Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Winter Arts Festival Plows Forward

Last night was the scheduled opening for the Winter Arts Festival in the Jersey Shore Arts Center (the Studio building) in Ocean Grove.  Unfortunately, this winter being what it is, snow was expected.  Predictions were for maybe an inch or so, but even that can be a problem, our already small parking lot already ringed by snowbanks from weeks of snows, and that won't melt since the temperatures have spent maybe 15 minutes above freezing over the last month.  The latest predictions said that something might start falling by 2 pm.  They got the time right, but we had at least 3 inches on the ground by 4:00.  That's when I departed for a family function only about a mile away on unplowed roads.  No problem getting there and it was an enjoyable afternoon.  Under normal circumstances, when that ended I would have had plenty of time to get the opening, but snow just kept falling and was getting pretty deep.  Imagining a disaster, I decided to call it a night.  Put in the time to clear off my car and pushed though the deep frozen mess to get home.

The snow had started changing over to rain later that night, and today things were in much better shape.  Roads were cleared, the sun came out- time for festival day two

The main event for the second day of the festival was an Open Mic Poetry event presented by the Jersey Shore Writers group.  JSAC boss Herb (above) was on hand to introduce the event, held in our main hall.  Meanwhile in the recently vacated room 4, a nice array of refreshments (below) was set up.

There were three poets from the organizing group, with each reading an assortment of their work.  After that there was a short break while everyone visited the refreshment room.  After that came the challenge of getting the audience to return for the second half, the open mic portion.  (there was a sign up sheet out from the beginning).  The second half went at least an hour, which is when I headed home.  I counted about 40 people in attendance for today's event.

While there I spoke to Brendan who said they had a large turnout (considering the conditions) for last night's opening- maybe about 80 people.  The jazz trio ended up being just a duo (one couldn't make it down the parkway in that snow), but people still enjoyed them.  Later I called Molly to update her on today's activities and she mentioned that she made it there last night and confirmed the crowd estimate.  So far management seems pleased with how things have gone with this festival and even before the opening was talking about doing another one.  Even though the last scheduled events are next weekend, it looks like they are going to invite us to keep the work up for a while, maybe even until Christmas.

Next weekend the festival continues.  I'll skip the theater preview on Saturday, but I expect to be there for Sunday's brunch and open studio event, starting at noon.  And since two of the photos in this post include Molly's work in the background, here's another view of my work from today, but now more evenly hung, better lit, and with the artist statements underneath.  Brendan mentioned to me that earlier today a group of twenty-somethings was enjoying my work and took photos posing underneath them, and he assumed they were students or former students of mine.  If so I don't know anything about it.  I hadn't mentioned this show in any of my classes, and even if I had, I can't imagine any of them traveling to Monmouth County just to see them.  If this mystery is ever solved, I'll post an update.


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