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Bainbridge Arts and Crafts show explores the business side of art
Being an artist, especially these days, is not easy.
“You don’t do this to get rich,” laughed Sue Cretarolo, a Bainbridge artist whose evocative encaustic works grace the walls of Bainbridge Arts and Crafts this month.
“You do it because you love it,” she said.
Her love of color, composition, and content was stoked over 25 years as a graphic designer and continues today as she explores one medium after another, including metalwork, acrylic and most recently, wax.
Although gallery sales lately are not what she was seeing before the economy nose-dived, she’s still intrigued by working big – exploring the expanse of a large canvas, or two.
“I’ll do it until I run out of storage,” she said.
Her limited-pallette paintings are part of a group show “Almost Abstract” which includes work by Cretarolo, Delila Katzka and Kari Bergstrom MacKenzie.
In the front gallery, “Mixed Nuts” shows the work of 100 students, ranging from kindergarteners to seniors in high school.
In this annual show, Bainbridge students get a chance to learn the business side of art – what happens after things get created. They sign contracts, write artist statements, frame and offer their work for the flat-rate price of $75.
They learn that a red dot placed near the title of a piece means it has sold. And there’s 25 red dots on the walls of the Mixed Nuts exhibit.
Not all are from adoring family members either.
“It makes an impression on these kids when a stranger comes in and buys their work,” said Victoria Josslin, BAC’s Director of Education and Information.
It’s not surprising, considering the quality of much of the work.
BHS senior Sean Willerford’s untitled half-shell reflected on a mirror pulled viewers into its cavernous spaces.
First-grader Sam Torres created an impressive woodpecker habitat with a delightful backstory.
Anna Teiche, an eighth-grader at Woodward Middle School offers an intriguing assemblage, “Cupcakes for Cancer,” a painted clock that includes Japanese papers and whimsical characters.
Odyssey Middle School student Emily Rogers created “Fortune,” a work of social commentary about the disparities of prosperity.
Feast or famine
Those disparities, known in the art world as feast or famine, are a familiar topic at the nonprofit BAC.
“When we do a show like this (a student show), we take a hit,” said Josslin. “This show was made possible by all the people who raised the paddle at the Crab Feed last October.”
Still, it’s a practical education that extends art education beyond the classroom.
At BAC in February
Mixed Nuts and Almost Abstract run through March 2 in The Gallery at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts. For more, visit www.bacart.org.