I’m so excited! Octopus’s garden was accepted into the Ellarslie Open 33, an annual juried exhibit at the Trenton City Museum in Cadwalader Park. Not least among the reasons for my delight is that Dave and I get to attend the VIP opening reception. Opening receptions are one of the perks of being an artist, one that I as a lover of small bites and finger foods especially appreciate. More importantly, I hope that this show will help me to share my work with a much wider audience. Over the past year I’ve been showing my work in more venues than before, but the majority of them have been in and around Bristol, PA. Bristol is a wonderful town, but I see the same people at almost every show and there’s a limit to how much art one small town can absorb.
I mentioned previously that my current goal is to show more of my work in juried exhibitions. The first one I attempted was Phillips Mill, one of the most prestigious regional shows in the Delaware Valley. I didn’t intentionally start at the top, but it was the first one on the calendar after I decided it was time to tackle juried shows. After that I tried at a smaller local show with the Artists of Yardley. Octopus’s Garden was rejected by the jurors both times even though I still believe it to be my best work to date, although not my favorite piece — that would have been Moonrise — but the one that best shows what I’m capable of doing.
(Artists of Yardley did accept one of the other works I submitted. Antelope Canyon was an earlier work, and a very important project for me at the time, but I still think that Octopus’s Garden is a better piece.)
“Third time is the charm,” they say and so it was for Octopus’s Garden. I’m not only tickled pink to be selected for the exhibit (a juried show! in a real museum!), I’m relieved to know that finally someone agrees with me on the merits of this particular piece. Other collages have sold, been favorably reviewed in the press, and even won awards, but until now Octopus’s Garden was always passed by. It’s validating in a different way to finally have my assessment in what this piece represents ratified.
Ellarslie Open 33 runs from May 7 to June 26. The Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie in Cadwalader Park is operated by the Trenton Museum Society. It is, according to the museum website, “mid-Jersey’s premier annual juried exhibit.” Out of 496 works submitted, 181 were selected for the exhibit.