It was a long time coming and quite gratifying to see it all come together on many levels. It was two years ago that I wanted to gather my Mom’s art work, open up the boxes in the basement and see what I had. I remember being amazed at the breadth of styles she excelled at and the quality of the work. I set out to try to make it into a ‘collection’ so that it could be shown, catalogued and, eventually, given to a proper historic venue for archiving.
Last year’s initial show in Oley was the first step, and they did a great job in framing, writing descriptions and biography, etc. It was a great first step along the road.
This exhibit at the George Taylor House in Catasauqua was a major step towards an eventual gift to proper archiving of my Mom’s collection. Moravian College’s Archives Department’s Emily Strong and the director David Leidich gathered the materials, photographed and categorized everything, designed and curated the exhibit space. It is only one small room in the building but it really holds together. It’s the real deal. And to see “Doris Hendricks Fry – American Traditional Folk Artist” displayed prominently really hit home.
It was also a growth experience for the folks running the organization. This was their first exhibit in this new one-room gallery so they had to re-imagine the space themselves and deal with the tricky historic rules (no new holes in the walls, etc.). Emily Zacharda and Chris Clugston, among others, put on a great show with the exhibit and the opening festivities as well. I had talked with Emily last year at a gig there and mentioned my Mom’s material and together we decided to mount the exhibit with the help of Moravian College. It came to pass to the delight of everyone.
I set up my sound equipment outside under a small pop-up tent with the threat of strong thunderstorms later that afternoon. I set into playing around 1 pm and gradually folks started showing up, including many good friends and artists. I took some breaks in order to show off the display to them, talk about Mom’s attention to detail, her work in curating similar work in Albany, and her diversity in styles dictated by the guild she was in. And, in several conversations, I could reflect on our common respect for all things folk.
I played several short sets and mixed it up with folks, a few kids and friends with my music. It never did rain – in fact, the sun came out briefly several times. The GTH folks were tickled with the turnout, and they did a great job with the wine, fruit and cheese, the hospitality and publicity. It was a pleasure to work together to make this day happen and to make it enjoyable. I also was quite grateful for my friends who came out to see my Mom’s artistic works.
I drove home exhausted but happy. Yes, it was a two-year (and more) old dream come true and she would be very proud of the whole thing, indeed.