Sunday, April 15, 2012

When Art Blooms in Wellfleet

Awesome is the only word to describe the Gala Opening Reception of the Wellfleet Blossoms Small Work Exhibition, Young and/or Emerging Artists at Preservation Hall. By the door, I admired No Boundaries, an acrylic by Cady Rodrigues, above. The painting showed a little girl, playing in the shadow of storm fencing. A bit further into the room, organizer Lisa Benson distributed name tags to those who were showing their art, some for the first time. Meanwhile dozens of visitors meandered through the work on display, munching appetizers and sipping wine. While I read an enlargement of Susan Blood’s article in the Barnstable Patriot, a man approached Lisa. “I’m looking for an artist’s name tag,” he said. “What’s your name?” she asked. “Neil Irving,” came the reply. Dressed in a jaunty multicolored fedora and bright blue shirt, Neil strode proudly into the crowded exhibition hall. His ebullient mood reminded me how important it is for artists to have their work admired and appreciated. And, of course, sold. But appreciation is right up there with sales. It matters. (Today, forty fortunate artists will attend a free panel presentation called How to Become a Non-Starving Artist in order to learn how to live from their art.)

After opening remarks by Selectman/organizer Paul Pilcher, Prez. Hall manager Janet Lesniak stepped up to the mike and said, “I salute you on so many levels. A pipe dream turned into this,” and with a smile, she gracefully gestured around the room.

Next Rep. Sarah Peake spoke briefly to offer her congratulations as well. Peake reminded the crowd, “Art gives us joy, and art brings economic prosperity, bringing people into town, as well as feeding our soul.”

I was particularly struck by an image created by Julie Wilson, a fourth grader, whose artist statement read, “I like art because you get to draw what you want and use your imagination.” Her Mogdigliani-esque painting was not for sale.

Congratulations to the organizing committee, Paul Pilcher, Lisa Benson, Judith Stiles, Sue Peters, Dan Lawson, and John Ryerson for creating a new festival that will bookend Wellfleet’s tourist season with Oysterfest.

If you missed the reception, know that the work of these emerging artists can be viewed from 10 to 5 today. A dozen galleries will be open as well.

On my way out, I returned to No Boundaries, thinking how nice it would look in our cottage. Rats! The painting already wore a red dot. Maybe next time …