Last Thursday, my friend and the artist I currently represent Melysa Gorlicky invited me to an art exhibit and unique fundraising event called Save a Child’s Heart with a Piece of Art. It was organized and hosted by Ronnen Harary – photographer as well as a Co-Founder of Spin Master Corporation in Toronto. He supports the Save the Children’s Heart Foundation and uses the arts to promote children’s development and well-being. This exhibit featured photography by Ronnen Harary, original artworks by Melysa Gorlicky, and photography by Caitlin Cronenberg and Jessica Ennis from their series The Ending. All artists were selling artworks that night to raise money for the charity.
You might wonder how Melysa got this opportunity. The answer is simple – the power of networking and connections. It is crucial to connect with people and make sure they remember you. More importantly, if you are lucky and received an opportunity – you should always go above and beyond your capacities to present yourself and your contact in the best light. That is why I love working with Melysa as she always makes sure her end product is not done for the sakes of being done, but she puts all her heart into making it.
I was consulting Melysa at all stages of this project and also had a chance to attend one of their final meetings where we were deciding what works would be exhibited, what titles we want to use and what prices would be displayed on the art labels. Melysa was given ten original photographs taken by Ronnen Harary (most of them were taken during the Burning Man). For people who don’t know what Burning Man is – it is an event that happens once a year and where tens of thousands of people gather in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to create Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance. Melysa had to select a few photographs that she would be painting on and showcase at the event. She was able to produce seven graffiti-inspired works (six on a smaller scale and one as a bigger work) and they turned out to be unique mixed media pieces created using acrylic paint, cut-out collages, spray paint and markers.
We came to the venue at 5 pm prior to guests’ arrival and had a chance to explore the space. Most of Melysa’s art pieces were exhibited upstairs where we spent most of the time answering any questions people had. When I work with any artist, I always tell them to have a story behind any work they are exhibiting. People want to know how it was made, why you used a particular color, what/who inspired you, what is your style, how long it takes you to complete a work, etc. Be prepared to talk!
My curatorial view always sees things that other people might never think about. The lighting in our room and in many other rooms was deemed and only in the middle of the event one of the staff members increased the brightness in our room. Taking into consideration that this exhibition was not organized in the gallery, lightning is something to consider for next year’s show. Extra spotlights or floor LED lights can be a great solution to this problem.
The labels placed under Melysa’s works had some inaccuracy that we would take care of next year if we would have this opportunity again. The medium stated in the description was Art Photography, but it is a mixed media work. A few people didn’t realize that photographs were worked on. They saw the continuation of the description that stated that a photo belongs to Ronnen Harary and Art to Melysa Gorlicky, but it’s still very confusing to understand as you view the work as Art Photography. Artists, make sure you send information to event organizers that should be displayed on labels under your works to avoid any dissapointment.
The last issue, that could be avoided easily, was that Melysa’s works were not included in the main catalog given out to the guests. She worked on her pieces until the day of the event and she understands that there was no way for her works to be documented in a catalog that was printed way before the actual event. In addition, we also had a thought that it would be nice to have a small image of the original photograph by Ronnen Harary next to the piece made by Melysa to have a before and after effect.
Melysa had a great success and sold a few artworks that night. We had a pleasure meeting amazing people from the arts community and beyond and are thankful for this unique networking opportunity. To give you an understanding of the invited audience, we’ve met a few members of the AGO’s board of directors and the AGO’s Curator of Photography Sophie Hackett that I had an opportunity to meet before at one of my MFA classes held at the AGO.
Photography by Ronnen Harary:
Melysa Gorlicky’s works:
-Curator on the go