Last Thursday we celebrated the opening of the Emerging Artist Grant recipients' exhibit. And what a beautiful space we were afforded - the bright and spacious former Gulf Coast Museum of Art. I displayed the two main works that I completed during the grant period, "Big Sur II" and "UCSC." They are each 4' x 5' in scale, and finding the space to show such large work can be a rare opportunity. But the spaciousness of this former museum afforded viewers the chance to really experience these paintings exactly as I intended.
The event began at 6:00pm, and when I arrived at 6:15, the parking lot was packed. Inside, people were talking, enjoying the hors d'ouvres, and viewing the art. It was probably the largest crowd I have seen at an opening of which I am a part. An hour into the evening, we had the pleasure to experience performances by the dancer, poet, screenwriter, and musician who received grants. Throughout the night, I talked with friends and family who came to support me and met new people as well.
I consider that night to be such a gift, as this grant has been. I didn't fully realize the importance of the evening until I awoke the next day. Something felt different, like I had grown overnight. (If only the growth would make me taller!) Having my work seen by so many people affected me...in a great way. The drive to make new art is now stronger than before. It's as if the work is not complete until an audience sees it. This thought echoes a quote by a well-known artist:
"My work is completed by the viewer."
The idea could be akin to a singer who channels deep emotion through voice, and when it is performed before an audience, only then does the release come. The spirit is expressed and acknowledged, and what more could one ask for? As we flounder here in consciousness, perhaps our most basic human need is to have our existence validated. And when the spirit of art - a life in itself - is validated, then my job as artist continues. Last Thursday night, the creative spirit in me was acknowledged. So thank you to everyone who came to the show and to everyone at Creative Pinellas who made this possible. New work is on the way; stay tuned.