By Carol Strock Wasson
On my way home from the Chicago area recently, I got to thinking about the importance of attending an exhibition even if you have not received notification of an award or, in the case of a juried exhibition, going to the opening reception even if your work wasn’t accepted.
There are many artists — and I used to be one of them — who would not go to an opening reception unless they were juried into the show. This year, whenever I could, I traveled all over the country to attend opening receptions of groups that I am a member of — to California for the American Impressionist Society’s Small Works show at Randy Higbee Gallery, the IAPS show in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Pastel Society of America’s “Enduring Brilliance” exhibition in New York, the American Women Artists “Under a Vast Sky” at the Tucson Desert Museum, and the Chicago Pastel Painters show in Oak Brook, Illinois, at the Mayslake Peabody estate.
I’m honored to report that in most of these shows I was juried in, and at some I won awards, but the most important lesson I learned was how good it is to go and reconnect with the artists I know, and meet new ones. It is a great opportunity to exchange ideas or to learn about plein air events or additional shows to enter, ones to avoid, new techniques, and new materials. It’s invigorating to connect with another artist face-to-face who has your level of excitement and enthusiasm.
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