I was in graduate school for Art Education at S.U. from January 1992 until December 1993. That’s when I decided I would be a professional artist. Up until that time, I was either a student or…well, I don’t know what, a dabbler? I was always an artist, but never really believed I was truly one until then, I guess.
I taught myself how to use oil paint and began peddling my paintings around town, getting restaurants and coffee shops to offer me one-month exhibits. That led to a few articles about my work in the Syracuse New Times and The Post Standard newspapers, which gave me the confidence to continue to seek more ways to become a part of the local scene.
Around this time, I joined the Cultural Resources Council’s Visual Arts Committee. I don’t remember how I found out about it – the paper? Very likely. There was no Facebook or cell phones back then.
I worked with Bill Delavan, Arlene Abend, Linda Bigness, Steve Joslyn, Bob Shenfeld, Joan Applebaum, Yolanda Tooley and Michael Moody. I became the Chair of the committee at one point. We were responsible for the juried exhibitions at the John Mulroy Civic Center in Syracuse, NY. We would have monthly meetings to plan the shows, set up installation dates and art receptions.
I ended up dropping out of the committee for the typical reason – volunteering ends up taking its toll and you find yourself not having any time to pursue your own art while helping other artists achieve their dreams. I remember introducing someone to the local art critic who then wrote a wonderful article about the kid in the following Sunday’s paper (lol, she’d never even mentioned me in an article – I was lumped in like the Professor and Maryanne in the original Gilligan’s Island sitcom song.)
The benefit, of course, was that my colleagues became life-long friends. Yolanda passed away a couple years ago. Today I found out that Michael Moody has died.
I just saw him last month at the Edgewood Art Gallery art opening and before that at his booth at Plowshares at Nottingham High School and before that it was the Westcott Street Fair. His set-up at Westcott was right in front of the mural he created by the fork in the road with Beech Street.
Michael displayed his artwork at the Chittenango Middle School library not too long ago, which included giving a talk to my students, discussing his favorite pieces, his joy in creating art and living life as an artist.
Our last conversations were full of mutual admiration society stuff, a lot of love yous, laughter and hugs. I thanked him again for the information about that art contest my student ended up winning and he thanked me back and said he was really glad that I pursued the contest and that we won it to boot. He is/was an amazing person and artist. I will miss his presence in our art community very, very muchy-much. <3