Watershed ArtFeast – the food, the fun, the photos

Wednesday night marked the second ArtFeast adventure at Jennifer Schwartz Gallery.  The first ArtFeast dinner with photographer Lori Vrba and Wisteria chef Jason Hill was a smashing success that got a lot of great press and attention.  The word definitely got out, because this ArtFeast was oversold with a waiting list, but I can’t say that’s a surprise – between Joe Truex’s amazing cooking and Jeff Rich‘s gorgeous imagery, we were bound to hit it out of the park.

After champagne and delicious bites, we feasted. . .

  • first course:  Smoked trout, endive and purple cress salad with toasted pecans
  • second course:  East coast crab and shrimp gateaux, wild asparagus, gribiche sauce
  • third course:  Slow-roasted duck breast, sweet potato farrotto, cherry sauce
  • fourth course:  Cinnamon spiced sorghum cake, vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce

Now that your mouth is excessively watering (the meal was so, so good – and the art talk was incredible too). . . here are some photos:

Set and ready to dine - a huge thank-you to David D'Ambrosio who graciously contributed all of the beauty from his store, Redefined (http://www.redefinedhomeboutique.com/)

going around the table introducing ourselves - Jeni Cook, Amy Bailey, Finley Campbell, Gabe Campbell, David D'Ambrosio

Chef Joe's faithful servant for the evening, Matt Arnett, gives Jeff Rich his salad

Chef Joe Truex hard a work on the duck

You know I'm having a good time when the self-portrait iphone pictures start happening - with Jeni Cook

Chef Joe Truex introduces the next course

playing the doppelganger game - Jimmy Hamilton/Andy Richter

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Jeff Rich Artist Talk

On Saturday, February 18, Jeff Rich gave an artist talk at the gallery to a large and very engaged crowd.  In case you missed it, here’s the video.  (Please excuse the shaky start – it gets better!)

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Walk Away With Art featured on CBSAtlanta.com

Our Walk Away With Art event was featured on CBSAtlanta.com! Click on the image below to see the video, photo slideshow, and nice write up.

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Talking the Talk

Last year I was speaking with  Fraction Magazine founder and editor (and twitter addict) David Bram about social media and the amazing online photography community.  Our conversation developed into a talk and presentation called “Photography in the Age of Social Media” that we have now given twice.

We were first invited to give this presentation at FotoFusion in West Palm Beach, Florida in January.  FotoFusion is a really interesting festival with great panels, lectures and seminars.  The audience was definitely skewed toward an older crowd though, and our talk went from “what not to post on Facebook” to “Facebook is a website. . .”.  Still, the talk was well-received, and a blast to do.

Our second time was to a completely different audience – the photography students at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC.  David and I were invited to give the Social Media talk, lecture to a class, meet with the graduate students, critique several student projects, and generally hang out and talk photo.  It was amazing.  Here are a few pictures from the trip (collected from various iphones – not a representation of the photographic talent we saw there!).

Talking to students about editioning their work at the Tapp's Art Center. David appears to be tweeting. . .

"Photography in the Age of Social Media" talk

during a crit

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Walk Away With Art – What’s all this talk about?

If you have known me for more than five minutes, you probably know that I breathe ideas. Inside my head is a scary place to be, and if a big one comes, you best jump on board or jump out of the way, because it’s going to come at you like a steam engine.

Walk Away With Art (or WAWA as we’ve affectionately been calling it) was one of those big ones.  In thinking about how to encourage people who haven’t been thinking about art to engage with it and become collectors, I wanted to develop a few “branded” events at the gallery to work toward this goal.  ArtFeast was one idea, and we held the first one a few weeks ago to great fanfare.  But WAWA was the idea bomb.

Here’s how it works – I invite seven of my photographers to give seven different images (one gives eight, making 50 total unique images) to pin up around the gallery.  We sell 50 tickets, and everyone who has a ticket draws a number from 1 to 50 when they check in.  All of the photographers are at the event and each have a few minutes to introduce themselves and talk a bit about their work.  When everyone has had time to look around and decide which pieces are their favorites, we start calling numbers.  We go in order from 1 to 50, and when we call a number, the person with that number goes up to their favorite piece, takes it off the wall, and is now a collector.  Everyone walks away with art.

For me, an event like this works to build collecting on a lot of levels.  At the most basic, it is an exciting and fun party.  Great food, great cocktails, great art.  People are coming into the gallery and having a really positive experience, making them more likely to attend future events.

Next, they are engaging with art in a meaningful way.  Because everyone gets to take home a piece (original, signed), they are really looking at all of the photographs and figuring out what they are drawn to.  I purposefully chose seven photographers with very different aesthetics, to show the wide range in photographic style and subject and to make sure there would be something appealing for each guest.  They are looking and learning what they like.

Finally, they are having a unique opportunity to hear the artist speak about the work and meet them individually.  So even if someone is not particularly drawn to a certain photographer’s work, hearing the photographer speak about it will still give a deeper appreciation and understanding.  The opportunity to hear an artist passionately talk about their project and then make a personal connection to him or her is priceless and adds another level of connection to the photograph.

Leading up to the event, I was hoping and praying and having some anxiety dreaming that all of these pieces would fall into place and WAWA would come off as I intended.  Success!  Beyond success.  Beyond my wildest dreams success.

People were blown away by the photography, the concept, the photographers themselves.  While eating sushi and drinking the Westside Fizz, guests were milling about and getting a sense of their favorite photographs.  Then after the photographers spoke, people wanted to have a few more minutes to take another look, and many people completely changed their minds after hearing the story behind the imagery.

Calling out the numbers was exciting, and sometimes when a piece was chosen, you could hear an “oh no!”.  There were a few occasions where tackling another guest was proposed, but luckily we were able to generally discourage it (after all, all of these images are part of these photographers regular collections and very much for sale).  Even though there were definitely some “favorite” images in the room, most people were drawn to very different work, so even people with higher numbers (meaning they were near the end to choose) ended up selecting one of their top choices.

After the selection process, most guests stayed and spoke to the photographer whose piece they ended up with, and the gallery was buzzing.  People were excited, inspired. . . they were collectors, and they were loving it.

introducing the photographers: Laura Griffin, Lori Vrba, Kathleen Robbins, Heidi Kirkpatrick, Jeff Rich and Lisette de Boisblanc

Read this great write-up in the Atlanta Business Chronicle!

 

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Lust is in

We were excited and overwhelmed by all of the strong submissions for the Lust show, opening at the gallery on March 23.  David Bram (Fraction Magazine) was the juror with the difficult task of choosing which images will hang in the show.  Below is the list of photographers who will be included.  Thanks to everyone who submitted!

Evan Baden

Mary Ellen Bartley (Fraction Winner)

Maude Clay

Daniel Coburn

Jess Dugan

Hugo Fernandes

Michael Grace-Martin

Daniel Grant

Michael Grecco

Jennifer Henriksen

Margaret Hiden

Alexi Hobbs

Clay Lipsky (The Ten Winner)

Coco Martin

Heather Musto

Wynn Myers

Laura Noel

Jesse and Jason Pearson

Jacinda Russell

Trois Vitesses by Alexi Hobbs

Falling/Fame by Laura Noel

Nettie-01 by Clay Lipsky

Untitled diptych by Mary Ellen Bartley

EyeLashes by Michael Grecco

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Proud of Our Peeps

So much amazing press all around for our photographers, we are bursting with pride over here at JSG.

The solo show we did with Lori Vrba in New Orleans last year got a huge shout-out in PDN (Photo District News).  The online version is already live, print version coming out momentarily.

Jeff Rich’s solo show opens this Friday night, and Bearings Atlanta wrote a nice feature:

And Kathleen Robbin’s new work (which I gushed about here) was featured on NPR’s The Picture Show blog.

Yeah, that’s right.  We’ve got some awesome photographers.

 

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