“My mind has been in such a different place that when I return to my working world of museums and art I have ‘new eyes’!”
Jennifer Complo McNutt had a dream: to study under world-renowned dog trainer Sylvia Bishop at her retreat in England. The Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship helped make that dream a reality. After adopting a canine friend and attending a few seminars in the U.S., McNutt was ready to cross the pond and immerse herself in a world that may seem drastically different than the museum scene she’s used to. In truth, dog training and competing are two of her biggest passions: “With dog training your learning and experience build on itself to begin to understand dogs and the way they learn on a deeper level.” Bishop has been training, instructing, and exhibiting dog obedience for more than 38 years. Her seminars exposed Jennifer to the “magic” of the practice, such as how to direct a dog with just eye contact, or how simply using a taller toy would encourage her dog to retrieve it. “The seminars are an opportunity to be totally immersed in another world. You are among up to 30 dog trainers with at least 30 different ways of training. You all generally share the same philosophy but each dog and handler team has different challenges.”
Her dog-training experience has allowed her to return to the art museum and art worlds with a new perspective. She says she has more confidence and an enriched spirit, both things that will positively impact her leading the Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship. Not to mention she will surely give fellow dog show competitors a run for their money.