Last year I started a volunteer project with a non-profit arts center in Peninsula, Ohio, The Peninsula Art Academy. PAA offers art classes taught by local artists and it provides exhibit space for those artists and other local artists. Through my work there I met many passionate people dedicated to advancing art education for non-professionals who pursue art for their pleasure and to perhaps develop a latent talent that otherwise might go unnoticed. You can learn more about PAA at http://peninsulaartacademy.publishpath.com/.
Among those I met through PAA was Susan Covey, a local artist, musician, and razor sharp commentator on a diverse array of issues. I had the pleasure of helping Susan arrange a class at PAA and through that I got to know her. She was kind enough to introduce me her friend Kathy Cameron, and active local photographer. Susan and Kathy suggested to me I ought to try to find an outlet for my portfolio in the form of a public exhibit. Kathy introduced me to an Akron based artist who also curates art exhibits for local venues, Jessica Lofthus (see more about Jessica at: http://jessicalofthus.com) who agreed to look at some of my stuff. As it happened, Jess was looking for some art for an exhibit at a local hospital, Western Reserve Hospital. She liked what I showed her and ultimately selected six images to show at the Oncology Infusion Center of the hospital. You can see more about this exhibit and the other artists involved at http://www.westernreservehospital.org/about-us/community-programs/local-artist-gallery.aspx.
The opportunity to work with a real professional like Jess and go through the process of organizing this exhibit was a wonderful experience for me. She was exacting in her expectations and her critical observations about my work were enormously helpful to me in my ongoing pursuit of my passion for photography. And, remarkably, she showed remarkable patience as I bombarded her with incessant questions about how the process would work. I owe her my eternal gratitude for this and I look forward to working with her again.
One final note on this. To those who have consciously or unconsciously developed a portfolio I encourage you to reach out to Jess or folks like her to see if lightening might strike for you like it did for me. Jess's profile in the area art community allows her to see opportunities for exhibits and the more good work she can see on the artists' side will help everyone achieve their goals. This network enriches our community.