East Bay Pro Arts Open Studios 2009

originally uploaded by Leah Virsik

Pro Arts: East Bay Open Studios was an incredible experience for me. The biggest lesson for me was the importance of continuing to get my work out there. I’m very grateful for the support I received from friends, family and people I met for the first time. Lately, I’ve been inspired by the need to build community and by having my studio open, it was an act of building community and bringing people together. Neighbors introduced themselves and shared their own creative endeavors. Here I was, a leader in my neighborhood showing that yes, art does exist here. A woman commented that Open Studios is not usually in her neighborhood so she was appreciative of the fact that I was participating near her.

originally uploaded by Leah Virsik

Many people that came told me they were interested in taking classes so I’m putting some fairly simple bookbinding and collage classes together. I’m excited to share my supplies and ideas with others. I just bought some happy tape and I can’t wait for it’s arrival. (It actually has come since I first wrote this and it was way smaller than I expected!)

Currently, I’m facilitating Alyson B. Stanfield’s Art Marketing Salon which is going really well. Three of us participated in Open Studios, including Deborah Griffin, Bobbie Altman and I and three others in the salon Ginny Mangrum, Egmont van Dyck and Joanne Clapp Fullagar each came to visit one of us. I thought it was really great.

I believe one can make a living through art and it requires work…making the work, exhibiting and repeating. It’s a process and I’m learning the importance of appreciating this process.

It’s been really satisfying opening up my space and getting feedback from neighbors and friends and people who are specifically coming to see my art and books. Many times I come from a place of “not enough” and “not ready yet”. It’s a place of lack, of scarcity and only in my mind because it’s not how others view me. What was incredible to experience from people looking at my work was the repetitive feedback from people appreciating my use of color… color was something I was afraid of for quite a long time.

originally uploaded by Leah Virsik

I believe I need to create and share and release it out into the world. Once, I’ve created it, it’s no longer mine. The sharing and releasing are just as important, if not more than the act of creation.

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