WHAT A NIGHT!
The Iraq War: An Artist's Journey at the Bea Paines Gallery has become quite a sensation for me. I have never recieved such a large crowd for an opening, we had somewhere between 80 to 100 people! I know that Jody and Vicki Queen - who sponsored the opening reception - prepared food for about 100 people and most of it was consumed! The Gallery floor was filled with people and there was a point where I didn't even know over three-quarters of the crowd! It was such an exciting night. Now that the buzz is wearing off I can finally give a clear reflection on the night and my feelings about how the show went.
To begin with, if you are an artist and you have a show opening for a specifically advertised date you better get your ducks in a row before then otherwise you'll be like me! :) LOL! I am probably the only artist who was still hanging placards for the paintings as the show was in full swing. Yet, it was not fatal or bad but that just illustrates how stressed out and busy I was throughout the day.
Luckily I have a great team of supporters and a wonderful wife, Dana (danafrech.blogspot.com), who pushed me and encouraged my show. Members of the art club - Joey Waltz, Jessica Looney, Bethany Blankenship, Katie Peters, my wife Dana and Mr. Shroyer all ran around trying to do last minute details! I really want to make a shout out to Bethany and Jessica for their awesome advice for the layout of the show! I thought their advice was spot on! We got to the gallery around 3:30pm and didn't finish hanging until 5:00pm about one hour before the opening started!
Just after getting the last piece up we had started getting visitors! I quickly rushed home to pick up some last minute items and Dana as well - thanks Jessica for taking her home! After running around we made it to the show at 5:47pm and WVVA - our local NBC affiliate - was already there. As I walked in I saw Pete Sternloff, a Bronze Star Recipient in Vietnam, in tears! He was crying and said that he was "moved" and that "this show could be hung up in New York or anywhere" and that it needs "to be seen by everyone." I've never heard such a great compliment. Next was Debbie Bowling who hugged me and then Gary Bowling, both said they were deeply moved and tears were welling up in their eyes!
The reaction of my viewers to the show had moved me and made me realize that I had done something that I haven't done with my shows before: move an audience. So why this time? I think the answer: I worked from my heart first to tell a message that I kept bottled up inside of me.
Pete Sternloff and I at the show in front of the painting "Young Lovers"
Then WVVA interviewed me! I was so excited and the video above gives a great view of the show and the pictures below tell the rest of the story:
WVVA interviewing me at the opening!
This show was packed!
To a successful night!