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Famous For Meats: “A Decade of -” Pt. 1

Every summer, we hire three interns to run Famous For Meats, a working agency within and under the guidance of Fresh Produce. Famous For Meats turns 10 this year and we’re using it as an excuse to talk a little bit more about the internship program. To start off this two-part blogpost, we asked our 2018 FFM writer, Max Hofer, to ask his cohort a few questions. Here’s how they chose to respond.

Before jumping into this tough, mind-bending interview, let’s stretch those muscles. Here’s a tricky one: If you made plans to go out with your friends, but suddenly your other friend shows up with a pet salamander in its hands and says, “Hey could you watch her for the night while I go out and party?” What would you do? (Side note, you ARE allergic to lemons.)

Jordan Otta: Um, let me think… I’m going to quickly craft up a portable tank into a necklace. I’m going to put on that sucker and take the salamander downtown with me. And I guess I’m staying away from Vodka Lemonades.

Tenley Schwartz: Given that I’m allergic to lemons, I would probably tell them I can’t deal with their salamander that night, but I’d give them a phone number of someone who could handle that task.

Max Hofer: First, I’d have to chop down ALL of my lemon trees in the backyard that I’ve be growing for TEN YEARS, but it’s fine… I would put the salamander in my Barbie princess dream house and let it go to town. Then, I would call my friends and say, “I’ve got a Salamander”, which is already code for “Want to chill at my place?”. So then, we’d chill at my place.

If that was a competition, I don’t think any of us won. Okay, down to business. What got you interested in the FFM internship?

M.H: My mom used to work for Fresh Produce a few years back and thought I’d have a good time. So I applied… three times. I didn’t get chosen twice, then finally made it on my third attempt. It seemed like a great creative outlet, so that’s what kept me applying.

J.O: The culture of Fresh Produce. It felt like an artsy, free-thinking agency. I knew that the way the internship was structured [as a working agency within FP]; they really trust their interns and that I’d grow a lot.

T.S: I think the atmosphere of Fresh Produce and the work that I’d seen them create. It seemed like an environment where the work I was doing would make sense.

Keep applying. Just because you don’t get in the first time, doesn’t mean you won’t later!

What did you look most forward to doing/learning?

T.S: I looked forward to doing work in an environment with a lot of creative people and getting feedback from them.

J.O: I wanted to see what the actual day-to-day looked like in the account service world, because in school you only study it on paper, but the opportunity to live it for 2 1/2 months is much more exciting.

M.H: Learning how to flex my creative muscles. Like, whenever I do anything creative, it’s on my own time. Now, we have to do it on the clock, so it was cool learning how to adapt to being creative when you need to be.

I’ve had to learn not only how long I need to work on a project but also how long it takes the writer and designer to work.

From the wide range of projects, which one did you really enjoy working on? What was your favorite thing about Famous For Meats?

M.H: I’d have to say working on Green Thumb Commodities [a specialty seed supplier] was pretty fun! It was a great opportunity to give them a new look and voice, and help them stand stronger and more confident as a company. I’ve enjoyed the freedom and trust in getting things done. Whether it’s writing taglines, coming up with ideas to promote a company, giving old body copy some flavor, at least for a writer, that stuff is pretty fun!

J.O:  Brewing Independence. This project gave us the opportunity to give back to the community and help students with disabilities. Famous For Meats helped me make connections with other people in the industry: whether that be my fellow interns or the full-timers.

T.S: I’ve been challenged to not just work with my first idea, but push the ideas I have further and make them stronger—that’s what I’ve really liked. I’ve especially loved working on the campaign for Last Stop CD Shop. I got to incorporate a lot of hand-drawn illustrations and then mess around with adding color gradients, which felt like a pretty natural fit for my sketchbook-centered design process. It’s been cool to design things that reflect the culture at Last Stop. I also got surprisingly into the research portion of our Green Thumb Commodities branding refresh project.

It’s really special that Ipso is a part of the interns’ experience.

What part/s of projects challenged you the most?

J.O: Timelines. I’ve had to learn not only how long I need to work on a project but also how long it takes the writer and designer to work.

T.S: Having several clients meant there were a lot of different design directions I was working on at once, and figuring out which project to prioritize was probably the biggest learning curve. A really specific challenge that surprised me was working through logo revisions. I’m used to creating something “good enough” for class assignments, but these are real clients, and I can’t just zip through and call it good.

M.H: Probably keeping in touch with the theme. Like when we worked with Last Stop, we had to find a way for the stories to encompass one main theme instead of two ads being too different that you couldn’t tell it was from the same brand or campaign.

What did you think of your Ipso Gallery experience?

T.S: The thing that especially stands out about working on the Ipso show is that I learned a lot about the naming process. We had some intern meetings where we kept listing possible titles, and it got pretty out there. This show could’ve been named Crunchy Crunch Crunch if we hadn’t calmed down! I think that was a pretty rare opportunity, and it’s really special that Ipso is a part of the interns’ experience.

J.O: Ipso much fun! (lol, get it—it’s so much fun) But for real, helping to organize an art gallery was such an amazing opportunity. No other internship in town trusts their interns with a project like this.

M.H: I’ve never experienced helping out with an art gallery and there’s a lot of work that goes into it. It’s trying to find that right theme/message that translates to an audience and gets them intrigued. It goes a lot more in-depth than I originally thought.

A quick piece of advice for future applicants?

J.O: Whatever your resume or application is, just make sure it shows who you are. I think it’s more about showing your character and personality than showing your GPA on a piece of paper.

T.S: Be honest about yourself and don’t try to show things that you think people want to see, but show the things you’re actually passionate about and actually demonstrate your personality.

M.H: Keep applying. Just because you don’t get in the first time, doesn’t mean you won’t later!

We’ll be sharing a case study of all the projects Jordan, Tenley, and Max worked on this summer. If you have any questions about the Fresh Produce internship program, or if you’d like to schedule a visit or portfolio review, please email Katrina Lehr-McKinney at katrina@pickfresh.com.

The Official Fresh Produce Book Club Punch Reader

A few years ago the Creative Team at Fresh Produce started its book club. Then, there was talk from the Accounts Team about starting their book club. We also saw the beginnings of ‘The Ladies of FP’ book club. What we’re getting at is that there are/were a lot of “book clubs” at Fresh Produce. We wanted a cohesive reading group, so decided to make it really official this April with a library card — ‘The Official Fresh Produce Book Club Punch Reader‘ [see photo]. Some have already got good use out of  it. This blogpost is only kind of about that. Unlike a typical book club, we read books/authors we’ve been curious about and then come together every month or so to share our favorites.

[P:S: There are three FPBC Punch Readers available on Kiosk Thursday.]

Here’s something from Brian, Katrina, and Hanna’s library cards.

How do you usually choose books to read?
My favorite way to find a new book is to browse in stores. Once I find something I like, I become a completionist for a while, reading as much from that author or in that genre as I can. For a couple of years I did a really deep dive into books about UFO encounters and high strangeness. This year, I’ve been reading a lot of books about underground music.

When/how do you find time to read?
When it’s possible, I like to eat lunch by myself a few times a week, largely because it’s a nice time to read. I read on the elliptical machine at the gym, too, but that usually means I’m not focusing enough on either activity.

What does reading mean to you?
Any decent writing teacher will tell you that you can’t be a good writer without being a good reader. I started reading for recreation long before I became a writer, but now reading is equal parts research, homework, and fun for me.

I noticed that most of the books on your library card are related to the punk music scene/history — is there a particular reason for this?
I’m an old punk kid, and I’m in the middle of making a documentary that has to do with the Sioux Falls punk scene in the 90s, so it’s been top of mind lately. And, it’s good to see what paths are already well-trod in that world so I can hopefully avoid them.

‘Graphic Design: The New Basics’ – tell me more. What made you pick up this one? [Your logo design skills are already out of this world!] One of my goals this year is to improve my visual imagination, so I’m trying to educate myself a bit more about design. It’s all very difficult to get my head around. It feels like trying to learn a foreign language.

IN ON THE KILL TAKER

Can you tell us a little bit about this book?
This is part of the 33 1/3 series of short books about albums. In On the Kill Taker came out in the same moment as a lot of underground bands were crossing over into mainstream culture, but even though it was released independently, it far outsold some of the larger rock albums of that year. Musically, it was a pretty dramatic departure from what the band had been doing previously, which—to me—makes its success that much more exciting. It’s a phenomenal album. I wouldn’t have minded if the book about it was twice as long.

What was your main takeaway / Was there a big takeaway from this book?
For me, the takeaway from Fugazi is always pretty much the same: Your most interesting work is always going to be the work you’re most interested in making. When it comes to making something—whether that’s an album or a piece of art or a business—you don’t have to follow the rules.

Hanna Peterson

How do you usually choose books to read?
People I follow on Instagram sometimes post about different books they’re reading. If it’s something that piques my interest I will save it for later. I also get recommendations from friends and podcasts.

Is there a reason you prefer non-fiction over the other?
When I make the time to read, I want to feel like I’m being productive with my time by learning something new. I know that’s not the right mindset and I’m missing out on a lot of great stories. My goal is to read more fiction.

What does reading mean to you?
I love reading and learning about things I’ve never really considered before, it gives me a fresh perspective on life. I’m slowly reading Sidewalk Oracles and it’s all about considering the magic in everyday life. It’s really showed me the value of slowing down to recognize the things I normally overlook, which has helped me creatively too.

THE ART OF GATHERING

Can you tell us a little bit about this book?
This book is all about the importance of having purposeful and meaningful gatherings. The only people who really teach us about gatherings are the Martha Stewarts of the world and those people usually focus on the food/decor, not the people and creating meaning.

What’s been your main takeaway from this book so far?
The category of the gathering is not the purpose. “We get lulled into the false belief that knowing the category of the gathering—the board meeting, workshop, birthday party, town hall—will be instructive to designing it. But we often choose the template—and the activities and structure that go along with it—before we’re clear on our purpose.”

Katrina Lehr-McKinney

When/how do you find time to read?
I “read” via Audible most of the time so that I can actually finish books! I listen to books while exercising, gardening, walking to work, or doing housework. If I’m reading a real, physical book, I do that before bed, but my problem is that I always fall asleep a couple pages in so it takes a painfully long time to finish anything.

BICYCLE DIARIES

Can you tell us a little bit about it?
I find David Byrne’s perspective on the world fascinating and amazingly normal. This book is a travel journal of sorts, where he takes the reader with him to different cities across the world as he travels to do his music or art stuff.  His writings show us a more up-close-and-personal perspective of these communities in that his primary mode of transport is his portable bicycle.  Whether he is in an American city or Manila, the reader is along for the, um, ride.  He touches on urban planning (which I kind of geek out about), fashion and art, to the socio-economics of communities.  Overall, he, much like Anthony Bourdain, breaks down cultural barriers for all of us with his open and unassuming outlook to life.

BOOKS BY MARGARET HEFFERNAN

How did you get introduced to her writing?
I heard her TED talk on NPR, and what she had to say about working together as a team really resonated with me. It reflects much of what I feel about the culture we try to embody at Fresh Produce.

What’s the main thing you’ve enjoyed about her writing?
She has written about so many important things that seem to resonate with me. Her writings are steeped in the experience of being a female c-level professional/business leader and call out systems that just don’t work. One example are the multiple structures in place across our lifetimes that set us up to constantly compete against one another (that is what the book A Bigger Prize is about – my current read) and how competition is actually detrimental to creativity and progress.

Here’s how to use The Official Fresh Produce Book Club Punch Reader

 

If you’d like to join The Official Fresh Produce Book Club, email us at angela@pickfresh.com. 

 

History of The Phillips Avenue Tossball Club

Original poster design from 2013.

When was The Phillips Avenue Tossball Club started?
Tossball started in 2013.

Why was it started?
We came up with the idea and thought it was cool, but we didn’t want people to think it was just another silly idea from FP so we told people that the original idea was inspired by something we saw in a big city. Wait, that’s how Kiosk Thursday started. The idea for Tossball happened while working on a rebranding project for the Sioux Falls Canaries. We all remembered playing lots of catch as kids and having a blast, but we don’t play catch together as adults. Which is a bummer because playing catch is one of the top things you can do. So we decided to start a club where people get together to play catch.

What’s the schedule like?
It’s the Great American Lunch Time. We get together every Wednesday noon at Falls Park West.

How many people were at the first opener?
20 people or so came to the opener. From week to week we get between 5 and 15 people. Everyone is welcome. Some gloves are provided.

How many times have you moved locations?
Our original field was on the South end of Falls Park West near the statue. Now, due to some construction projects, we’ve relocated to the North end of Falls Park West, between the two giant dirt piles.

Who is that man on the poster? Is he real? Is he the mascot?
That’s Spitball Burly Stimpson, legendary Tossballer out of Port William. He had a few good years playing semi-pro in the bare-hand league.

Do we have a team captain?
We’re all Captains of our own game of catch.

 

Art pilgrimage to New York City

Art (and art appreciation) is a big part of Fresh Produce and Ipso Gallery. It plays into a lot of what we do at the agency and inspires core ideas for our projects. Ipso Gallery at Fresh Produce serves the creative culture of the crew as we get to share works by artists we think are making really great work, as well as explore concepts of interest.

My family of three spent a week traveling between boroughs in New York City visiting some of our favorite art galleries. As a Writer / Public Relations at Fresh Produce, I help promote Ipso Gallery and publish a quarterly art zine, Sound + Color, with my husband.

Every couple of months, we try to do art pilgrimages to cities around Sioux Falls. But this April, we had the opportunity to head back to New York City for a week, after moving from there in 2016. This time we had a one-year-old in tow, so things were a little different, but we had a great time seeing some artists we love and visiting our favorite art galleries.

Here’s a few from our art pilgrimage to New York City:

1. The Hole
The Hole is a contemporary art gallery located in the SoHo area of Manhattan. It is one of the galleries we follow closely on Instagram. We’d been reading a lot about their show, Clay Today, and we were familiar with some of the artists in the group show. This was our first stop, before we headed to see the New Museum Triennial. Clay Today showcased a lot of young as well as well-known ceramic artists from around the world, including Francesca DiMattio, Joakim Ojanen and Diana Rojas.

2. New Museum
While we lived in New York, we made it a point to see the New Museum Triennial show. I consider it one of the best curated museum exhibitions and a great way to find out about artists from around the world. The 2018 Triennial, Songs of Sabotage, explored political, social and cultural systems. The art looked at these structures using very different mediums and some got pretty weird. Some works that stayed with me was a performance and sculpture piece, Co-Natural, by Romanian artist Alexandra Pirici. It featured choreographed dancers interacting with a hologram of the artist, based in Bucharest. Two odd-balls that I loved were Progressive Rocks by Nathaniel Mellors and a video piece by Hong Kong artist Wong Ping [very weird, but so good].

3. Pace Gallery
Did you know that David Hockney was still making new works? I didn’t. Something New in Painting (and Photography) [and even Printing] at Pace Gallery showcased just that, by Hockney. I’ve never seen a full Hockney show, so this was a pleasant surprise to walk into. The Chelsea area in Manhattan is a treasure trove of art with galleries sprinkled around a six-block radius.

4. Matthew Marks Gallery
For me, gallery-hopping is a great way to find out about new (and old) artists. This time at Matthew Marks Gallery, I finally saw works by Robert Gober. [See also: The Heart is not a Metaphor] The first thing we see is this model made of cardboard and duct tape. Bizarre, but I totally dug it. It was most probably 8x11x2 inches, but it stood out from the rest of the works on paper. I didn’t get it until we walked to the back of the gallery. It was a life-size version of that little cardboard sculpture we saw at the beginning. The artist had dug a hole and built this neat sculpture showing the entrance (lit from the inside) to a cellar from his childhood home.

I won’t get into the details of the others, but I just want to mention these three galleries because I saw some of my favorite artists there.

5. GRIMM
www.grimmgallery.com

Horizon Eyes, works by Letha Wilson at GRIMM.

6. Paula Cooper Gallery
www.paulacoopergallery.com

Bernd and Hilla Becher: In Dialogue with Carl Andre and Sol LeWitt at Paula Cooper Gallery.

7. 303 Gallery
www.303gallery.com

NEW ERA, works by Doug Aitken at 303 Gallery. [Image: 303 Gallery]

[I’m looking forward to sharing more from art pilgrimages around the Midwest. Next stop: Omaha or Kansas City. Email angela@pickfresh.com any recommendations you may have in those cities.]

All images by the author, unless stated otherwise.

What do you do when you get a month-long sabbatical from work?

A little over a year ago, Katrina Lehr-McKinney, Media Strategist / Operations at Fresh Produce, traveled across South Dakota during her month-long sabbatical. I sat down with Katrina to find out a little more about what she did while she was out of office.

Katrina spent two weeks facilitating discussions in different parts of the state, with various art communities. She was invited to fill this role by South Dakota Arts Council and Arts South Dakota to help in their strategic planning process.

Katrina Lehr-McKinney, Media Strategist / Operations at Fresh Produce

“It was a crazy four weeks because I traveled so much.
Over the two weeks of traveling, I put 2000 miles on my car. It was kind of nutty. I learned so much.” 

 
Angela: I’m so curious about how this project came about. Are you actively involved with these organizations?
Katrina: Over a decade of my life was spent in non-profit administration work. [Katrina previously worked with the Sioux Falls Jazz & Blues Society and South Dakotans for the Arts.] So, I’m still connected to a lot of these people and a lot of the things going on in the state. Jim Speirs, a former colleague, now the Executive Director of Arts South Dakota and Patrick Baker, Director of South Dakota Arts Council, are trying to refresh things that have been happening in the state for decades. So, when they asked me to be a part of this process, I jumped in.
 
A: That sounds like a pretty big undertaking. What was the end goal of the project?
K: I think especially as a state agency, it’s super hard to take a step back and attempt to refresh things. But one thing they wanted to do was to go around [the state] and have these facilitated discussions in all of these communities to see what is it that the arts council and Arts South Dakota can do for these communities, artists, organizations, schools and everything else.They’d done some regional meetings in the past but they hadn’t gone to a lot of these communities. For example, they felt it was very important to go to Eagle Butte and have a discussion because the state’s arts council was writing its strategic plan. They wanted to take objectives out of this content that they heard. They wanted to prioritize the content in such a way that they could create a strategic plan out of it.
 
A: How did you prep for this role? Was this something you’ve done before?
K: I was there to run the meetings, make sure there was no weird politics going on and that everyone’s voice was heard. Every community was almost a completely different conversation. So we have this saying at Fresh Produce, right? “Come on in, and make yourself uncomfortable”. Oh, this was really uncomfortable for me! I had run meetings before with work and our neighborhood association, etc. And I’ve been in situations kind of like this before, but not on this level. I really took it seriously and I met with a friend of mine who is a professional facilitator. He does this World Café facilitation process and so I learned more about that process from him. I thought a lot about how I could employ it to make sure everybody was heard and all perspectives were brought to the open. It was like homework for me — learning this process, going in and being really vulnerable but taking ownership of these meetings.
 
A: You mentioned “Come on in, and make yourself uncomfortable”. Were there any experiences during the facilitation that kind of threw you off?
K: It was a great experience and I would definitely do it again. There were some really great conversations and there were some really awkward conversations. And the most awkward thing was when we were in Eagle Butte which is on the Cheyenne River Reservation. What happened in Eagle Butte is that it was a room full of teenagers. I think there was a kind of misunderstanding as far as who they thought were supposed to be at this meeting. They were in this scenario where they were like, “Why are you asking us these questions?” I wasn’t prepared and I didn’t realize what it was going to be because that was my second day. I was asking them questions like, “Do you guys feel like you have enough art in your schools?” But they still wouldn’t answer my questions. So then finally, the Executive Director of the Cheyenne River Youth Project came up and ran the meeting for me. So, that was the most uncomfortable. It was just like pulling teeth.
 
 
 
A: I can’t imagine what that would have been like, for you and for them. Other than Eagle Butte, what was your most significant takeaway from this facilitation process for the arts in South Dakota?
K: The next day we went to Red Cloud, which is in the Pine Ridge Reservation. I was really nervous going into that because of the previous day. We only had three or four people show up, which was our smallest group by a long shot. But, we had this awesome conversation where they opened up. We talked about why more Native American artists don’t apply for grants with the state, about the distrust and things like, “I don’t want to fill out an application in the way you present it. It doesn’t make sense to the way that I do my art. My art is my life. This is not a project.” I mean it was just like, “Holy shit, I had no idea!” It was eye-opening for everyone that was in that meeting.
 
A: That’s amazing and such a special experience. What else did you do during your sabbatical? Did you get time to do any of the house projects you had planned?
K: So, I drove West across the state, went to two different reservations and then the next week I went to Leadership South Dakota, back in Pine Ridge. It was really great to be back there again from that Leadership South Dakota perspective and then ask questions like, “What is the culture and the art have to do with these things?”, because it is so holistic for a lot of people out there. So, that was kind of fun. And yes, I got a few house projects done too! We painted Oliver’s room and had a big yard sale.
 
 
 
The Fresh Produce Sabbatical

In order to make interesting work, you have to live an interesting life. That’s why Fresh Produce introduced a sabbatical program last year. Team members take 2-8 (depending on length of employment) consecutive weeks of paid time to work on a personal, creative, or community-focused project. In 2017, Katrina used her sabbatical to facilitate workshops for artists across South Dakota. In 2018, Kyle used his sabbatical to live in Barcelona for a month. Later this year, Brian will shoot a feature-length film.