Thursday, April 21, 2011

48. Serving as Juror for The Gallery Space, Monroeville, PA

The Gallery Space, Monroeville, PA Public Library
The public library of Monroeville, Pennsylvania, next to the Gateway High School, is host to The Gallery Space, a special place to showcase artwork by established and aspiring artists from throughout the Western Pennsylvania area.  The gallery is in a lovely setting with a natural stone wall at its focal point and two additional walls to showcase art.  In addition, an exhibiting artist has room for more art behind the front desk and in the snack cafe next to it.  The image above gives a 180 degree view of the main gallery.  The present curator, Sally Wightkin, and a dedicated group of helpers from the gallery's sponsors, The Friends of the Monroeville Public Library, work tirelessly setting up and maintaining the gallery and its many exhibits (a new one every month!) throughout the year --and all as volunteers.  Now that's a labor of love.  Commissions from the sale of artwork at these shows benefit the public library in Monroeville.

Exhibitions at The Gallery Space have been a tradition since 1965.  When I had my first show there in 2001, only six artists would be selected to exhibit each year with each show lasting two months at a time.  By the time I exhibited there again in 2007, exhibits were limited to one month.  While I wasn't pleased by the shorter shows, the fact is that the shorter shows made this forum accessible to twice as many artists and, as I later discovered myself, was quite necessary. In 2008, I was honored when Sally Wightkin asked me to assist her and help select, from the many submissions, those artists (and artist organizations) that would be selected for exhibitions at The Gallery Space in the next two years.  The number and quality of submissions were so overwhelming, we finally decided to extend the period we were judging another year.  It was a very enlightening experience for me.

Another call for artists has been extended by The Gallery Space in which those wishing to exhibit are asked to bring three examples of their artwork (or a CD of 6-10 examples of their artwork) to the Monroeville Library on Friday, April 29, 2011.  Art groups can bring 6-10 original works or a CD of 12-20 images.  Again, I have been asked by Sally to assist in the selection process.

I have been doing serious art for over 30 years and fine photography for even longer.  I've had three shows at The Gallery Space the last 10 years and participated three other times in exhibits there by the East Suburban Artists League.  I have had numerous solo and group exhibitions and my work has appeared in galleries, museums, major corporate headquarters, newspapers and the cover of magazines.  I have won plenty of awards, have taught oil and acrylic art classes for major national corporations and I have served as a judge and juror for a number of local organizations and major art exhibitions.  While there are plenty of artists and art instructors who have done more than I and have better credentials, my point is that I have had some experience in a lot of things, and am independent and confident enough not to be overly worried about the politics in art (and, yes, every human endeavor involves politics), and I hope, at 55 years of age, I've learned to learned enough to keep all of this in perspective.  Anyway, I've been told I am pretty fair and level-headed and I will do my best to remain objective and judicious.  I have to think too that it helps being an attorney where I often and regularly serve as an arbitrator for the Court of Common Pleas in Pittsburgh.

Be sure to get your submissions in for consideration!  I will probably write something afterwards about the whole process.  And thanks again, Sally, for this opportunity to serve again.

UPDATE:  I once again assisted Sally on May 31, 2013 in the selection of artists for the upcoming years through parts of 2016.  Thanks again Sally for letting me help in this process.

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