make Cruces Creatives!
Charitable Crafters and Jardín de Los Niños
The beneficent elves of the Charitable Crafters are hard at work this season making holiday presents for the children at the Jardín de Los Niños shelter, and you can help!
To make sure that every kid at Jardín de Los Nińos gets a present, volunteers will be cutting patterns, sewing, stuffing, and decorating stuffed animals at Cruces Creatives on Saturday, November 23, from 9:00 a.m. until all the stuffed animals are finished (http://www.crucescreatives.org/event-3421444). You can help even if you have no previous sewing experience—there are roles for everyone. If you’re free this Saturday, you can join a great team and do a good thing.
Extra-Special First Friday on December 6
The First Friday ramble on December 6 will be an extra special one! As always, there will be a stellar gallery exhibit—this one featuring the work of Michael Ponce—and an all-original open mic, and at the next First Friday ramble, there will be two bonus attractions. Thanks to Dave and Mary Ann Robinson, who donated the holiday tree back to Cruces Creatives for more fundraising, you can still take home the tree and over 35 one-of-a-kind miniature paintings and textile ornaments created by local artists. If you’re looking for holiday gifts, you can also support youth entrepreneurs from the Kids Can program, who have developed their own products that you can buy straight from the kids at Cruces Creatives during the art ramble.
Facility Updates and Special Activities
Did you know we've had a guest intern from NMSU's Department of English? Emily Joy Rosa has been attending events and writing blog posts about Cruces Creatives events to help new folks understand the activities and community at Cruces Creatives.
In case you didn't catch the posts when they came out:
The Branigan Library Mural
Reflections: The Mesa Art Show
Reflections: The Basic Wood-Shop Safety Training
Thanks Emily Joy, your writings help bring out the ways folks can get involved and how meaningful it feels to part of the creative community!
Open Studio Art Sessions Starting!
Beginning December 10 and continuing every second Tuesday from 3:00-6:00 p.m. and again from 6:30-8:30 p.m., there will be open studio art sessions at Cruces Creatives! The sessions are open to the public at a drop-in rate of $5 (free to members), and the sessions offer assistance from artists Mary Diesel and Mike Kling and a wide range of donated art supplies. For more information or to register, visit http://www.crucescreatives.org/event-3620844.
HAZLO Program Update
Starting this Friday, a group of students from Las Montañas Charter High School will be working at Cruces Creatives to create wooden furniture and textiles for a clinic at their school. Special thanks to Steve Kanim for volunteering as a woodworking mentor and Dina Honeycutt for volunteering as a textile mentor. This project is part of the HAZLO Program, which provides funding and mentors for experiential learning projects that students propose. More information, student applications, and mentor applications are available at www.hazlofoundation.org.
Admin work was busy as usual as new programs were drafted, new Job Shops have been explored, and many an activity happened at Cruces Creatives. Here are a few plans in the works:
Yearly Party - Our yearly Appreciation Party is coming up on December 7th and plans are underway. If this is your first Appreciation Party, this event is part Thanksgiving, part Holidays, part appreciation to our volunteers, donors, members and supporters. Food and awesome people make this one of the best events all year.
Planning - If you'd like to help with this year's event making food, bringing in music, or helping with thank you gifts, please attend this Wednesday's 6pm meeting at Cruces Creatives. If you'd like to help, say by bringing in a dish to share for the party but can't make the planning meeting, send a message through Slack or email to Lea.
Slideshow - Each year a slideshow of photos helps remind us of the amazing community, events, and projects that have happened. As this slideshow is being prepared, do you have images you think should be shown? If you do please Slack or email those images to Lea.
Secretary - Josh starts this Tuesday and will in weekly Tuesday through Friday, 9am to 6pm. This Tuesday he'll be learning the software systems and starting his first tasks around the building.
Administrative Assistant - Workforce Connections has approved the Administrative Assistant position for Lindsey McDonald. Unfortunately the Executive Director position did not go through, but I'm excited to get Lindsey in full-time to help with Job Shop and facility management.
Other Positions - Given the ED position did not go through we are looking at other possible positions Workforce may be able to cover.
Alternatives - Do you know other programs, grants, or opportunities CC can use to build an administrative team? If you do please send Lea a message.
New Programs in Research:
Private Studios - Numbers have been calculated and a meeting is scheduled for Tuesday to discuss possible lease agreements.
Proclamation - Cruces Creatives was honored as part of this month's "Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande Awareness Month" for the work and support of Henry Hartig's and Raquel Madrigal's "By the Dam" mural painting and for the MESA Art Show. You can see Cruces Creatives being mentioned at City Council starting at 15:40.
Donation Area - Extra donation materials have started to leave CC. If there are materials you'd like to add to your areas please start picking those materials out. Between Josh and Lindsey our donation area should start clearing out and a new system put in place.
Finances - Congrats to the finance team for putting together the first quarter of the STEM Outreach programing reimbursement invoice! It has been approved and CC will be moving forward with our great STEAM programs!
New Programs in Research:
Key - The key for the bathroom paper has gone missing. If you happen around the building, in a pants pocket, or the freezer, please give it to the front monitor.
Project Room Art Show - As one of the shortest shows Cruces Creatives has hosted, the NMSU OutsmART Día de los Muertos Extinct Species Retable Exhibition will start coming down this week. Parents will be stopping in to pick up their child's retablos. If a parent comes in during your shift please help them identify the Project Room and invite them for a tour of the space if this is their first time in.
Events - When starting a monitor shift it can helpful to check out that days events on the online calendar.
This week a special thanks goes out to Margaret Neill for the hard work she's been doing as Cruces Creatives' Treasurer! Did you know Margaret comes in twice a week to do finances, and manages front monitor duties at the same time? She's helped Cruces Creatives get up-to-date and organized, and works weekly to make sure we stay on top of finances. Thank you Margaret!
Día de Los Muertos Extinct Species Retablo Exhibition
Through November 11, you can visit the project room at Cruces Creatives and experience a collection of paintings and collage-on-metal that area youth created in reference to the traditional style of Mexican Retablo ex-voto paintings. The children created the works as part of the New Mexico State University Art Museum’s “OutsmART” children’s workshop series, held in partnership with the Southwest Environmental Center, on the theme of extinct species. The workshop and the exhibit at Cruces Creatives are part of the binational project, “Species in Peril Along the Rio Grande.”
Kids Create Open Build Day Nov. 30
On November 30, there’ll be an after-Thanksgiving open build day for kids at Cruces Creatives. With supervision from makerspace instructors, school-aged kids can work on jewelry making, stop-motion animation, fiber arts, cardboard creations, and much more! Parents are welcome to use this time to take a post-holiday break or do some secret shopping, while your kids learn some new building skills. Early bird pricing of $8/hr is available until Nov. 23. For more information or to register, visit http://www.crucescreatives.org/event-3606920.
Handmade Paper Available in Painting and Drawing Classes
Makerspace member Trevor Bush has been creating lovely hand-made paper, and he’s generously made a supply available for free for participants in the Cruces Creatives painting and drawing classes (http://www.crucescreatives.org/event-3621204 and http://www.crucescreatives.org/event-3621219) . It’ll be exciting to see their beautiful artwork on such a lovely background as Trevor’s paper!