Sunday, October 28, 2012

"Faces of Afghanistan" Exhibit at UNC Asheville

The exhibition of my drawings and pastels from Afghanistan is now open at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, in the S. Tucker Cooke Gallery in Owen Hall.  For the past three weeks, I've been busting my tail to get everything ready.  I ordered the frames and glass from the Framer's Chop Shop, then matted and framed all 47 works.  While that was going on, John Le from WLOS-TV came out and did the news clip that I linked to in my last post.  UNCA turned their publicity team loose and their press release was picked up by several papers in North and South Carolina.  I did an interview with the Asheville Citizen-Times as well; their article turned out really nice.  (In the hard-copy edition, the article was right underneath a child porn arrest and right before the obituaries.  Nothing like keeping everything in perspective.)  Meanwhile, Janis took over the management of the opening reception: she decided what to do for drinks, munchies, decorations, and so on.

On Thursday, everything kicked into high gear.  I went in and hung the show.  One of the student assistants, Amber, helped considerably with the layout and hanging details.  Photographers from two newspapers (Mountain XPress and Citizen-Times) arrived at the same time to shoot images to accompany articles ... aaawwwwkward ... On Friday, Robert Tynes (one of the painting instructors) and I arranged the lighting, then I set up the reception tables and slapped the labels next to the artworks.  Janis and I came in about an hour before opening time - she set out the food and drinks while I made last-minute adjustments.  We opened the doors about 15 minutes before the official time because, well, people were there.

After all that work, the reception was actually fun.  Lots of old friends showed up: artists, fellow students from UNCA, a friend that I've known for 40 years, writers, teachers, and neighbors.  Current UNCA students, collectors, and random walk-ins off the street came as well.  During an opening reception, the exhibiting artists spend all their time talking to people, and I certainly did that.  There were even a few sales.  And, in the mix, I was offered another show in February.  All in all, a success.

So what do I think and feel about this?  Well, anytime an artist can get work up on somebody else's wall, it's a good thing.  This is a great gallery and I'm very proud and happy to exhibit here.  And I'm quite proud of the way the show looks.  The framing turned out very well (thanks to Janis, who chose the frame styles and mat colors).  I always have a lot of anxious questions before a show: will there be enough works to fill the walls, how will they look, what will people think, and so on.  But all turned out well.  So I'm a happy camper.

Now I'm trying to catch up on all the gazillion and one things that didn't get done over the past couple of weeks.  This blog post, for example.  I need to get to work on employment prospects.  I have a new iPhone and I can barely make and receive phone calls on, so I need to learn its capabilities.  Both cars need washing and waxing before winter sets in.  I'm going to put together a show proposal and see about getting "Faces" exhibited in a few more places.  I want to set up a studio again.  We've got a wedding to go to soon.  My dogs are sitting here looking at me, telling me it's time to get off the computer and play with them.

So: it's been nice talking with you, but the dogs are calling!

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