Archive for the ‘collaboration’ Category

Before heading to the Fourth of July holiday with its extended weekend, we were thrilled to have another visiting artist!  Suzi Zimmerer, a professional artist in the Louisville community,  graciously shared her work among our circle of artists.

Suzi creates amazing images by cutting paper.  Best of all, her imagination is open and witty which came through the many examples of her art she brought to us.  Here she holds whimsical designs that seem to be part animal/machine hybrids.  Suzi is an accomplished draughtsman and much of her art is rooted in the language of drawing.  Her artwork has been exhibited all over the United States.

This is a simpler example of one of Suzi’s papercuts which seems related to the imagery found in Mexican folk art.  Suzi and her partner, Keith Kleespies once lived in Sante Fe before moving to Louisville.  One of the StudioWorks artists, Natalie Lanier,  especially responded to Suzi’s elegant images of stylish women.  After the presentation, Natalie was inspired to  create a cut paper artwork of her own!  Another StudioWorks artist, Marie Vample, really connected with one of Suzi’s collage sketchbooks.

Bradley Bohannon fell in love with the masks that Suzi made and brought along and he entertained us with his Godzilla impression!  I like that you can see his big smile despite having most of his face hidden.  A couple of weeks a go, Bradley made a very nice ceramic mask of his own.

After her informal presentation, Suzi made the rounds to see what the StudioWorks artists were currently making.  Carol showed both Suzi and Keith her newest commissions in progress.  Carol is doing two portraits of beloved pet dogs in embroidery.  Her needle work keeps getting better and better!

Julie Baldyga has been working on a series of oil pastels featuring electrical workers from around the world repairing transformers.  Here Julie shows Suzi something about her own amazing art making techniques.

This is an example of Julie’s series which highlights electrical workers switching out ceramic insulators while standing on substations?  Talking with Julie…we all learn more about electrical equipment which she likes to research on the internet.  In the following image, you can tell the workers are from India because the one on the right has a red dot on his forehead.

Other new pieces in the gallery include a nice acrylic painting on paper that Chimel Ford painted.  The subject speaks for itself!  Of late, Chimel has been on a productive and positive roll.

StudioWorks keeps growing with the addition of new artists.  Among are newest is Alexander B. who painted this scene of two people standing near a house.  Alexander likes to script the dialog and action in some of his pictures.  In this painting all his words have been covered over with paint.  We will try to get this young artist to leave a bit of the words visible to give viewers a better sense for what is happening.  Alexander also loves trains and so we expect to see some of that imagery popping up every now and then.  The staff loves the way he presents the human figure.

Bradley created a very entertaining color pencil and crayon piece inspired by the newest Green Lantern movie.  In his drawing, the staff and artists of StudioWorks have all been transformed into super heroes ready to do battle with all that threaten our fair planet.  Nobody better mess with us!

StudioWorks would like to thank Suzi Zimmerer for sharing her art work and time with us.  It is through these visiting artist encounters that our artists receive so much positive reinforcement and underscores how universal creativity can be.  We are lucky to live in such a vibrant and giving art community that exists in Louisville and look forward to other visiting artist presentations.  Before ending, the StudioWorks artists have had a series of collaborative in-house projects going on and one of them features lots of cut up fabric being braided and knotted together.  So far, Terry and Rebecca have gotten into this the most, but other artists have contributed as well.  What this fabric will become is still being decided and that is the exciting and creative part.  We will keep you posted on its progress!  Thanks for stopping by!!

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 This past week Zoom Group and StudioWorks received a visit from Commissioner Stephan Hall who leads the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities for the Commonwealth of Kentucky.  For Commissioner Hall, ( the gentleman on the left), this was his second look at our art program, but the first in our new space!  Leading the way for Zoom Group is the company’s president Annie Rosenberg Sattich, accompanied by Judy Erwin and Keith Ringer.  The Commissioner was impressed by our new space and the fresh direction that Zoom Group is undertaking.  Among the projects Commissioner Hall would have seen are two works in progress that our collaborative in nature.

Dorcas Kempf-Fluhr has been working on her acrylic on mat board paintings for several months now.  Her abstract works are characterized by deep, intense colors applied with an automatic technique.  Now that a fair amount of paintings have built up around Dorcas…we all hatched up the idea that it might be fun to make one giant painting from them!  Dorcas loved the idea.

So far, the paintings have been arranged onto a cardboard backing that has been reinforced with wood strips.  The paintings have been attached with hook fasteners to the cardboard.  We have reinforced the back with duct tape.  There are a few more kinks to work out including where will we hang Dorcas’ magnum opus when it’s complete and ready to go?  Looking around our large space…there are still just a few places where it looks like it could naturally hang.  I will show you where we hung it in our next post.

The second project Commissioner Hall would have seen is a plaster sculpture in progress.  StudioWorks staff member Josh Juett poured wet plaster into a reinforced cardboard box and let the mixture set.  When it was ready to work on anybody that was interested in learning something about subtractive sculpture could lend a hand.  Eric, Craig, David, and Marie got into this project the most.

The plaster was removed using rasps and files and because the plaster was still damp, there was no dust to contend with.  Before long the idea to pierce the sculpture by making a hole through it engaged several shifts of artists.  This work is still unfinished, but here is another image of it with Katie our valued volunteer pulled into the picture.

It’s hard to believe the month of June has flown by so quickly.  There’s still more to show of the great things we did over the last few weeks.  June was also Julie’s birthday month and she celebrated it over several lunches.  On one trip to Lynn’s Paradise Cafe, she was gifted with these star-shaped glasses which she couldn’t wait to wear to the studio  See you next time.

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The first Friday nights in Louisville are reserved for gallery hopping along the Main and Market Street corridors.  Among the best exhibits opening this evening included five StudioWorks artists that showcased their talents along side professional artists from our community.  The exhibition is entitled “Brothers and Sisters” and was curated by Carol Mueller and produced by the Council on Developmental Disabilities’ Weber Gallery.  The exhibit benefited from the support and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The opening was a success and a large art loving crowd came to see the fruits of twenty pairs of artists coming together to share themes, collaborate, and engage in the creative process.  The five StudioWorks artists invited to participate were Eric Huggins, Carol Thorp, Terry Bishop, Nancy Anderson, and Julie Baldyga.  This post documents their various collaborations.

Our Carol was paired with photographer and curator, Michael Winters and they decided to combine their strengths to make one art work.  First, Michael photographed Carol…and then returned with his image of her for her to embellish in a personal way. Carol decided to add color with acrylic paint.

After Michael returned with Carol’s image transferred to a clear plexiglas sheet…Carol then painted a stretched canvas the exact size to place behind the photograph.  It was serendipitous that the floral design that Carol was wearing on her blouse the day her photo was taken became an important element of the finished artwork.  Carol chose bright rainbow-like colors and butterfly images to compliment the design on the photograph.  Her family really likes how this picture turned out.

Carol had some help registering the two images, but conceived the color scheme and did the painting.  Here’s the finished piece sandwiched  together and framed in the show.  Carol stood near her portrait and talked with many visitors who admired the work!

Another great project was the work of Jeff East and Eric Huggins.  Both artists are fond of using clay and are great music lovers.  Jeff initiated things by teaching Eric how to make clay reliefs.  They each then chose related, but personal subjects to interpret.  Eric decided on portraits of Motown and Blues greats, while Jeff made images of his favorite dream guitars!  First, the images were created in moist low fire clay.

Here’s a few of their designs before firing in the bisque kiln.

After the bisque firing which went well, a ceramic stain was applied to the hardened clay plaques.  Sponges and brushes were used to apply and remove the stain and then the reliefs were fired in the kiln again.

This is Eric’s finished work on display at the Weber Gallery.  Both Eric and Jeff received many compliments over their collaboration.

With their strong talents for design and color, StudioWorks artist, Nancy Anderson and fused glass artist Mary Swanson found common ground very quickly.

For the “Sisters and Brothers” show, each artist chose to submit an original work that showed a shared concern.  In this case, both artists have a formal sense for beauty which is demonstrated by the geometric diamond patterning and for the use of intense, brilliant color.  Mary was nice enough to share her techniques for cutting and fusing glass with Nancy.  After this collaborative piece was finished, Mary gifted the glass art work to Nancy who proudly displays it in her home on a nice stand.  Here are Mary and Nancy’s hands working together.

This is Nancy smiling proudly next to her acrylic painting and Mary’s fused glass artwork at the opening of “Sisters and Brothers”.

Of the artistic pairings, the one featuring photographer Sarah Lyons and StudioWorks artist Julie Baldyga seemed the most natural.  That is because they have been friends and admirers of one another’s work for a couple of years now.  Sarah is known for a series of photographs of women motorcycle mechanics at work and Julie frequently portrays women repairing large machines.  Both are interested in showing women being self-reliant and empowered as subjects in their art.  Sarah’s large color photograph is of a mechanic repairing an antique boat engine and Julie’s pastel features a figure and a large turbine engine. For Julie, it is a reoccurring image.  Here are a few photos of the artists discussing their works both at StudioWorks and at the Weber Gallery.

Julie and Sarah enjoyed the moment and many people were generous with their comments about their art.  Terry Bishop and I are the last StudioWorks pair.  I’ve known and worked with Terry now for nearly two years and I have always admired his drawings.  He has a lovely drawing style and his piece is of himself and his friends being together.

This is Terry’s drawing and I love the simplicity and purity of its sentiment.  My sculpture interpreting the theme of friendship is displayed next to Terry’s drawing and can be seen in the first image of this post.  I like working with found materials that I salvage from the Ohio River.  I enjoy how the elements have weathered the materials I use and I feel that nature truly plays a part in shaping what I do in a very literal sense.  Terry and I occasionally draw together, but for this show our own individual works were our stronger efforts.  I enjoy the idea that although we are different artists in many ways, we still have more things in common than not.

The Louisville visual art scene is in the process of shifting and much discussion is being generated speculating which way things will flow.  With hope, an exhibition like “Brothers and Sisters” will signal greater inclusiveness for all who enjoy making and viewing art.  The art on display at the Weber Gallery is compelling and satisfying and worth the visit.  If you are on South Fourth Street, drop by for a look see…the show continues till the end of June! 

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StudioWorks has had this picture of Eric and Rebecca waiting to be used and now seems as good a time as any!  Our good friend and fellow artist Julie B. likes to collect wigs (among other unusual objects) and it’s fun to play along.  Here’s one with me in silvery hair next to Julie.  That’s my aloof look!

With all this long hair flowing around the gallery…I thought I would show you the work of some of our newest artists.  Here’s an example of Marie V.’s art.  She’s really good with color markers and works equally well with representational and abstract imagery.  Marie currently has work in our exhibit at J.C.T.C. which ends on March 31.

Another artist we are excited to be working with is Alicia R.  Here she is enlisting Susie’s advice on a figurative portrait.  Alicia is especially interested in making beaded jewelry and has produced many fine examples we offer for show and sale.

Linda S. is another recent addition.  Like Marie, Linda is trying out different media to find which ones she enjoys doing the best.  So far, Linda has enjoyed drawing in color pencils and markers.  She also makes use of stencils and this nice landscape piece features geese that were made with the aid of a stencil.

Also among our newest StudioWorks members is Artis A.  Here’s a picture of him and one of his marker art works.

Artis is a quiet guy with the nicest smile!  In the weeks he has been attending our program he has shown a real inclination towards working with chalk.  Artis will try oil pastels and acrylic paint, but for now “chalk” is his medium.  His work is bold and colorful which brings a smile to our faces.  Artis is prolific and a hard worker who stays busy from the moment he arrives in our building to the time he leaves.  Following are examples of some of Artis’ chalk drawings.  The first especially puts me in the spring time mood.

Here’s another of Artis’ chalk drawings and this one extends our “hair theme” as well.  Artis has a great up side to his art because it communicates so directly.  We love it when he comes skipping into the gallery because we know he is already off to a great day.

I’m loving all this color and so in closing I would like to post one of Dorcas’ acrylic nonobjective paintings.  Every once in a while she makes a real zinger and I think this image qualifies!  In our next post, I will feature five other StudioWorks artists who have been collaborating with five local artists from our community on a project for the Council on Developmental Disabilities’ Weber Gallery.  See you then!

Oh, I nearly forgot…we have another candidate for the crazy hair theme.  Eric did this drawing of two people wearing Afros like in the good old days!

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On March 8 at the Louisville’s downtown Hyatt Regency, 300 of our colleagues gathered to celebrate the Direct Support Professionals who do such an outstanding job of taking care of their clients.  This was the Seventh Annual DSP Appreciation Banquet.  The event is sponsored by The Council on Developmental Disabilities, Seven Counties Services, Inc., and by the Kentucky Developmental Disabilities Planning Council.  All told, thirteen different agencies came together so their outstanding employees could be recognized by their peers.  Each agency honors a promising newcomer to the field that has been with their respective company for less than a year…these are the Shooting Stars.  And finally, each agency selects their DSP of the year.  This year’s theme had a bit of Hollywood to it and people had a great time .  The StudioWorks clients once again helped to create the needed centerpieces.

This year Zoom Group had a tie for the Shooting Star Award… but both outstanding DSPs have a StudioWorks’ connection!  Honored were Susie Sherrard who began her association with our gallery by volunteering for a year.  When an opportunity presented itself for fulltime employment we were so lucky she agreed to join our staff.  Susie brings thirty years’ worth of experience in the art education field to StudioWorks and our clients really love her.  Josh Juett is fresh out of Hanover College where he was a scholar athlete.  He graduated with a degree in fine art and found a place at Zoom Group by splitting his time between StudioWorks and the Commercial Operations division where he quickly became an invaluable employee.  Josh is reliable, patient, and has a steady presence about him that serves our clients and company well.

Joining Josh and Susie was LaRon Burnette who was chosen by his Zoom Group peers as our DSP of the Year.  LaRon works with our clients at our laundry facility at the Veterans’ Administration Hospital and he is a very deserving recipient.  Zoom Group is proud of all our hard-working employees who give so much in the service of their fellow human beings.  Congratulations to you all!

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There’s never a dull moment at the new StudioWorks!  The activity level increases the more people become aware of this program, its artists, and this space.  Before too much time goes by I would like to remember a few more recent events.  Such as the above photo which documents the first SCL Provider Coalition that Zoom Group has hosted.  It was great to have our colleagues in the disability community gather to discuss issues of mutual interest.  Plus, we got to show off our new gallery too!

The StudioWorks artist community loved having the visitors and it was a good time to show off their art.  During January our guys were also fortunate enough to work with two visiting artists.  Unfortunately, the flu caught me the week the workshops occurred and I missed taking pictures of the processes used.  The first was with Jeff East who demonstrated and assisted our artists in making ceramic, lidded, keepsake boxes.  I will post finished images of those boxes since the work is in the kiln.  The other workshop was with Mark Bourlakas in preparation for a show at the Weber Gallery in which many of the StudioWorks artists also participated.

Mark is a nice guy and man of many talents.  Here he is talking about his sculptures at the Weber Gallery.  His exhibit is entitled “Reflections From the Margins” and is an investigation of the world of found objects and images that surround all of us which we sometime fail to notice or even acknowledge.  Mark raises awareness of this through his sculptures, photographs, and words.  For the workshop he conducted, the artists created small assemblages of found objects and embedded them in quick-setting concrete.

Lonnie made a nice sculpture with Mark’s assistance.  In this piece entitled “Door Knocker”, found objects which include these brass door elements and a small gourd are unified in a plane of cement.  We are proud that Lonnie tried this and he seems more willing to try something new since he first started with us.  Here’s a delicate sculpture by Natalie L. that incorporates a small wire dancer she fashioned along with ceramic tiles we had on hand.  The dancer in particular was very fragile.

We thank Mark for including us in his exhibition and showing us something about the materials he likes to use.  And we also want to express our appreciation to the Weber Gallery for their continued support.  The Weber Gallery is run by The Council on Developmental Disabilities and has been a big supporter of the visual arts in Louisville. 

In the meantime, we are all riding out winter by making art and enjoying one another’s company.  Once warmer weather arrives we are all looking forward to exploring more of our new neighborhood by foot.  For now, it’s a good time to finish up on projects and Nancy has been working on her first original cross stitch designs.

Nancy’s goal is to create a small wall hanging from the six designs she has finished.  She has thoroughly enjoyed working on her own art as opposed to the store-bought kits she’s used to.  Nancy loves to work with needle and thread and now we have a new tool just donated to StudioWorks!

This was the best surprise and we have to thank Sallie Read’s mother and father in-law for the donation.  We were graced with a visit by them and in casual conversation it was mentioned that this was a tool we were working towards.  Sallie surprised us with this wonderful gift that her mother-in-law purchased for us!  Now Nancy can make that wall hanging with ease and the other artists who like working with fabric have another option.

February is turning into an active month.  We have exhibits to prepare for and contests to enter and who can forget Valentine’s Day!  We have new artists who are joining us and we are looking forward to making new friends and seeing what kind of art they will make.  To close, looking through the storefront window on the Bardstown Road side, I can see two familiar friends (Julie and Nancy) through the glass and Susie reflected upon it.  See you soon.

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As busy as we were with getting our space ready for the public…we still found some time to participate in another local project.  Our friends at the Louisville Visual Art Association’s Open Doors program invited us to contribute two painted birchwood panels for their Heritage Holiday Tree.  The multicultural theme reflects how different communities observe this time of year. Other not for profit organizations were also asked to contribute art work and the results of everybody’s efforts were unveiled on December 9.

The painted and collaged panels were fitted together inside the Grand Hall of the Water Tower. The sculptural installation was about 24 feet tall!  Simultaneously, an intimate boutique of Kentucky arts and crafts was also presented for people looking for unique gift items.

Here are our two panels back at our StudioWorks location before they were picked up to go to the Water Tower.  Our clients came up with the ideas, designs, and did most of the painting.

The StudioWorks artists each made drawings that reflected some aspect of the holiday season that appealed to them.  Here drawings are laid out on the board prior to painting.

The larger of the two panels became a stylized Christmas tree based on a drawing by David Mahoney.  The honor of creating a star to go on top of our tree fell to Jeremy.  Here he is captured by the camera before acrylic  paint hits the surface.

Eric did a fine job of painting a representation of the Holy Family at the base of our tree.

Carol is a big admirer of Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer and here she is painting her version onto the panel.

Nancy and Dorcas add their imagery to the tree.  All the StudioWorks artists made some contribution to this worthy project.

Staff member Rebecca Crutcher assists Terry with transferring his designs onto the panel.

At the end of the first and larger panel…we began to hit our stride.  The second and smaller panel came together very quickly and was based on an idea that Dorcas had.  She suggested that a toy train set would make a nice element to frame an image of a peaceful dove that Julie painted.   Here is the panel at its beginning stages.  And to close, here is the same painting a little further down the line with the addition of painted Christmas lights surrounding the toy train track.  We hope the Louisville Visual Art Association’s event was a success and we thank them for thinking of us to include in this fun project!

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Just a few days away from our ribbon cutting ceremony and our grand unveiling of the new and greatly expanded StudioWorks.  All our artists have been happy with our big space and have been busy making new art in anticipation of Saturday, December 4. If you are in the Louisville ‘area of 2008 Eastern Parkway, you are invited to stop in and celebrate with us.  This will coincide with the 25th Anniversary edition of Bardstown Road Aglow which we are pleased to be included.  We will be opening to the public from 3:00pm till 9:00pm with the ribbon cutting festivities happening at 4:00pm.

Nearly everything we brought with us from 4th Street has now been taken out of its moving box.  In a month, we have fired our kiln three times.  Today was the last firing before we open our holiday sale on Saturday.  Here Carol is glazing a wonderful Panda ceramic sculpture she made.  The pink liquid she is applying will turn clear and glassy from the heat of the firing.  Julie is especially good at hand building with clay.  She just goes right to it being careful about this material’s working properties.  On her table are various fuses, birds, fire hydrants, and airplanes that she has made.

We have more than just clay going on.  The StudioWorks artists are also putting the finishing touches on a few wonderful canvases.  Chimel Ford is one of our newer artists and doing a great job on his painting.  He likes to use snack food bags as subject matter and also does  portraits of people in the music industry that he admires.  Chimel just finished a painting of the late Michael Jackson that looks just like the pop star.  Here he is working on his most current acrylic on canvas creation.

Nancy Anderson has also been working on a painting.  I call it her “Cosmic Bubble” Series, but to Nancy, this has more to do with repeated circles.  She can concentrate very heavily on whatever project has her engaged at the moment.  She is really good with cross stitch and we hope to introduce her to doing more original work in this medium.

Of course, after the Thanksgiving holiday people start decorating for the next big occasion.  We are no different now…except we just quadrupled our space.  Last year we only needed one tree and now we have seven or eight!  Those trees, however, are not all life-size.  Susie, Rebecca, Sallie, and gallery friend Jeff Ellis have been working on the display areas facing Eastern Parkway.  I made a few Styrofoam snowmen as props and the whole winter scene is illuminated with white lights.  Here’s the girls hanging decorations in our gallery.

Naturally, so many trees require many different ornaments.  This year the artists made decorations from clay, glass (both fused and painted), and thin metal.  Susie is good at giving demonstrations of new materials and techniques.  Here she works with thin metal to produce decorations commonly seen in Mexican folk arts.  StudioWorks’ newest staff member is in this group shot.   The clean-cut guy on the left is Josh Juett who is a sculptor by training.  We welcome him aboard during this very chaotic, fun, and auspicious moment for us!!

We have been busy…but we took on one more project for the holidays.  Our friends at the Louisville Visual Art Association have asked us to participate in the making of a special holiday display to be shown inside the old Water Tower building.  StudioWorks made two paintings, but I will wait to show you the finished result later.  For now, I will show you Jeremy and Eric working on the panel during its early stages.

We have one more decorated storefront window to show you and its special because this is our window.  It faces Bardstown Road and gives us a presence on this active corridor.  This year we have asked Barry Wooley Designs to take on this challenge for us.  Barry and his associate Lisa Angell did much to help us choose color schemes, materials, and furnishings for our new space.  It’s always great to make new friends.  If you are in the Highlands on Saturday, Dec. 4…please stop by and help us celebrate launching the new and improved StudioWorks and take in Bardstown Road Aglow too!!

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This has been the busiest October I can ever recall and it certainly has been a momentous one for Zoom Group’s StudioWorks program!  We started the month by beginning the retrofit at 2008 Eastern Parkway which will be our new home beginning in November.  The artists of StudioWorks should be proud of themselves!  Their artistic accomplishments have earned them a newer, better equipped, and spacious new studio and gallery.  South Fourth Street has been a great base for three years and so many nice artworks were created here along with the friendships and collaborations we prize so much.  Our old home, however, was feeling more than cramped and other artists that wanted to join our program needed to wait until space opened up.

Our last post showed our new space before renovations and improvements were made.  So much that needed to happen according to schedule fell into place through the hard work and dedication of many people.  Our contractors worked with us on a nice configuration and local designer friends contributed their expertise to choose colors and flooring that would be warm and welcoming.  When the proper time comes we will thank everybody that played a part in our move.  While events were winding down on Fourth Street…Eastern Parkway was in high gear.  Furniture that Susie and I had purchased from IKEA was laid out on the freshly painted floor.  Wonderful volunteers from United Parcel Service came to our space and assembled all the tables and chairs.

Here are some of the UPS volunteers in action.  They were a huge help and their contributions are deeply appreciated.  I think we even made some new friends along the way which is always a nice bonus!  In this image, Zoom Group’s Sallie Read and UPS staff member Stacie Linn share the experience of assembling chairs!

Of course, the last week of October also means Halloween.  At the old studio, Susie was holding down the fort and keeping our guys busy with making art and observing the holiday with small cupcake parties.  A few of the artists brought their costumes with them and here’s a picture of Brad Bohannon with his werewolf mask on.  He does a convincing wolf howl to boot!

Among the last drawings produced at the studio were a series of jack-o-lantern drawings and a few of them are also self-portraits.  Here’s Eric’s self-portrait …he’s imagined himself with bushier hair than he has!

Terry Bishop did this nice marker rendering of a jack-o-lantern, although I don’t think it is intended to be a self-portrait!

The StudioWorks artists are all anticipating the move and they had a chance to see the place right after Zoom Group signed the lease.  I think they will be pleasantly surprised by the positive changes that were made.  With me filling up boxes, our last week in the studio had more than its share of distractions.  We did participate in a couple other activities.  Our artists returned to Glassworks to make a ornaments for the upcoming holiday season.  And we learned that a contest eleven of our artists entered locally was a big success for us!  The Center for Accessible Living sponsored the competitive juried exhibition and every piece the StudioWorks artists entered was accepted!  Most all of our guys won prizes too…but I will save that for a future post!  It is a nice reflection of the success we have been having lately.

This may be one of the last images of the 4th Street studio and gallery I publish on this blog.  When I asked David Mahoney for his favorite memory of our old studio, he said it was the day they moved into this space.  I’m hoping he will feel similarly when he crosses the threshold at our new location.  To end this post and on top of everything else that has been going on…Zoom Group had their annual picnic at the Calvin Presbyterian Church on Saturday.  This church is also the home of one of Zoom Group’s day programs and it was nice to see the agency gathered here.  Among the many events within the event included a costume contest, a talent show, an award ceremony, the ever popular cake walk, and then there’s the barbecue!

The picnic was held inside the church’s gymnasium.  Several hundred members of the Zoom Group family along with friends and relatives enjoyed the festivities.  The event also honors clients for their long-term service and employment to Zoom Group.  Framed certificates were handed out and most of the honored have been with the agency for ten or twenty years!  Here’s an image of Sheriff Greg Gatewood, (he does so much to pull this event off) sitting next to the table with the award certificates.  Among the StudioWorks artists, Eric, Julie, and Dorcas were honored for their decade’s worth of service.

By far the most popular activity at the picnic is the cake walk.  In short, it’s like a game of musical chairs, except the participants walk a sidewalk course that has numbered squares drawn on it.  Music is played and the people walk the course.  Once the music stops, a number is pulled from the plastic pumpkin and if you are standing on that numbered square…you win a cake or box of cookies.  For years, Kroger has been a great sponsor of this event and picnic. 

Dorcas was dressed up as a scarecrow and went along the course.  Fellow StudioWorks artist Nancy had success and had her number called.  Here she is choosing a prize from the many that were on hand!  By the end of the cake walk, all the baked goods were gone.

We will be opening the new space on November 1.  We have new artists and staff that will be joining us and I can’t wait to tell you about them!  Zoom Group will have a formal opening for StudioWorks’ 2008 Eastern Parkway location on December 4 which corresponds with Bardstown Road Aglow kicking off the beginning of the holiday season.  We are sure to have a nice crowd for that.  In the meantime, we have a month to unpack, get settled, and make more art to sell.  I am going to end this post with a photograph of two self-portrait pastel drawings that Julie made and attached to the door of our old South 4th Street location.  As the day was ending, the sun was setting on them.  Our next post, will be from the new and improved StudioWorks location.  To everybody who have helped make this program a success…you have our sincerest Thank You!!

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Because we are a not for profit organization, we are frequently asked to measure success in various ways.  Those of us who work in the arts know how notoriously hard it can be to do this in a highly subjective field.  I think continuity is a good measure of a program’s success.  If a program experiences changes…how much does the quality of the services suffer?  Recently, we lost a key staff member and a couple of our artists moved on for their own reasons.  We were lucky that Susie Sherrard had been working with us as a regular volunteer for a year and was familiar with our mission and clients.  We were even more fortunate when she accepted the offer to work with us on a fulltime basis.  Susie is already an invaluable asset to our program and has nearly thirty years experience as an art educator in art museums.  She is a pretty decent artist herself and a wonderful resource.  We wish her all the best as we begin this adventure together.

Is the program fun?  Well, as you can see from Eric’s colorful mohawk wig we are as serious as can be all the time!  Since many of us work so closely together we have to joke around every now and then.  At StudioWorks, we are a functioning work site, but we like to keep things open.  We certainly like to celebrate everybody’s successes and here are a few notable art projects that have or are working their way through the studio.

Dorcas finished this acrylic painting last week with assistance and she’s proud of it.  The title is “Gone Fishing” and it depicts her late father walking with rod in hand to his favorite fishing hole.  She took this one home with her so she can see it everyday.

Jeremy is into fantasy heroes and Japanese manga.  This knight-inspired design is rendered with various color pencils and markers.  Jeremy is great at recycling and has a nice range of materials he works with. The colorful wig Eric is wearing was brought in by Jeremy as a gift for Julie.

And here is another picture of success.  Julie is holding her Blue Ribbon winner from this year’s Kentucky State Fair.  She entered in the pastel category with this striking picture of a woman with an engine in her hair!  Congratulations to her…there was a lot of competition this year.

David Mahoney has been on a positive roll lately.  He has a piece in a competitive juried show at the Kentucky Folk Art Center in Morehead, won a prize and later sold the piece!  He too entered the state fair and won recognition with a pastel work of his own based on his interpretation of an Edward Hicks’ painting he saw in a book.  David likes working on wood.

The actual ribbon will arrive by mail!  Carol’s winning smile is another measure of success.  She is pleased with her most recent painting of a calico cat playing with a psychedelic ball of yarn.  We were teasing Carol that this painting would look extra fine if we were wearing 3-D glasses!  Carol has since finished this work by cleaning her lines up a little bit.  In our next post, I’ll give you a better look at it and some of the preliminary drawings.

In closing, StudioWorks will continue to advocate for our clients and believe our artists are capable of significant creative expression.  We are looking forward to expanding our circle with a few new artists soon.  For now, we would like to wish Susie well!  We can’t wait to work with you!!

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