Mixed Media: Connective Art and Music Festival excites the senses

By Caroline Roosevelt, Columnist, The Times

Did you make it out to the Connective Art and Music Festival last weekend in Oxford? I stopped in with a few friends for an afternoon filled with art, live music, and overall fun community engagement.

As someone who hasn’t spent much time in Oxford, I was pleasantly surprised the lively and enticing energy of the town. First of all, I’d like to give a shout out to the Puerto Rican restaurant, Antojitos Criollos Puertoriqueño for some excellent empanadillas. I’m not familiar with Puerto Rican food specifically, so, as the server listed the menu by memory to us (you know it’s good when the menu is small, and read off to you), I picked something I’d never tried, a pulled pork sandwich but instead of bread, fried plantains were used. It’s called a Jibarito, and I’m now a fan. Onto the galleries…

Works by Temre Stanchfield

Connective included a literal gallery row which shot off of the main 3rd St. drag and included several local artists and artisans like ceramicist Sam Mae Diamond, to Lancaster based gallery, Red Raven Gallery.

I stopped by local Oxford artist Temre Stanchfield. You may recognize her work from a solo show at Mala Galleria (now Square Pear) in 2017 entitled, “All We Need Is Love”. Although her work previously orbited around more figurative genres (floral, nature etc.) she has moved into more abstract territory with her landscapes. Her new work still retains a similar style, with a verdant palette and whimsical brush strokes, however, she leaves more to the imagination as she moves into more dreamy fieldscapes. Selling her work in small, medium, large and x-large, she offered something for everyone.

A work by Mailya Gandy

Oxford Arts Alliance hosted a student art exhibition curated by OXAA staff and sponsored by Jill Beech and  La Comunidad Hispana. The exhibition, entitled, “I Will Become….” created an atmosphere of youthful spirit so unique to aspiring student artists. The exhibition featured a spotlight on young artist Mailya Gandy. Several of her pieces from paintings, to sculpture to a particularly impressive print of a cardinal were prominently displayed in the gallery. The show was inspiring in that its main focus was to create a space for aspiring student artists and promoting the future of art.

Although I didn’t stick around for the main act (Eve 6), Connective Festival was bustling and filled with a diverse smattering of people young and old, locals and tourists. From the sounds of the Opa Band setting the stage as we entered the event, to our Puerto Rican lunch to subsequent beers at local brewery Bog Turtle, the event provided international and local flavor. I look forward to this festival becoming a part of my summer schedule in the coming years.

A work by Oba Jackson

Last week, I also attended the opening for the exhibition, “Local and Famous.” which featured work from over 50 artists and encouraged work by emerging local and street artists. Curated by Terrance Vann and Alim Smith of “The Color Brothers,” this show was packed! As I weaseled my way through the crowd which included Vann, clad in just pants and an artist apron, and Smith as they chatted with guests, I couldn’t help but feel a heartswell at the diverse and unique work up on the walls and everyone who came out to support. The exhibition featured myriad beautiful figurative paintings such as three paneled piece addressing slavery and race themes in America by Wilmington tattoo artist Oba Jackson.

James Wyatt

Another piece that grabbed my attention was an angelic mixed media painting by James Wyatt. This exhibition was full of energy, and it poured out onto the Wilmington sidewalks, (which not to rag on Wilmington too hard, is a feat in and of itself).

Guest artist Randall Graham curated Gallery 222’s new exhibition, “Trust the Process” which debuts today, with the reception tomorrow night from 5:30 – 8:30pm. I mentioned this show in last weeks’ article, but since have had to chance to learn more about what inspired Graham to create this exhibition.

Graham’s curation, which features primarily figurative work by local popular artists such as Nielson Carlin and Bo Bartlett, sought to expose the artistic process from start to finish by including unfinished sketches and drawings amidst final pieces. Says Graham, I just wanted to mix some traditional realism with some artists that take realism in new directions.  I find that there is great beauty in finely rendered subjects and subjects that spark a memory or a certain feeling that are not quite as obvious.  So I asked artists that I respect and fit that criteria in some way.”  Another focus of the exhibition was to create an accessible show that promoted sales for the artists. Graham included pieces of all different price points to entice viewers to take their favorite pieces home. Enjoy this exhibition through August 25.

Next week, tune into Art Watch WCHE 1520AM and  join me as I host the new Executive Director of Mainline Art Center, Thomas Scurto-Davis from 1-1:30pm. Until next time!

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