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The Opening of Art Reflected

The opening party of Art Reflected:  the Inspiration of 100 Years was truly a memorable occasion.  The culmination of many months of work was celebrated at the Memorial Art Gallery on the evening of February 9, 2013.  From the valet parking, the welcoming volunteers, well-organized check in tables to the artful hors d’œuvres and complimentary wine in the pavilion, guests were greeted to an evening of treats.

People arrived in elegant dress, men with ties and jackets or suits, women in lovely dressy wear, including black pants with shiny & sparkling tops adorned with jewelry (some from the Gallery Store) and draped scarves and wraps.  I counted three men in bow ties, not including Joe Carney.

Many of the featured artists attended this lovely event.  As they were the guests of honor, most were surrounded by people who admired their work.  The artists seemed rather overwhelmed by the attention, but certainly enjoyed telling of their creations and work.

After enjoying the wine, most guests headed for the Gallery to view the extraordinary works of art that were created by more than 40 local artists.  The new works were (and still are, until March 17th) positioned next to the art work that inspired them.

Kathryn Bevier Title: Yellow Field (left) Medium: Oil and Wax Inspired by Fairfield Porter, The Beginning of the Fields (right)

Kathryn Bevier, "Yellow Field" (L) Inspiration: Fairfield Porter, "The Beginning of the Fields" (R)

At 7PM, all guests moved into the ballroom, where many gasps of surprise were heard.  The decorations were spectacular!! The tables were clothed in black, with silver accents, and a centerpiece on each one featuring three mango colored Gerbera daisies.  The guests had assigned tables; some of them had assigned seating as well.  So everyone was quickly seated.  Grant Holcomb, Mary Sue Jack and Grace Kelly made a few opening remarks, and then the food arrived, carried in by a host of servers.  Each course was chosen to reflect a work of art, the explanation of which was found at all places in artistically designed menu cards.

Max at the Gallery operated quickly and efficiently.  Each course brought more pleasure, the tastes were delicious, and the presentation professional and all food was warm.  Comments such as “this is the best meal I have ever had from Max’s” were common.   Throughout the evening the conversation level was high, and each table was blessed to have one or more artists sitting with the guests.  What fun to hear their stories.

By about 10PM the ball room that had had so much noise and festivity, was nearly silent.  Only the Max wait staff were left with at least two more hours of cleaning up.  The party was over, but not the memories of a perfect opening evening.

L to R: Grace Kelly, Bev Pickering, Nancy Foster Gerard, Mary Sue Jack and seated Sharon Mcnamee

As you can imagine, it took many hands, minds and hearts to put on this amazing event:  which is the centennial fund raiser sponsored by the Gallery Council of the Memorial Art Gallery.  Although all contributors cannot be acknowledged, some people will receive special recognition in this article.

This project started many months ago, with Grant Holcomb and Margie Searl creating lists:  lists of art objects, lists of artists.   Margie and Grant were always available to lend support and advice to our adventure along every inch of the way.

Then the organizing committee was formed and the excellent members came into the picture.   They have all pitched in, pretty much blindly, since none of us have ever worked on a Gallery Council event of this magnitude.  Bev Pickering and Nancy Foster Gerard organized and implemented the opening party – down to every imaginable detail and eventuality!  Karen Larkin kept our treasurery honest; Michelle Turner worked with the MAG’s publicity department to get the word out, Rose Swiskey designed and made the book that guests found in the gallery store when buying art, Helena Spring worked with Shirley Wersinger to create the booklet that guides patrons though the works of art.  Ellie Kozel worked with Grace and Monica to gather in the art items when delivered.  What a precious and effective group.

Two other extremely valuable workers on this event have been Nancy Holowka and Sharon McNamee.  Nancy let her creativeness go wild in designing and creating many of the items seen in connection with Art Reflected, as well as kept us all cheerful and encouraged.  Sharon, our new gallery council assistant of 3 months, has been a great help in making all of the signs, power point presentations as well as communicating with all of us countless times – keeping us well informed as to events in the office.

Monica Simpson created the displays for all of the art work.  Her meticulous planning, ability to see the big picture and placement ideas have displayed the works of art to their maximum benefit.  A most daunting job, that Monica did with good cheer and creativity.  Once, in the midst of the process, she said “the next time we do this…”  really, Monica?  Thank you so very much!!!

But none of this would have been possible without the wondrous energy and efforts of Grace Kelly, my co-chair of Art Reflected.  To me, she is the real Grace Kelly.  Grace jumped into this project with good experience and a brain overflowing with ideas.  She has worked tirelessly with the artists, and has developed lasting relationships with many of them.

Art Reflected will be open until March 17, 2013 for people to come in a purchase one of the works of art.  As of the end of the opening party, eight of the works had been sold, leaving 33 still available to those of you reading this post.  Hope you all get a chance to take a look at this, the Centennial fund raiser sponsored by the Gallery Council of the Memorial Art Gallery!

Mary Sue Jack, Co-Chair, Art Reflected


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