THE HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL TAPESTRY YIZKOR (REMEMBER)
Yehudit Shadur - Cartoon Design
Tamar Shadur - Tapestry Adaptation
For the past few weeks Tricia and I have been mentioning to folks we are very excited by the opportunity to host the weavers of TWiNE (TAPESTRY WEAVERS in NEW ENGLAND) in a group exhibit they entitled "a piece of TWiNE". Tricia had been in contact with Tamar Shadur who created the tapestry above. She and her husband, Bruce, had come to our gallery exhibits a few months before. She and Tricia struck up a conversation about the possibility of the imagine ART Gallery hosting an exhibit in Northampton, their first here. Many of the women of the guild reside in New England, but not all. There were 8 of the 13 showing in the exhibit with us last night.
So with great anticipation on everybody's part, it became a reality. To be honest, we had no idea how many folks would attend. The weavers had sent out invitations as did we. Additionally, we put flyers around town, sent emails from out email list, put the exhibit on our Facebook page, and put in a call into the Arts person at the Hampshire Gazette. We've done 6 exhibits so far, and each has been different in terms of attendance. Some of that had to do with people not knowing we were here; some of it had to do with preference as to the type of art people like. Some of it had to do with being somewhat invisible. We have a shoe-string budget for advertising, and we've never done a gallery before.
Well...I have to say all of our expectations were exceeded last night, and then some. By all accounting, we had over 150 in attendance.One person estimated almost 200. If you've been to the space, you know that means we were packed in like sardines at times- indeed, we were! In fact, it didn't really slow down until after 8:30, and then we got a second small influx of people for a bit. The entire experience was amazing! And exhilarating. People, young and old came up the stairs to see the exhibit, and they lingered to talk with the artists, some were friends and family; some just wanted to meet the artist and inquire about what it took to weave such wonderful work.Our gallery was alive with people engaging one another over what they saw on the walls, and I know the weavers were delighted. I hope they made many connections which will result in sales of their remarkable work.
FOUR GIRLS AND AN APPLE, NEPAL
Another lovely reality was we recognized return folks, a number of them. They.reminded us of an earlier exhibit they'd seen here. Some who came, talked of imagine's being the best gallery in town. And they all raved over the food again! No one's offering refreshments at the level of quality we've offered since we began. If you know Tricia, that's a prerequisite, a core of her creative sensibility. Another delight was the fact there were also a number of artists in attendance, and if I'm right about someone I recognized, this person is world class.
And last night we had chances once again to introduce people to imagine/Northampton, the church with the funny name we planted here almost 5 years ago. It always tickles us when folks find out who we are. They get a surprised look on their faces, because outwardly we don't really look like a church in terms of a building or liturgical accoutrements, etc. That's by design. So when we get to talk about who we are and why we're in Northampton it's always a great pleasure. I don't mind gently poking people's categories about Christians and churches.
So while last night's exhibition and large attendance was a smash, I need to also say I've been around the block enough times not to assume because we had such a magnificent turnout last night that some sort of real momentum was created for the gallery. When you've lived a substantial part of your life in the arts you're familiar with having your hopes dashed, or setting unrealistic expectations because of a particular positive experience. Then again, I also don't want to appear faithless, because I'm not, far from it. So such a turnout might signal a certain new identity in the community, or a little traction toward what we view the purpose of the imagine ART Gallery. Then again, last night will turn out to be a highpoint on a long climb toward establishing a credible identity as a gallery of note. The latter is more realistic. No matter, we were thrilled with last night, want many more, and will work toward seeing them happen.
I won't soon forget last night. But the long and the short of it is we at imagine/Northampton want the gallery to connect with the artistic community and the entire community of Northampton. Seeing so many in our space just felt right. We want people to know we are Jesus-followers who seek to love and serve folks in all sorts of ways, one of them being the imagine ART Gallery where we can beautify our little corner of the town, and help folks know we are a missional community by the way we show grace, joy and intelligence. Our gallery is not the only way we do it,but if last night was a harbinger of things to come, it'll be one of the key ways.
Remember this phrase: missional hub. I'll be writing more about the concept in the days and weeks to come as we get a better read on what such it might look like for us.