Tuesday, February 18, 2014

"Many Faces of NF" At Northwestern College - Feb 3 - 21, 2014

Opening Night
The solo show opportunity at NWC was simply fantastic. The chance to be able to show all the NF oil paintings with the complete biographies posted next to each portrait was exactly how I had envisioned this work to be displayed. And while I understand that not everyone will read placards, many will. If the paintings are enough to captivate someone's interest, than hopefully they will take the few moments to step a little closer and read about each individual, or so is my hope. But, as artists, we all know that we cannot really control how an audience responds to our work, we can only do what we do, cross our fingers and hope that the work at least engages on some level.

I was pleased to see that during the opening, my thoughts about display and accompanying biographies did engage the viewers. The gallery was strangely quiet. Art Department Chair, Phil Scorza, told me that typically the gallery is noisy during openings, but this time everyone was so busy reading that the entire room was full and yet, quiet.

I feel very fortunate that Phil Scorza and his colleagues invited me to display my series in their gallery. I was surprised and pleased to read this article published in the NWC Beacon about the student's response to the show. It was a real pleasure to meet their students, faculty and Academic Dean and have time to talk about my work on an intimate level with so many people.

Additionally, my boys felt like they were on cloud nine when they realized that NWC was hosting this event and it meant a hotel night (this means cable tv with SpongeBob Squarepants since we don't have cable at home), plus pizza beforehand and snacks. My boys are all about snacks. The artwork is secondary to what type of snacks are being served, I know this because they ask before every opening about what type of treats will be available. They are only 10 and 7 years old, but I have to think many adults are just as guilty at art openings! Ha!

My boys joined in my artist talk
During my artist talk, I was startled to have Fred rush to my side and then Henry followed his lead. I was even more surprised to hear Henry interject to the entire group that really the "strongest" piece in the show was the painting of him. I did notice that prior to my talk, one of the guests was startled to see the large painting of Henry and then to have Henry actually walk past him. I found it interesting to watch that reaction.

What was really inspiring for me was that all the art faculty at NWC also had their art students write papers about the show and learn more about NF. To see college students sitting and taking notes from the paintings and then to actually go out and learn more about the disorder is the entire goal of the project.

It is very satisfying for me when people come up and admit to me very candidly something to the effect of: "I had never heard of NF until I encountered your paintings. So, thank you." In that regard, I feel that I have actually done something productive and positive and actually made a difference in the fight against NF. It is my opinion that most people do not lavishly donate to causes or charities that they have never heard about. If I can change the level of awareness, I  might be able to affect the willingness of people to then donate to the Children's Tumor Foundation. The more money that goes to CTF means that scientists and researchers are getting the needed funding to continue working on clinical trials. They cannot find a cure if they are not provided the funds and tools in which to do it. So, this is my part of the process. And while we all know from many heated coffee shop debates that art doesn't really change the world, in my private world it does and I plan to keep doing it.

Opening Night

Facutly and students at the opening

Fred gazing at the painting of the 2 babies in the waiting room.

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