Last Saturday, February 27, I had the privilege of attending the Berea Art Council's 2016 Stepping Out for the Arts. The theme this year was, "Through the Looking Glass", and the costumes, decorations, and multitude of cupcakes depicted all kinds of wonderful Alice in Wonderland imagery... there were papier mache mushrooms and collections of teacups on the tables, crazy and eccentric hats, and much levity and excitement in the air. There was both a silent auction and a live auction, led by the talented Rev. Kent Gilbert, and he brought much laughter and momentous energy to the bidding for the beautiful art. The space was again a stunning venue, and the West family who owns this amazing space has done a fantastic job of preserving and furthering the beauty of this historic building, as well as providing flawless service throughout the evening.
And this is the thing which struck me most as I absorbed the evening, taking in the 96+ pieces of artwork (click to see gallery) donated by local artists and conversing with so many-- that I am so incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by a deep and wide community of creative, supportive, generous folk. I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude to be part of this lively and loving group, bursting at the seams with talent of all kinds... and aware of the amount of time and resources that went in to making the evening such a success. I want to send out a huge thank you to all of the artists, volunteers, sponsors, friends and family who came out to support the Berea Arts Council, and especially to the BAC for supporting me as an artist over the past 10 years. It was palpable, the good energy that swirled around.
A final highlight of the evening for me was to be able to meet and engage with the woman who bought my piece, Lila Bellando. Although I have been in Berea for 10 years, I had not yet had the chance to meet and know Lila, her husband, Richard, and daughter, Tara, as well as their 2 lovely friends. Being the previous owners of Churchill Weavers, and Lila being an artist herself (as well as being the Director of the Berea Craft Festival for 32 years!), it was wonderful to hear about their history and impact on the arts in Berea and KY over a lifetime of dedication to the arts. I felt honored that Lila purchased my piece, "Quiet Emergence", and look forward to getting together with her again and hearing more about her inspiring life. It makes such a difference to get to meet the people who bring your art into their lives... always a gift for me, validating this connection that is at the root of making and sharing art.