New Blogger In The House!

Time out to welcome Melissa Hamilton, newest member of MAAG, cartoonist extraordinaire! She wanted to share some of her thoughts on this past “Art Under the Stars.” Check her out, she’s good. I think we’ll be seeing alot more of her on this blog and our marketing pieces.

So just go ahead and enjoy…

As my first “official” Mt. Airy Art Garage (MAAG) event, “Art Under the Stars” reached beyond my wildest expectations. Having attended other art-oriented events in the past, the cynic in me had envisioned snobbish chit-chat over bourgeois cheeses and sour grapes.

This was not the case, though, on Saturday night. Instead, I found myself instantaneously enveloped by the warmth of the crowd, enamored not only by the breathtaking venue, but by the congeniality of its attendees. As I stood, with my partner, on the front porch, we exchanged a glance – one that seemed to say, “Finally, this is home.”

Once inside, the art captured both my eye and mind. Whether I was gazing into the soulful face of an acrylic owl or doting over eclectic jewelry, I proved captivated. Several times, throughout the evening, I even wondered, “How can trash become such beautiful treasure?” Undoubtedly, each piece on display provoked similar philosophical questions and did what all good art does: Speaks.

Again, the art solidified that feeling of familiarity that my partner and I had experienced earlier on the porch. Of course, every piece, unique and fabulous in its own right, stood strong and independent. Yet, together, each individual creation combined to fabricate a patchwork of diversity – one that spoke volumes about the communal creativity of the Northwest.

As the night progressed, I found myself bidding several times on more than just a few pieces of art. Not only did I satiate my wallet, but also my appetite as I indulged in the sumptuous spread provided (If you haven’t tried Groben’s catfish nuggets, your taste buds just haven’t lived yet!).

Outdoors, the charming backyard created a wonderfully casual atmosphere, where local musicians and magicians both entertained and inspired. Here, conversation with surrounding attendees came effortlessly. Nothing was forced or faked – only the genuine existed. No one glared at me with ageist contempt or belittled my inexperience. If anything, the crowd served as yet another reminder as to why I call Mt. Airy “home.”

Undeniably, the main focus of the event was, indeed, its art. However, it’s nearly impossible to ignore what I believe was the additional goal of the evening. Beneath the hand-painted chairs, sought-after monotypes, and explosive yarn bombs, a sense of community was evident. Here, in the acceptance and collaboration of others, was the heart of the Northwest. Here was community, proud and unabridged, one that both surrounded and extended beyond the art world. This is what I had been searching for: A sustainable place where both art and interpersonal relationships were highly valued.

To a young, emerging artist, such as myself, “Art Under the Stars” meant opportunity. The opportunity to learn, to grow, and, most importantly, to connect. Needless to say, Mt. Airy Art Garage is a much needed and welcome addition to the Northwest, one that I will happily support.