The dog days of summer have kicked in a little early. The exhaustion of the summer heat is adding to an already-challenging year. But art has a way of making things better. Or shall I say bearable?
Melissa Sexstella’s students in the Creative Painting and Drawing 1 and 2 online classes from the Fine Arts Association, 38660 Mentor Ave., Willoughby, found a way to make the pandemic “bear-able” with their Teddy Bear Project.
As the international lockdown began, a worldwide bear hunt ensued. It was inspired by the popular 1989 children’s book “Let’s Go on a Bear Hunt” by British author Michael Rosen. The goal of the hunt was to distract children and calm their fears during the isolation of sheltering at home. It offered a focus while taking neighborhood walks and drives by having them look for stuffed bears in windows and yards. The trend caught on in Europe, Australia and North and South America.
That hunt continues today in Lake County thanks to these FAA students. They created coloring book outline drawings of teddy bears and emailed them to Danbury Senior Living in Mentor, where they were photocopied and presented to residents to color and display.
Students also colored and designed their creations to fit the theme “What Happiness Looks Like.” Their artwork was framed and hung at Lake County’s courthouse along with a description of the “The Worldwide Bear Hunt” project. Copies of the students’ finished works also were provided to Danbury residents to display on their personal mailboxes.
This is just another example of how art makes life better.
Now think for a moment about all the artworks being removed and destroyed around the country, and about the artists who proudly and painstakingly created each piece with full devotion to their crafts, never expecting the world to turn on them and use their creations as a focus for fury and destruction.
I think about them. And I am saddened by the boundless ignorance being displayed by my fellow citizens. Consider this: Artwork needs negative space to support the positive. The same is true in life.
Please check out and support your local art centers and galleries. There are creative fundraisers, online classes, smaller in-house classes, art shows and gift shops.
Stella’s Art Gallery
Stella’s Art Gallery, 38033 Euclid Ave., Willoughby, opened “Size Matters” earlier this month, overcoming the many obstacles we face to do business and safely handle social interactions.
“It was a fantastic turn out! We had over 90 entries,” gallery owner Dani Klein said. “I didn’t know what to expect because of (the novel coronavirus), and I am very pleased. Our reservation system worked well. The accepted artists were able to reserve up to 10 spots an hour to bring in their family and friends. This helped control numbers and allowed social distancing. The public was able to come in as numbers allowed. All were understanding and very supportive of the process.”
The process worked so well that they will follow the same protocols for the next show, “Northeast Ohio,” with artworks inspired by the region. The categories are Water; Parks & Places; Wildlife; and Recent Events. Artworks must be dropped off between 11:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Aug. 7 or 8. The reception is scheduled for 7 to 9 p.m. Aug. 14. Visit bit.ly/stellas-callforart for complete details.
But I digress.
Here are the winners for “Size Matters:”
The Best in Show goes to Diana Montagino for her sculpture “Princess and the Pea.”
The winners in 3D Small (under 2 inches in any direction) are Kristin Barnes, first place; Anna Weisend, second place; and Julie Cook, third place.
The winners in 3D Medium (6 to 18 inches) are Sam and Anna Weisend, first place; Helen Hayes, second place; and Angela Percassi, third place.
The winners in 2D Small (6 inches or less) are Cynthia Brewster, first place; Will Slabaugh, second place; and Linda Janosko, third place.
The winners in 2D Medium (between 10 and 25 inches) are Tricia Kaman, first place; Ann Dumont, second place; and Becky Grasser, third place.
In “2D Large” (between 36 and 48 inches) the winners are Michelle Farnworth, first place; and Elaine Soltis, second place.
Stella’s is open 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. by appointment and from 1 to 6 p.m. to the public Tuesday through Saturday.
Call 216-401-6965 or visit stellasartgallery.com for more information.
They have many safety protocols in place. including the wearing of masks, which will be provided if necessary.
Follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/stellas.art.inc.
Fairmount Center for the Arts
For its 44th annual “Fairmount Art Exhibition,” the Fairmount Center for the Arts, 8400 Fairmount Road, Russell Township, will accept entries from noon to 4 p.m. Aug. 1 and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 3. Artists from Northeast Ohio are invited to enter.
Prizes include $1,000 for Best in Show, as well as the $200 first-place and $100 second-place awards in each category, which include Painting (oil, acrylic, tempera), Watercolor, Photography, Graphics, 3-D and Fiber. Grace Chin, Diane Fleisch-Hughes and Anthony Mitri will judge the show.
Valley Art Center
“Formed from Flame,” the new show at Valley Art Center, 155 Bell St. Chagrin Falls, showcases more than 100 works from 19 artists.
The art center is open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The Gallery is also open 6 to 8 p.m. Thursdays.
VAC is offering patrons the opportunity to book a private viewing party for up to 10 guests for $50. These private parties will be hosted by VAC staff and board members. Call 440-247-7507 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.