Prior to the kickoff of the TCMA Conference, we went to the Blanton Museum of Fine Arts, where we got to learn, look, observe, and interpret various kinds of art! For some of us, it was our very first art museum.
Morgan’s favorite exhibits were American art and Modern American art. Her favorite artist, Albert Bierstadt, had a painting that she liked called “Sioux Village near Fort Laramie.”
The painting featured a native encampment in 1859 that was centered around a sense of calmness and was overall, a beautiful, timeless piece. I can understand why Morgan liked the piece, as well as the artist!
Isabel admired Cilado Meireles’ artwork called, “How to Build Cathedrals” which was created in 1987 and composed of 600,000 coins, 800 communion wafers, 2,000 cattle bones, 80 paving stones, and black cloth. This piece was probably the piece that everyone had different interpretations of, which again, is the beauty of art!
The cattle bones were hanging from the top, almost like a ceiling, while the coins were scattered around the bottom, and the wafers acted like a spine from pennies to the bones. It was overall a very dynamic and intriguing piece.
Jessica loved the beautiful Ellsworth Kelly Chapel, which I believe was another of the group’s favorites! It was comprised of a circle of squares and a sun-colored glass that had all the vibrant colors.
When the sun shined through, it was even more beautiful! Its walls were decorated with Ellingworth black and white paintings that brought out the colored glass.
Whether a piece is simplistic, challenging, controversial, disruptive, or detailed, we learned it’s ultimately up to the viewer on their take always of art.
Clay Pit, Jessica Cuevas
We then ventured to a neat Indian cuisine restaurant, Clay Pit, for lunch. For many of us, it was our first time having an Indian dish. Our appetizers consisted of Naan, Samosas, and Papadum which was like a flattened-out tortilla with lentils.
The appetizers were delicious, but we mostly enjoyed our flavorful and savory meals which ranged from medium spiced Butter Chicken to Chicken Kabobs and Coconut Curry Chicken. One of the great things about traveling with LEAP is that they encourage and provide us with opportunities to try new things.
Texas City Management Association, by Isabel Behm
Once we finished our delicious lunch in Austin, we began to make our way back to Bastrop to kick off the Texas City Managers Association Conference. On the drive into the resort where the conference was being held, we were met with a beautiful scenery surrounded by nature.
The first event we attended was Career Development. The presenter, Larry Gilley, is Vice President and Executive Recruit of Strategic Government Resources.
We also heard from four panelists, Matt Mueller (Town Manager of Little Elm), James Childress (Town manager of Flower Mound), Dalton Rice (City Manager of Morgan’s Point Resort), and Chrystal Davis (Assistant City Manager of Carrolton).
The recurring theme of this session was how to strengthen your resume, as well as your interviewing skills. We got to hear first-hand about what these specific city managers looked for and how exactly they dealt with balancing and managing their workload. Some of the main points of the presentation were to get to know the position you’re applying for prior to an interview by either reviewing the city’s website as well as their city council members and knowing why you are the right fit for the position itself.
When the panelists were given time to speak, they gave countless pieces of advice about how exactly to be successful in those positions. The biggest piece of advice that stood out to me was the advice given by Chrystal Davis. She stressed the importance of being able to take time to breathe and assess your priorities so that you can have a work-life balance and be able to manage your home life as well. Some other things mentioned were the importance of knowing your own personal strengths and weaknesses and being able to let your team succeed and learn from their mistakes. It was an amazing experience to be able to hear from these city officials firsthand and get an inside look at how exactly they managed their specific towns/cities.
Interestingly, we finished the night at a reception, where we spent more than two hours…
…meeting with people, learning new things about city government, and networking in the hopes of landing a job when we graduate!