This year the weather was perfect. People came on foot or by bicycle and car from miles around to visit, art was appreciated and sold, friends made. Above is my tent, with invitations for my upcoming October, 2008 show, The Spirit of Place at Marblehead Arts.
Jesa Damora with her magnificent large paintings - "Ostensibly about flowers but actually about sex."
The event, which is in its sixth year, is organized by Dick "Buck" Buckley, who has a studio in a converted garage behind the Ocean Avenue house where Evolutions '08 will take place.
The weekend will feature the work of 12 visual artists, including that of Buckley, displayed over 12 hours on the home's expansive, manicured lawn. The two-day event will include music by several singer-songwriters, and two short films.
The art, which will be shown and sold from tents surrounding the yard, will consist of traditional and contemporary, in many mediums and styles — such as photography, painting, ceramics, sculpture, drawings, mixed media, even stencil on mylar, according to Buckley.
"We offer a variety for people who come in. I don't want all seascapes; I don't want all abstract expressionist," said Buckley, who added that selecting art is as much of a challenge as recruiting artists who work well together.
"The chemistry between the artists is vital to run one of these things, and they really get to test each others' character, especially during downpours," he said.
Buckley's rain date for the event is Monday, but at press time, there was no precipitation in this weekend's forecast.
Buckley is a painter, photographer and sculptor who also works as a corporate marketing consultant and was the creative director at a large ad agency. He said he started Evolutions soon after he began renting from the late Clint Wells, founder of Wells Yachts, and his wife, Georgia, who lived in the main house.
The Wellses loved the idea, Buckley said, as do his current neighbors, who, he said, plan their vacations around the annual Labor Day weekend event, which brought in 1,200 people last year.
"It's fun for the attendees and it's fun for the artists," said Buckley, adding that many will sell their work without commissions, fees or gallery mark-ups.
"So people should expect to pay approximately 50 percent less than they would at a gallery," he said.
Sales aside, Evolutions is an opportunity for artists to network and have a good time, too.
"Its a great combination of having an art opening and having a party in the garden at the same time," said Kasia Mirowska, who runs Miro Art and Design in Marblehead. Mirowska, a native of Poland who currently specializes in decorative art and faux finishes on walls and furniture, is a four-year veteran of the show.
"It's really a nice occasion for everyone," echoed Carol Dearborn of Salem, another Evolutions veteran. "It's a wonderful gift to the community."
Dearborn paints in mixed media and donates 10 percent of proceeds to causes that promote global sustainability. She said she uses only recycled or non-destructive materials, and "works with spirit of reciprocity."
"It's one of the functions of art to be a voice of social conscience," said Dearborn, who added she's a third-generation artist to promote social change.
Buckley shares that altruistic attitude with Evolutions, for which he accepts suggested donations from participating artists and said he never makes money off the event.
"It feels like the right thing to do, especially to help these people out and get them exposure, Buckley said, explaining why he puts on Evolutions each year. "I truly care about this."