Hi. How are you doing? I hope you’re doing well. Staying safe. Staying strong. I’m writing to you from my home in Lawrence, Kansas. I currently serve as Exhibitions Director at the Lawrence Arts Center. This program puts on about 25 exhibits per year, and works with artists from Lawrence and beyond. As with most galleries or museums, we rely on visitors coming through to see art in our three galleries.
On March 12, we opened the annual Benefit Art Auction. This exhibit features a great cross-section of the artists we work with throughout a year. Some are just beginning their careers, while others have exhibited throughout the world. The auction also serves as the primary funding source for this free exhibition program.
For me, March 12 felt a bit like being strapped into a roller coaster. It was a significant accomplishment to get the show up in the galleries, and have our website fully populated. So many people on the Lawrence Arts Center team help make it happen. As in previous years, there was a high level of anticipation from artists and buyers for the opening night. Artists are always excited to see where their piece will be hung, which pieces are in the live auction and to spend time with fellow artists. Many buyers at the auction have been engaged with the Lawrence Arts Center in a variety of ways for many years. Their dedication is steadfast. Opening night is a special night.
When the Benefit Art Auction exhibition opened, Kansas was in the early stages of addressing the spread of COVID-19. We held an opening to a smaller-than-usual crowd. Everyone seemed glad to be there. They talked to each other about the art in the exhibition. It was great to see so many happy, familiar faces in a place they support. I can see their smiles in my mind’s eye as I write this.
Throughout that night and many times since many of those involved asked what our plans were and whether they could help in any way. I must admit that some days, I can be so focused on projects or individual exhibitions that when people reach out like this it is unexpected and moving. During those times where you’re not sure if anyone knows, or cares, about something you’ve dedicated yourself to, it humbles and inspires to get that nod. I’m encouraged, optimistic, and focused.
For the time being, we have pushed the “pause” button on the 2020 Benefit Art Auction.
When the time is right, we will push the “play” button, and all get together to celebrate the work so many artists have put in already, and to help support a program that has the honor of bringing their art to the community.
In the meantime, please take a look at the Lawrence Arts Center’s website for a variety of art-related programming that you can engage with while in solitude.
If you have ideas or want to chat about art, please send me an email. I’d be glad to connect with you: firstname.lastname@example.org