This guest post is written by Sara Hamilton, a local artist living in Hampton Heights with her husband Brad and their two pets. She is currently the Community Impact Associate at the United Way of the Piedmont, and is a regular HUB-BUB volunteer.
I really can’t tell you just how much I enjoyed the AiR Anniversary Show and associated events this past weekend. But this is a blog after all, so I’m still going to try.
It has been my great pleasure to know each of the twenty artists who have come through the Artists-in-Residence program. The yearly cycle of arrivals and departures can be emotional, especially when you have had the chance to forge a lot of friendships with such great people. Admittedly, that is the main reason I was so excited for the Anniversary Show on Saturday night. While I was absolutely interested in seeing how each artist’s work had progressed since their tenure as an AiR, I was even happier about the fact that I would get to see the artists themselves. I knew seeing these guys again was going to be awesome, and I was not let down.
With each class there are different types of connections formed, and the relationships are as variable as the personalities. It’s a unique energy every year. But on Saturday night all that energy was in the same place, filling the Showroom with an amazing combination of personality, talent, and friendship.
And let me tell you, the reading was something else. Compiling the talent and voices of four AiR program alums, it was truly inspiring. You could see the influence of HUB-BUB on the lives of the writers in both the content and presentation of their writings, which were powerful and emotional. And you can’t forget the funny, either. I think one characteristic every single HUB-BUB AiR has had is a good sense of humor. It was a great feeling to be injected with all those quirky little doses of comedy from so many former (and current) residents.
Personally, these guys have played a large role in my relation to and understanding of art. I have witnessed so many different approaches to art, different media, ways of relating to art, and even definitions of it because of this program. My appreciation of art has been taken to a much higher level through my exposure to the rotation of artists. The variety has been fantastic, and Saturday night was a big healthy dose of appreciation for what the AiR program has meant to me and my life. Combining all of these personalities in one room generated a vibrant energy that was inspiring, nostalgic, and energetic.
While I wish I could say that all the alums made it back, unfortunately there were some who had other obligations. Their legacy was still felt though, in the impressions they have left on me and this community. I can only hope they will all make it to other anniversary shows, which I’m sure will become even more amazing as more artists pass through the program.
It’s always a sad time at the end of the residencies, when people I have grown to like and respect move on to the next phases of their lives. Getting to see where their talent has taken them and knowing HUB-BUB has been a part of that gave me such a sense of pride in their accomplishments. Having them all together in the same room was a gift, a counterbalance to the sadness that comes with the departure of each class. It was a reminder that their lives go on after they leave this place, just as ours do, while each of us are changed in some way because of this relationship. By the end of the night I was brimming with appreciation for both the artists and for what the program has done for me. But of course, after all the sentimentality and nostalgia and when everything was said and done, we drove the occasion into the wee morning hours with an all out dance party. It was a reunion in true HUB-BUB fashion.