Stephanie Longoria, coordinator of ArtMix
The first things you notice about Stephanie Longoria are her earrings. They are striking, dangly and made by a local artist or purchased from the Crocker Art Museum, depending on the day. Like Longoria, they are charming, quirky and very much connected to the local art scene. A longtime Sacramento resident with a degree in fine arts and a job history that includes a 10-year stint at Dimple Records, Longoria is pretty much the ideal candidate for her position as the ArtMix coordinator at the Crocker. More than all of that, though, what makes Longoria great at her job is her sincere vision of the Crocker as a place that every member of the Sacramento community should be able to call home.
What’s the hardest thing about your job?
Just yesterday I saw a kid caress a sculpture. And I’m like “Ugh, you’re killing me here, kid. What are you doing?” I’ve seen kids do crazy stuff in this museum, like take pieces of art. We had this sculpture that was like a giant Moon Pie and it had a fork stuck in it. I watched a kid remove the fork and walk off with it. I was like, “What is happening?”
Has anything ever gone horribly wrong at an Art Mix?
We did have fire dancers once. Years ago. And they caught one of our stages on fire, so I can’t talk anybody back into it at this point. That wasn’t me. I wasn’t in charge of that event. I’ve had stilt walkers walk into the museum, which they were told not to do and then they did anyway. I’ve had burlesque dancers that have lost their pasties. Or performers that suddenly decided that they were going to throw things into the crowd. Like, they’re facing art. And you’re like “What is happening?” Why have you made this decision at an art museum, suddenly?” Or materials that people have brought in when you’ve told them no. Like glitter. We’re not supposed to have glitter here, but it’s hard when you have a troupe of drag queens and they all come and there’s glitter. There’s nothing I can do about it. And then there’s glitter in the museum, which is not supposed to happen.
Are there issues with so many performers vying for spots at an ArtMix?
Yeah. You know, you just have all these different groups, and they want you to use them all the time, and I can’t because I try to use everybody a little bit. I mean, I can’t use everybody, and people have to fit into the theme. I get a lot of messages from people I’ve had before who are like, “When are you going to have me back?” and I’m like, “I don’t know, but you’re on my radar.”
Do performers ever get jealous of each other?
Yeah. And I try to spread it around so that I have one group this time and another group this time and another group this time. … [But] you know, there’s battling fairies. There’s groups of children’s performers that are competing with each other.
Tell us more about the battling fairies!
No! They really are battling, so I don’t want to advertise that.
Do you have any advice for artists who would like to perform at future ArtMixes?
Have a web page and answer your emails or your phone calls or your whatever. Just communicate. Because the bands and the performers that hustle, they’re the ones that are getting the gigs.
After 10 years at Dimple Records, you must have quite the vinyl collection.
No, I don’t! My husband also worked at Dimple and we are horrible. We have sold most everything, except neither of us ever had vinyl. … When we first got married, we had a huge collection of music and we have switched over slowly to digital stuff. Who has room for thousands of CDs?
Well then, what’s playing on your Spotify right now?
This morning I listened to Echo & the Bunnymen and Bauhaus, which does not sound like good workout music, but if you grew up going to goth clubs, it makes you feel like you’re in a dance club when you’re working out. … Who knew that “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” could be a workout song? But I found that out this morning.
Do you have any guilty musical pleasures?
Oh, I’m sure I do. Well, it’s things like Aha. I have named pets after A-ha. Morten, Mags and Paul. It’s kind of a guilty pleasure. They were lizards and cattle. I used to show cattle and I named steers after the members of A-ha. … I [also] listen to a lot of jazz and so does [my husband] Aaron. And we’re like, “now we’re old, we’ve converted to jazz.”
That’s how it happens?
It is! You start listening to NPR and jazz and then it’s all over with. You are definitely in your 40s.