INTRODUCTION TO THE ORGANIZING COMMITTEE
We, the four artists organizing THAT, introduce ourselves by sharing a little biographical information, our relationship to art and our motivations to do this. Read about us below.
Once I began organizing The Hunterdon Art Tour (THAT) I was asked,
“Why are you doing this? What is your story?” And yes, there is a story!
I have been living in Hunterdon County since my son was born in 1991. My daughter arrived a year later. I left Brooklyn with an MFA, an active exhibition record and college teaching under my belt. I hoped that Hunterdon County would to be an amazing place to be an artist. Having met many artists through STEAMROLLER, a cooperative gallery spearheaded by myself and Michelle Henkin in Frenchtown in the 90’s, I found artists tucked here and there and just about everywhere throughout the county.
In recent years I put aside my design and business pursuits with Civilian Art and returned to the nose to grindstone task of simply living as an artist. With that I began to wonder if to truly thrive as an artist, would I have to travel to NYC or to Philly or to New Mexico? (where I painted for the winter of 2015). Yet Hunterdon County is where I raised my children and a fertile place to live. I love it here. I teach here. The people are the best. The landscape is breathtaking. The river is magic. It is an inspiring place to be an artist and to make art.
THAT represents my desire to ‘pay it forward’ honoring the support I received from my generous community in 2015. I raised over $10,000 from my people to redefine my life and head back to simply BEING an artist. I believe that Hunterdon County can be every bit as fulfilling to live in as an artist as the Hudson Valley or the Berkshires or Taos! Bucks County boasts a remarkable artists’ community with a rich history that has a firm hold in the art world. I see Hunterdon County as a more of a blank canvas, waiting for its artists to create a legacy of art herein.
The Hunterdon Art Tour is helping to bring us together as a community of artists – not unlike what Artsbridge has done for the River Community around New Hope and Lambertville yet reaching further inside of Hunterdon County and into its financial and educational infrastructure. THAT can only hope to thrive as long as Artsbridge. By discovering each other, opening our studios to each other and to the world we will elevate the profile of Hunterdon County. With the help of ArtYard, HAM, Culture & Heritage and River Union Stage, we can be a new home for the arts and for residencies and events that provide easy access for an urban audience who hungers for something new outside the art world. That something new resides in our land, our towns, our families and in the art we create while immersing ourselves in our community.
Let’s make more art. New art. Let’s make THAT transformative!
I was born and raised in the South. I became interested in art by getting to know neighborhood potters while living in Hillsboro Village in Nashville. I soon took myself back to Knoxville (my hometown) and received a master’s degree in ceramic sculpture from the University of Tennessee. During this time, I taught beginning ceramics to adults and college students, and studied drawing and painting.
After graduation I worked as a studio artist in Knoxville for many years, during which time my work was exhibited locally and nationally. I was one of the founders––and established funding for––a cooperative art gallery in Knoxville’s warehouse district.
After struggling financially as an artist I re-enrolled at the University of Tennessee, securing an M.B.A., which resulted in a long career in management with Merck and Co. in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Twelve years ago I reconnected with my passion for art and began anew my work in painting. In 2007 I started showing my new paintings and am now participating in art fairs and juried exhibitions. Recently, I signed a contract with a Pennsylvania gallery to be part of a three-person show in 2018. I work part-time at the Hunterdon Land Trust, managing its parkland home (the Dvoor Farm in Flemington) and its year-round farmers’ market.
The Hunterdon Art Tour is the realization of a dream of mine to create a community wide place of connection for local artists and those who support them.
I am an artist at heart.
I am a lifelong Hunterdon County resident. I see, hear and taste beauty in the quotidian:
… a herd of Belted Galloway cattle on Stamets Road, their black and white coats in sharp contrast against the green grass and blue skies.
… the simultaneous hum and echo of car tires on weathered wood as you pass through the covered bridge on Rosemont-Ringoes Road.
… the luxuriant clusters of wild red raspberries that proliferate in July, inviting hands and tongues and beaks to pluck them from scratchy stems.
While I pursued studies in journalism and history and then built a career in the nonprofit sector, including stints in public broadcasting, strategic planning and development consulting, and, most recently, philanthropy, part of me has always sought a creative outlet.
That search has taken me to some interesting places both far and near, from a week-long writing and letterpress workshop at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, to wood turning classes at the YMCA in New York City and Quakertown, PA, as well as a variety of studio classes at Raritan Valley Community College.
For me, there is exquisite anticipation upon entering an artist’s studio for the first time. There is magic in seeing the work in situ and smelling and touching the elements from which it is made. The opportunity to showcase local artists and share that experience with a wider audience is what attracted me to help with planning for The Hunterdon Art Tour (THAT).
I am honored to be part of THAT, a truly collaborative labor of love that promises to reveal the depth and breadth of our county’s artistic assets.
I imagined my life as an artist would be as a painter, and I painted. But I found that writing is where my experience of life is most effectively shared. And so I write. An example:
In the middle of a time when he thought his daughter would become a farmer, he bought her a tractor. It was yellow when new and older than she was. She kept it in the back yard, taking it apart bit by bit, discovering its innards and refurbishing them. When she got it running she would drive it to school, going there without using the roads. It was during these rides that she recognized herself, and even after the tractor was sold she would revisit it in order to clear her mind.
I also write about objects and their appearance. My approach is to take inventory of their visual characteristics and use that assessment to generate ideas about what the objects express. I’ve written about electric irons made in the era of streamlining, 1932-52, and about mangle boards, planks of wood used to smooth the wrinkles in linen tablecloths. Mangle boards were popular in Europe from the mid-1500s to the mid-1800s.
My relationship to art was molded by my education at The Barnes Foundation, where I also taught. I was among those who fought to prevent its art from being deracinated from its garden, to be re installed (and re-mixed) in a sterile box on a busy street, to the detriment of all.
Frenchtown was, at first, where my partner lived and then, now where I live. I’ve come to savor its delights: first among them are the people, the river, its proximity to farms and farmers and its openness to the new.
I joined the THAT team to share my skills at writing. I am also the secretary, take the notes, make the tea and serve the cookies when we meet.
The tour is a worthy effort by a few artists on behalf of all local artists, creating a chance for them to be fully in charge of their work, by being in charge of how it’s seen and how it’s sold. I am proud to be part of this … and THAT.