Beautiful. That’s the only word I can use to describe the past weekend at Gateway to the Arts. Beautiful artwork, beautiful connections, beautiful people of all walks of life. I was left speechless on Saturday as I said goodbye to the first guest artist, Nicoleh Radenahmad, and his daughter Anusana. As I closed up shop, I felt like sitting in the middle of the space and crying. I was overwhelmed with emotion. It had been amazingly beautiful to have Nick share his work with the community and to personally spend time with him! Though quiet at first, he opened up mid afternoon and we shared stories and joked around. I have made some life-long friends!
Watching the community respond to Nick’s work was fascinating. Because Nick is a visitor to the U.S. he brings a different way of portraying the city, both public and residential areas. People excitedly pointed out paintings of places they knew, like a bridge in Taylor Park, or a residential street they lived on. As a young artist friend said, “He views our city objectively.” And I would add beautifully.
The space saw visitors all day Friday and at the First Friday. I’m so thankful for the support of the Lincoln Arts Council by showing up at the reception and meeting Nick and his daughter. Nick had visitors and even sold a painting! I was so happy for him. Friday, I finished up the rose vine I had set aside a couple weeks ago and then moved on to trying to make a water lily for the two gals that periodically show up to make flowers. By the end of the day Saturday I had it down! Or at least am on my way there.
Saturday brought beautiful relationship building opportunities and conversations with Nick’s family including his son-in-law. I am honored when I have the opportunity to hear about someone’s story and circumstances. Sometimes, that leads to art making, sharing, or giving. I am reminded, as I look back on last weekend, that every person carries stuff with them – deep stuff-- when they walk into the space and I just hope that when they leave they sense peace and possibility. Maybe they can’t explain what they encounter, maybe they can, but I hope people do not leave this space the same as when they came in!
So another weekend in the history books and more ahead of me – onward and forward in this journey.
Ann has worked as a professional artist since 2006. She currently works on her own studio artwork as well as large, commercial works and with other artists in any way she can.