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Norm Magnusson

Raised in Cincinnati and educated at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Norm Magnusson lived in Atlanta before moving to New York to work in advertising, which he eventually left to pursue a career as an artist. He has shown in galleries and museums in New York and New Zealand, London, Normandy, Paris, and all over the United States. He is in private and museum collections, including MoMA, the Museum of the City of New York, and the New-York Historical Society and has been reviewed everywhere from the New York Times to the Washington Post to the Utne Reader, Sculpture magazine,, and other national and international magazines, websites, and blogs.

As a curator, Norm has brought together exhibitions such as “FU,” which examined and illustrated U.S. fair use laws as they pertain to visual artists; “The Museum of Controversial Art,” which re-created some of the most controversial art through the ages; “Beautiful nonsense,” an exhibition of absurd objects and art; “abc@WFG,” a survey of text-based art, and “Abstract Evocative” a show of abstract painting and sculpture at WAAM in Woodstock.

As an educator, he’s taught art to underprivileged kids in New York City and overprivileged kids in Woodstock, New York. He cofounded FISHtheMOUSEmedia, a developer of educational apps for iOS, where his “Animal alphabet” app was honored with a prestigious Gold award from the Parents’ Choice Foundation. Norm serves on the board of  directors of CultureConnect and GoodJTDeeds and is the father of three wonderful kids, all of whom are especially talented at seeing the world around them with appreciative eyes and a grateful heart. That’s totally his proudest accomplishment.

Ten Things I Can’t Do Without

  1. My kids. My life was perfect; and then my kids came into it and, somehow, it got even better. They are so inspiring and trying and fun. Like most parents, I think, I love hanging out with them more than anything in the world.
  2. My friends. I’m 60. Single. Wake up every morning all alone and work most every day all alone. I love seeing or being in touch with my friends; for lunch or dinner or coffee or tea or kayaking or tennis or cocktails, for talking things through or listening while they do the same, for their patience and guidance and steadfastness. I love them so. They know who I am; they’ve seen me at my best and at my worst and yet somehow, they still like me anyway. What’s better than that? Also: they’re all hilarious.
  3. Opportunities for creative expression. Like this list. Like the opportunities that are available to me just by dint of being an American.
  4. My various communities. Friends and acquaintances, friends from high school or college who are politely politically opposed to my liberal goals. Even those people who are aggressively opposed to all that. Amazing people on various boards I work on, co-volunteers, folks in my tennis world, the people at my local supermarkets and liquor stores, and the toll booth person at the bridge. Parents of my kids’ friends, artist friends and that whole community. I love knowing them all and being known by them in return. Many are super inspiring, many are super kind, and almost all of them have a smile in their heart.
  5. Tennis. I love playing this game so much.
  6. The Hudson Valley. Been here for 16 years. It’s really so gorgeous and inspiring.
  7. My tools. My watercolors, my computer, my pots and pans and pie tins and 8” round cake pans, my smart phone, my car, my bed and pillow and kitchen table. Tools for how I live my life.
  8. A place to use those tools.
  9. My health. Duh.
  10. Gratitude. I’ve found, the older I get, that my attitude of gratitude really truly enriches my life. It becomes pervasive, and feeds more gratitude, and that, in turn, fuels joy and contentment and perspective and compassion and a whole raft of other things that make life better. I was born a white male in America, I spend my life making art, I have wonderful kids and friends and food and shelter and health. I’ve been asked to come up with a list of “things I can’t do without,” and as it turns out, it’s really a list of the things I’m most grateful for. What a treat to spend this extra time taking stock. Thanks for asking.

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