As a child, I remember sitting down with the Sears catalog Wish Book every year, pouring through its voluminous pages to develop my Christmas wish list. I’m certain when I fell asleep each Christmas Eve it was images of the Kenner Give-a-Show projector, Dick Tracy two-way wrist radio, and an Easy Bake oven dancing through my head, not sugar plums. My “wishes” have certainly changed over the years, though I admit my Apple Watch sometimes harkens me back to those Dick Tracy aspirations. These days I lean more toward wishing for intangible things, like peace on Earth, and getting out of bed in the morning with few aches and pains. Exploring this year’s Muddy Creek Artists Guild holiday art show and sale, though, was like a deep dive into a more mature version of the Wish Book. What lovely work by talented artists.
Across two weekends in early December, 46 artists displayed hundreds of pieces of unique art across a variety of mediums. It was a pleasure to see work from long-time Guild members as well as the 9 new member artists who participated. Jan Willem Van der Vossen reached out for impressions from the new artists about their first Guild show. The consensus was a warm and welcoming experience. Though at the outset they weren’t sure exactly what to expect, the new artists found the show to be well organized from set-up to break down. New member Linda Curtis expressed trepidation at participating in a show so soon after joining the Guild, but felt included and special as she received encouragement and guidance from established members. Others shared that they found comments from the public about their art to be uplifting. As veteran Guild members know, the feedback from members and the public can be invaluable for future directions an artist may decide to take. Bruce Saylor, one of our newer members, put it well: “After hearing positive comments, I will be making a few changes on the format of my work and look forward to seeing how these changes will be met at the next show.”
Studio Intrepid was a hit with the public once again as visitors young and old stepped in to make their own artful holiday decorations. Michelle Schneider, volunteering for the first time, shared a heartwarming moment when a mother expressed gratitude to Studio Intrepid for giving her a chance to discover her son’s interest in art—something he had until then not shared with her.
Each day as I moved throughout the gallery, I made mental notes of which pieces would make that special gift for family and friends, and the ones I dreamed of having in my own home. Visitors were frequently heard giving voice to these same thoughts. It was a bonus that as art sold, it was often replaced by yet another piece of the artist’s work, making the gallery an entirely fresh experience each day. Over the six days, roughly 1400 items were sold and $2,070 was raised for the Art Education Fund. Though it’s always hard to know the exact number of visitors at any given show, the customer count (of those paying by credit card) was 261, about half of whom were first timers.
As usual, dedicated teams of volunteers worked hard to turn an empty storefront into a lively gallery pop-up. The first-time show co-captains, Kathie Staska and Bonnie McLeod, stepped up and did a great job. Anita Ewing and Betsy Meynardie combined their vast experience toward heading up Operations, as did Roxanne Weidele and Fran Thompson for hanging and placement. A shout out to John Hannah for heading up the Setup/Breakdown crew, and to all his many helpers during the process. Oversight of art check-in was in Joan Scott’s capable hands, and Jan Willem Van der Vossen took the lead on publicity. Lisa Fairbank did a masterful job, as always, with the inventory system. Well-deserved recognition also goes to Fran for sending out sales tallies throughout the show.
With a nod to Clement Moore, the Muddy Creek Artists Guild members deserve to settle in for a much-needed long winter’s nap. In the coming days and weeks, here’s hoping the only arising clatter in your life will be joyous and merry—and most certainly creative. As new member Meryl Tiemann aptly put it, “I’m looking forward to what comes next!”
written by Kendra Smith