The summer of 2015 went by too quickly, as many summers seem to, but this one was remarkable in the level of excitement and discovery that stayed high all season. The last time I posted, I had yet to open the exhibition of Alice Steer Wilson’s works at the Carroll Gallery. Since then, I have collated and sold a record number of card packs and prints.
Next Friday we will host a closing sale and celebration of the works, and all the stories as well as old and new friends they have brought forth. For tickets, which are limited, click on this link: Alice Art Sale 10/2 at 24 Congress!
For years, there have been certain images I’ve longed to find — images that my mother identified from her hospital bed in July, 2001, as she and I looked through hundreds of slides she’d kept of her artworks dating back to the 1960s. I’ve mailed out letters, posted pictures on Facebook with queries, and asked around Cape May for leads. Sometimes I’ve given up, or found a reference in her account book, such as the one in which she noted that Roman had sold “On Ocean Street” straight from the Washington Street Gallery, before she’d had a chance to exhibit the watercolor. It’s likely he had just received it back from the printer, where it had been published and would soon become one of Alice’s most popular note cards.
“On Ocean Street” is also among the twelve cards Alice stuffed into an envelope that she marked “OK FOREVER.” For her, that was a big release. I consider the owners of those twelve originals the lucky “OK FOREVER” club. Some of them have not responded to any outreach, and some images had no owner’s name printed on the back. “On Ocean Street” was in the second category, so I had little hope of reprinting the note card when the stock ran out on August 31, 2015. I placed the last ten cards in an acetate sleeve and marked it “Final 10 Ocean Street.”
Yesterday, a woman called the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts to say she couldn’t make the art sale next Friday, but she would like to be able to participate from afar. They conveyed her message to me, I called her, and in the course of our conversation I learned that she owns, and cherishes, “On Ocean Street.” I welcomed her into the OK FOREVER CLUB, and we made tentative plans for me to borrow the watercolor this winter for a scan.
In five weeks, Paul and I will remove the paintings from the Carroll Gallery and return them to their owners. The exhibition has done more than I ever dreamed it could to bring together those who know and love Alice’s work, and those who love Cape May and find in her work a unique and special connection to their own experience of the place and its magic.
If you have longed to visit the exhibition (MAC’s web description below), make your date for the last walking tour or an anytime gallery stop; it will be up until November 1st.
Happy Autumn — blessings, discovery, release!
PS: First day of autumn and a quiet walk through the gallery with my father, surrounded by my mother’s light-filled works. Grateful.