CJSF volunteer Jay Peachy attended the Open heArt exhibit at the Met on December 21st, this is what he had to say about the event...
I attended the open he Art (http://www.openhearted.ca/home.html) event, which was a showcase of local artists from a variety of genres. The show was a collaborative project by Christina Lenic, James Vanderheidt, Meghan Neath, Kelli Stewart and Lotte Barnes, they all exuded that they are passionate individuals who believe in artists and the capacity for art to make a difference.
Their premiere event was held at The Met in Gastown and under the mantra [people] + [art] = change. I expected something different, not better or worse but somehow different. Being an artist myself, I was looking for a social statement; however, there wasn’t one that was evident. Is that a bad thing? I’m not a cultural snob, am I? But part of me feels that because I am an outsider artist, I’m not supposed to think this way. The event was called open heArt, I needed to try my best to live it.
The show was a salon-style event, it appeared youthful, non-pretentious in a club like atmosphere and what I perceived was a positive vibe. The installations were a little unorthodox, but being in a bar how much can you expect? I thought; were the people who attended the event art lovers or newbies to the creative scene? Did they know what they were looking for; were they going to buy any of the art? Does it really matter? There were people enjoying the art, possibly about 100 or more of them willed The Met, wanting to take in all of the installations and works displayed by these local artists.
I spoke with Katrina Harris who showcased her work publicly for the first time. From our interaction, I don’t think she felt she could call herself an artist yet, but her stylized self-image, enveloped with dramatic text was beautiful. A double exposure of sorts as this piece embodied the visual expression on canvas but with a glimpse into the soul. It appeared to be an emotional collage of pain, anger and yearning for self-definition. Go big or go home I suppose. For me, that piece stood out.
When speaking with the five artists about their intention/purpose for the event, they made it clear that it was about removing the encumbrances of their expression. Wanting to break walls of established means and what they feel was red tape holding back their opuses, they pulled their hearts, minds and hands together in this creation. It seems my attitude was exactly what they were trying break free from. Essentially, they believed that there an immense amount creative talent within their circle of friends that didn’t have a place to be showcased. This exhibit was a safe place for these new found artists; they were surrounded by those that supported, loved and adored them. Now who could argue against that? A pretty decent start, lets hope the open heArt keeps beating, we need more of it in this city.