Tomorrow night, the Center for the Creative Arts will host its Artists Showcase. "Annual" doesn't mean "usual," though.
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The Center for the Creative Arts Executive Director Carla Pastore could not contain her excitement this week about the debut of tomorrow night's new showcase.
“We wanted to do something new, something fun that people could be excited about,” Creative Center for the Arts Executive Director Carla Pastore said. “This new show really shows the breadth of our offerings and is going to be such a fun night.”
The showcase features more than 100 works of art submitted by members, including faculty, professional artists, non-professionals and kids and adolescents.
“We’ve never had so much work in one show,” Pastore said. “We’re particularly excited about the amount of work in the youth category and how good it all is. People are going to be impressed.”
Most shows, she pointed out, can be a bit one dimensional. It’s just artwork. There’s no focus on the people behind the work. There also never seems to be enough room beneath the spotlight for elements that might enhance the exhibition experience.
How do shows overcome that? Simply add new elements that will include people who wouldn’t normally find themselves at an art show, she says.
“Tonight won’t just be about visual art. We’re also debuting this idea we have for "Yorklyn Live," a concept we have for highlighting music in a more intimate but relaxed way”she said. “We’re going to transform our auditiorium with bistro tables, a cash bar and good music. As the weather warms up, though, we also see opportunities to move the music to the lawn.”
Pastore didn’t have to go far to find Yorklyn Live's first band band. Paul Boris, a CC Arts piano teacher immediately offered up his band Fuzzy Snakefoot to kick things off.
“We play original music that’s a real blend of genres,” Boris said. “You’ll hear funk and R&B but there’s also a Phish influence. It’s percussive but you might say there’s a bit of a southern influence, too.”
THE SHOW BEFORE THE SHOW
To get to the artist showcase, which has been hung in the auditorium, visitors will first walk down a long hallway known as Corridor 410, a popular spot used by the center for featuring artists.
Tonight’s featured artist has been taking photographs since he was a high school student in the late 1970’s.
“I took a class in high school and found that I loved the fact that I could create or capture a story,” Wayne Howard said.
Howard, a gym teacher and track coach in Avon Grove, Penn., routinely combines his gift for teaching with his love for photography by taking pictures of the athletes he coaches. And, while all of his current and former students are special to him, none inspire him quite like the returning soldiers he works with for the Marine Corp Wounded Warrior Trials, an eight-sport Paralympic-style invitational made up of wounded, ill and injured Marines as well as wounded soldiers from international regiments. So far, Howard has coached soldiers in two trial events in California as well as three camps at the University of Oregon and two camps at Nike headquarters.
The trials last for 11 days but Howard says the experience stays with him always.
“Every time I go, I call it life-changing,” he said. “It’s very humbling.”
He treats the soldiers at the trials just like he does his students, which means that while they’re working and training, he’s photographing as many of the moments as he can, trying to illustrate the energy and heart that the men display.
“I’m trying to capture their strength, focus and determination,” Howard explained of his photos. I’m also trying to show the fight that they still have, the fight that’s never left them.”
Showing his work is a new experience for Howard, who still has a hard time referring to himself as photographer.
“I never call myself that,” he said. “I always just say that I take pictures. But, when I was putting the photographs together for this show and I saw how much I had, I don’t know. This is new for me. This changes things.”
Pastore, who met Howard when her daughter called him “coach,” said that she’s been desperate to show his work to the public since she first saw the photos took of his student athletes. Then, she saw his photos taken off the track.
“It was a no-brainer,” she said. “His work needs to be seen.”
Howard had to work through the intimidating idea of people judging his work but quickly embraced the notion.
“People are going to be inspired by the ‘Wounded Warrior’ photos but I think they’ll be impressed by the other side of the corridor as well. All of his photos are extraordinary. He has a real eye and real talent.”
Pastore also hopes that visitors will be inspired to go out on a limb like Howard and bring their talents to the center.
“I always tell people if you’ve ever wanted to try out the arts, you should come here,” she said. “We’re all about being inclusive and we have a lot of people who join us with no real arts experience only to find out they’ve had all these talents all along.”