This past Saturday was the opening reception of the first collective art sale hosted in The Upper Room. The purpose of this sale is to create an opportunity for artists to showcase and sell their works and to network with fellow artists. I have hosted several solo and group exhibitions in The Upper Room before, in which I had to be selective of the works and artists. This collective art sale is the first exhibit with a non-juried, open to all selection process. My initial concerns are: 1) no one would care to join this event; 2) no one with decent works would care to join this event. However, the immediate responses to the call for entry have proven me wrong. Most submissions come from people who are passionate about arts albeit without formal training. These artists find time to practice their creativity and are eager for the chance to showcase their works. Their dedication and efforts are really evident in their works. I find these “hobby artists” pleasantly humble and their works are refreshingly inspiring. There is also a small number of student artists and working artists participating in this collective art sale. It is interesting to see such a blend of artists in the same exhibition since they are usually distinctly separated by their class in different context. I intend to make this event as accessible as possible for all sorts of artists and as approachable as possible for all sorts of audience. At the same time I want to showcase works that have substantial amount of creativity and execution skills regardless of artists’ training background. I want people to be able to relate and have access to this exhibit and that they can come in to see the art works without feeling inadequate.
The process of putting the event together reminds me of the numerous drawing contests and exhibitions that I have participated in since I was little. The naive expectation of winning the top prize and the honour of being in an exhibition were the motivation for me as a young artist to continue making arts. Wether or not my works actually win anything or get recognized gradually become secondary to me because I know there’s always some one out there more skillful and deserving than me. The primary concern for me is to know that each piece that is short-listed or exhibited represents an unique experience in my creative practice and that I should be appreciative of every opportunity.
The event title might be a little misleading as to the main focus of the event is to make profit. I sincerely hope to help these artists sell their works but the foremost subject is to put up an inspiring exhibit. I hope all the participating artists would enjoy being part this event and would want to come back in the future. The Upper Room will continue to improve in ways to promote and organize these events. This is only the first of many to come.
Once again a big thank you to Akie Sekiguchi, Bob Craig, David Leak, HuaShan Chang, JunHan Lin, Kiyoshi Whitley, Noriko Nasu-Tidball, Patricia Haley-Tsui, Ruby Gomes Peabody, Tamako Kimura, Tina Hurd and YuWei Chang for participating in this collective art sale.