CAFA Exhibition Days

Our view from the back of the Mystic Arts Center, our host gallery.
Our view from the back of the Mystic Arts Center, our host gallery.

What an eventful week this has been, and it’s not over just yet.  So much has happened I don’t even know where to start writing.  I am taking advantage of some free time I have to put something in writing about the process of the annual exhibition while it’s still fresh in my mind.

This past Sunday started the busiest week of the year for CAFA and being new (this year) as the exhibition director, this was my first run through annual exhibition operations.  Sunday and Monday were receiving days.  That is to say, for anyone who wanted had not entered the competition online had two days (June 8th & 9th) to come down to the Mystic Arts Center (host gallery) to submit their artwork.  On the third day, after receiving a total of 286 walk-in entries, we held the jury day.

There’s not much I can complain about, besides some traffic on my hour-each-way route, the process occurred ever so smoothly.  All three days we had volunteers from the CAFA council members, all of whom were a great big help especially when you consider that these council members have experienced it before.  We also had three volunteers, art students from CCSU, who were there pretty much the three days.  They were runners and organizers of the artwork as it came in.

The first two days, as the artists walked in with one or two of their pieces, I kept busy by lending a hand to the volunteers and helping the line move along at the registration table.   However, I felt glorious talking to artists as they came in and went out.  We talked about their art, or we talked about the membership, and at times I found myself talking about other organizations and how we could work together.  It was a few days full of such chances and possibilities.  For example, we (myself and the CCSU student volunteers) immediately recognized one of the artists coming in to drop his work off, and he recognized all of us.  He is a professor in the art department of CCSU who walked in and exclaimed “hey! What are you guys doing here?!”

On the day of jury decision I drove in with my husband as one of my volunteers.  I was nervous, and it didn’t help that I ran into some traffic that made me later than I wanted to get there.  When I arrived, the whole crew was there, but, most importantly, the jurors were already there.  Up to this point, I had not yet met the jurors in person, we had only exchanged a phone conversation and some email messages.  My anxieties vanished as soon as I stepped in the gallery and the rest of the day evolved wonderfully.  My husband was a huge help as were the other volunteers, the council members thrilled with my work thus far, and the jurors worked so well together making some well thought out decisions.  I am confident that it will be a great show, full of diverse accomplished artists.  CAFA’s 103rd Annual Exhibition opens this Friday the 13th.  The opening reception, however, is not until Thursday, June 26th from 6-8pm.  If you are in the Mystic area, please stop by, it’s a show full of talent.  Some pieces are sure to take your breath away.  We have over 150 artists and almost 200 pieces of artwork, some members and other non-members of CAFA but all eagerly happy to show off their work to an audience.  Photos of award winners and exhibition coming soon!

Even two of the volunteers, art students at CCSU, got some moxie on day 2 of walk-in entries and submitted some of their artwork.  One didn’t make it, but one of them, with a sculpture about 3″ cubed, and a great title, he got in.  It’s fantastic to see they are getting inspired to enter competitions and to show their artwork.

In the works, this past weekend (before all the CAFA exhibition madness began), I was preparing some of my photographs to enter them into a juried photo exhibition.  It was my first time entering a show of its kind, and I was a bit nervous.  Also, as one of my own worst critics, I know I could have done a better job presenting my photos (frames, matting, etc.), but I did with what I had.  Two out of the three photographs I entered got accepted.  Show began yesterday June 12th, and the opening reception is today, Friday, June 13th at gallery MAC650 (Middletown Artist Cooperative @ 650 Main Street).  I am ecstatic about showing my work and being able to add to my résumé, but mostly, as a social animal, I can’t wait to enjoy tomorrow night’s opening and meeting some of the other artists that made the cut.

So far, it has been a busy week and the weekend seems to promise some more of the same.  My next post will come much sooner than this one did.  I hope you like what you are reading.  Please leave some comments, questions, stories, or suggestions,  I would love to hear what you all think.  Look at some art, have a great weekend!

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