As Art Invitational volunteers gather outside Oregon Contemporary for docent orientation, the courtyard buzzes with the eagerness for first glimpses of the exhibit. Inside the gallery, participating artist Ebenezer Galluzzo and artist and board member Ryan Pierce prepare to lead a tour for the numerous volunteer docents who play a pivotal role in bringing the show to life. Meanwhile, the installation team diligently attends to finishing touches, fine-tuning lights and straightening frames.
Whether you have witnessed the evolution of this event over the years or are discovering the Art Invitational for the first time this fall, I hope you share my awe at the strength of this fall’s show. As one longtime friend of Sitka expressed their delight on opening night, "There are so many people here, and the art and the space are so beautiful. Sitka has truly arrived.”
Inside the exhibit, while individual works beckon, what truly captures my imagination is the curation itself and the dialogue between the works clustered on walls and across the room from each other. Throughout the weekend, I voyeuristically return to the first gallery area to eavesdrop on the romantic conversation between Kim Osgood’s sprouting stump portraits and Susan Harrington’s portraits of endangered species.
Resonating and contrasting elements bring the gallery to life – the serene and the foreboding, the enchanting and the challenging. Rachel Denny’s delicate deer sits in repose, unnervingly close to Roger Peet’s forest fire and clear-cut imagery.
The juxtaposition of awe-inspiring beauty and imminent danger throughout the show simultaneously remind me of why I love nature and the actions we must take to preserve what we so admire.
Thank you to Sitka’s gifted curators, Patty Maly and Ruby Maly, along with the installation team and this year’s jury, for creating a public space where natural beauty meets urgent reality. Your work embodies the essence of the Art Invitational, and the potential art holds to deepen our relationship with nature and our resolve to protect it for future generations.
Thanks, also, to Art Invitational Coordinator, Katie McClintock for your lionhearted leadership and to Claire Christy-Tirado for coordinating our volunteers with so much kindness. Sitka volunteers, this show simply is not possible without you.
Above all, gratitude to the talented artists who share their work with us, contributing to a 29-year continuum of nature-inspired art in a changing world. I am deeply grateful for this annual convergence.
As we celebrate this year's Art Invitational in this newsletter, we invite you to share your thoughts and experiences with us.
Mark your calendars now: The 30th annual Art Invitational will take place on October 11-13, 2024, at Oregon Contemporary, with a preview for Friends Circle members and recent collectors on Thursday, October 10.
Congratulations, Katie. Thank you, Sitka community.