Another Successful OPS Art Show!
The best guesses of the event’s coordinators are that 75 (maybe even 80!) people braved the winter winds to come out to the Ocracoke Preservation Society Museum for the "Ocracoke Through Your Eyes" Art Show on Saturday evening.
They came to see the 81 little works of art created just for this fundraiser and donated by the artists. Some visitors made a special trip to Ocracoke to attend the reception and silent auction. Some attendees may have come for the free food (chicken salad, deviled eggs, veggies galore, cheese straws, figs and chevre, hummus, focaccia, spinach dip, buffalo chicken cheese dip, pears and apples and stilton, oh my!) and drink (wine and more wine!)
“It was fabulous,” said OPS administrator Amy Howard at the end of the night. She and her assistant Ann Borland had put in quite a day hanging art, setting up the museum, prepping food – and fielding the flurry of emails from last-minute online bids.
“By opening up online bidding before the on-site part of the event, we help Ocracoke fans who can't be here to connect with the island and be a part of a community event,” Amy said. Online bids also help to get good prices for some of the pieces, as the bidder has to give their top amount before the online bidding closes. (OPS isn’t eBay and can’t bid for you!)
By noon on Saturday, when the online bidding ended, OPS already had over $2000 in bids, and they could only go up from there!
OPS president Philip Howard was grinning at all the proceedings.
“I think the artistic talent is just outstanding,” he said. “I’m not surprised, I’m just encouraged to see everyone sharing their talents.”
Philip went home with a canvas – "Howard Street Ghost" by Bob Ray was just too tempting to resist.
Gary Mitchell was at his second OPS Art Show. Last year, Gary said he wanted to contribute a work of art to this year’s show. He had good intentions, but said he just found out about the art opening yesterday. My suggestion? Read the Current, Gary. Be informed.
Anyway, Gary was enjoying his outsider art appreciation.
“Most of my favorites are not getting very high bids,” he said. “I guess I’m just weird.”
Gary’s wife, Kitty Mitchell, is an artist and somehow heard about the OPS show.
“There’s so much talent,” she said. “I see so many great out-of-the-box ideas.”
“It’s even better than last year, if that could be possible,” said contributing artist Denise Deacon. “I could put it on my calendar and count on it to be a blustery night.” We both agreed that, just like last year, it was great to see a full house at the Museum, in spite of the weather.
In the Maritime Room, a bidding war was raging over a painting by Ocracoke homeowner Margaret Trainer. A local resident was making a valiant effort to take the little gull painting home with him, but his adversary, Beth Sloan, was in it to win it. Turns out she’s Margaret’s mother, and her collection of her daughter’s work was not yet complete.
“In my house in little Washington, my sunroom is full of Margaret’s work,” she said. Now she has one more piece to grace her walls.
Although Mrs. Sloan wasn’t bidding on any other art, she was full of praise for the creativity around her.
“I love it all,” she said. “I think [the art show] is a terrific idea and I love the party.”
Margaret attended the show last year and went home with three pieces of artwork. She was keeping an eye on her current bids (“about 6 or 7” of them) while we talked.
“I was an art student in college, and I minored in painting,” she said, when I asked about her bird. “I haven’t painted in a long time and I got really nervous about it. It was more nerve-wracking than starting my taxes – I started on my taxes first before I did the painting!”
Visiting artist Dan Curry contributed a print of a painting he did of Portsmouth Island. (He’s also the grandfather of the two youngest artists with work in the show, Noah and Castor Hardy, ages 4 and 2.)
He thought the OPS Art Show was “wonderful. It’s amazing how many talented artists there are on the island. I love the diversity.”
Dan will be on the island through the end of March and is offering pastel workshops while he’s here. He’ll also be working with Ocracoke School kids in the after-school program, and later will teach Ocracoke kids as part of the Ocracoke Alive program to provide art education.
The highest bid of the night was for Jane Griffin's quilted "Oyster Odyssey: Catch! Clean! Feast!" triptych created in honor of Ocracoke watermen and in memory of her husband, Judge William Griffin. The bidding war over this entry went back and forth so long that it took a second sheet of paper to record all the bids. Leslie Monticone was ultimately triumphant and took home the artwork for her husband, Bill, who was a close friend to Bill Griffin.
At the end of the night, Amy posted the winning bids on the OPS Facebook page so the off-island bidders could see if they won. Volunteers sorted the artwork, cashed out the winners, and cleaned up the museum.
"We had an incredible group of volunteers to help in every aspect of the event to help it flow smoothly," Amy said. She also expressed thanks to all the generous artists and the bidders who appreciate their efforts.
"By having our theme 'Ocracoke: Through Your Eyes,' every artist who contributes to the event puts a piece of themselves and their special idea of Ocracoke into their canvas," she said. "It's really fun to see what everyone comes up with!" Some people are already planning ahead for next winter!After expenses, Amy expects the Art Show to make over $5000 for OPS. And it's not just about the money. Seeing people at the Museum on a chilly winter night is just a nice way to spend an evening.
"We chose January for the event because everyone is always so exhausted from holiday events right after Christmas, but by the time the end of January comes, people are ready to get out and socialize," Amy said. "The art auction has been a really fun way to connect with friends from both on and off the island."
Keep scrolling to see more! (See them all here.) The artworks below made the most money for OPS this year. Will yours be on this list in 2016?