Technology and Art can intersect at some very unexpected corners of the world. Earlier in the week I received a notification via the Newtown Patch of an Art Gallery opening featuring the work of a regional artist. The event was promoted as “[a] retrospective exhibit of mixed media works by Erin Endicott [that] will open with a wine and cheese reception from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Pennswood Art Gallery.”
Perfect! I’ve been struggling to find ideas to fulfill my weekly Artist’s Date, an activity that I committed to do once a week as a part of the experience of Walking in This World (Julia Cameron) that I’ve fallen shamefully short on. What could be better than the opportunity to attend the opening of an Art Gallery – and the description of the artist’s work sounded delightful and intriguing.
My normal paranoia about getting lost was magnified by the fact that I couldn’t find any concrete information about the gallery and whatever I could find linked me to a retirement community website. With my trusty GPS and a backup set of printed directions from Google I set out on my ‘date’ and hoped the event was for real. My confusion grew as I drove past one row of apartments after another. I spotted a signs along the way for a variety of things including the Landscaping Department and a Community Center, but nothing for an Art Gallery. It seemed as though my date might be doomed.
Determined to give the outing my best shot I took a deep breath and walked toward the Community Center. I figured it was worth a little embarrassment about getting lost if I could find someone inside who could provide directions.
I crossed through the doors into a beautifully furnished lobby full of activity and lots of grey hair. I scanned the room for an information desk and much to my surprise what I saw was the sign for Pennswood Art Gallery and sure enough there was a roomful of art hanging on the walls. I accepted a small cup of wine served with a silver ladle from a punch bowl and a couple of crackers topped with cheese.
I don’t have words to do the artist’s work justice. She uses a unique blend of painting and fabric woven together and adorned with text, stitching, words, and beads to tell a story and depict the complexities of life and human emotion.
I think it’s better described by a curator, Samantha Levin, during an interview with the artist:
“A unique breed of soft sculpture, Erin utilizes stitching and ink to “draw” on found objects – things that hold power because of their age and anthropomorphic wisdom. Erin’s Healing Sutras tell stories of pain remembered and solace found. They indicate hope and speak of feminine patience evidenced by the painstakingly small stitches that create flowing abstract shapes” (curator Samantha Levin of Anagnorisis Fine Art, NYC.)
After enjoying the exhibit I stopped to look at some prints that were available for sale, among them the piece that was used to promote the show, A Lost Story. In addition to buying a print I learned that Pennswood Village is a retirement community (which would explain my Google results) and they have had an art gallery in the Community Center for twenty eight years and the exhibit today took place in a new and expanded location. I had a lovely visit with the elegant woman who organizes the shows.
“How do you find the artists?” I asked.
“Well, we go online and look for artists with websites. We follow a trail of leads and look at their galleries on the internet. Then we pick the pieces we’d like to have on display and contact the artist to see if they are interested. It’s all done through email and it’s all about the internet,” she replied.
It’s interesting to note that I spent my morning reading and reflecting on week eleven of Walking in This World (Julia Cameron). The portion of the chapter I finished before getting ready to leave for the open house raised a lot of questions around our society, our culture, and how we do – or maybe more to the point, do not nurture artists. I think Julia would be pleased with this non-traditional center of support for the arts.