M&T Bank Clothesline Festival at the Memorial Art Gallery

Uploaded by UniversityRochester on 17.09.2012

The Clothesline festival started in 1957 and the name comes from the fact that artists,
who are painting on canvas or paper, literally hung their works on a clothesline.
Been doing the Clothesline Festival for about 50 years and I think I started on about the second one and just love doing it.
Well, I’m originally from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina,
which is the low country where the Gullah sweetgrass baskets originate.
It is an art that is approximately almost 400 years old.
A lot of my art is traditional, however I have put a little bit of modern touch to a lot of my pieces.
It’s nice to be around all of these other artists that are making totally different things,
but we all have something in common and it’s a great way to make connections.
So you can see we’ve morphed from 1957, now it’s 56 years later
and we’ve got artists here working in ceramics, in jewelry, in watercolor, in sculpture, in oil painting, in photography.
So we have over 430 artists from all over NY State.
I’m from Park Slope Brooklyn and it took us about 8 hours by car.

I like Rochester. I like the people here. I think it’s just a really great town. They support the arts.
You get such a cross section of people. Where are you going to go and have your work hanging up and have thousands of people go by in two days?
Hi, I’m the artist if you have any questions.
Oh okay. We like everything that we’re seeing. Good!
And a lot of the same people come back. People that bought my paintings 30 or 40 years ago will come by
and tell me how much they’re enjoying them and that does a lot to keep you going.
The shows in Brooklyn, you do have a community of people, but they are so many people that you kind of get lost
and it’s harder to build those relationships.
It’s really nice to have that one on one conversation with people, explain how I make my things,
what it means to me, where I get my inspiration from.
And it also gives me ideas for new products to make. People always ask for something specific.
Often when I’m just home, just in my studio, you get very reclusive.
It’s very easy to get caught up in just making the pieces and not really understanding what your customer may want.
Getting to meet people face to face and actually having them see my art, touching it, feeling the texture of it, the smell of it.
I think for me, it is definitely where I prefer to be.
Over here Steve Merritt, he’s collected by the MFA Boston, he’s collected by the Smithsonian’s permanent collection.
So there are artists in our show here who go on to become collected by national museums.
So I think also Clothesline provides a launching pad for young artists and new artists.
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