Centered on the Center 2021
Run in the Rain
I remember the first Centered on the Center I participated in. It might have been the first one held by the Huntington Beach Art Center. I submitted a collage made from old scrapbook materials and paint, loosely resembling an anguished face, with a scrap of lace trim that looped a foot below the plexiglass frame. I especially liked the piece, because the dangling piece somehow represented the idea of breaking out of the norm, maybe just feeling free.
I had a lot going on in my personal life at the time and putting my art out there felt a little like a naked run through the park in the rain. Vulnerable and a little ridiculous, yet at the same time daring and exciting. Despite having made art my whole life, I saw myself as just a cog working in corporate America and a mother raising two girls, but not an “artist”. Would my work be judged as ridiculous? Would the experience be embarrassing?
To be honest, I don’t remember the exact feedback – I’m sure it was all kind and included, “I love how you broke out of the frame.” But the act of showing my art to strangers and surviving to tell about it, was the act of courage which has propelled more and more of my art-making and willingness to share my art. I have submitted art to Centered on the Center ever since. This experience has given me the courage to submit to other juried shows – where sometimes I am successful and sometimes, I am not, but the best news is - I survive.
Centered on the Center Newbies
For those who have never participated, the act of displaying work in a show like Centered on the Center, is really an act of self-love, of declaring oneself an artist and of revealing one’s authentic self. It’s a chance to feel the rain against your skin and realize that you won’t melt.
Today I usually submit pieces to Centered on the Center that are different from what I have been doing – just to test the feedback. I have even been known (don’t tell anyone) to lurk several feet away from someone looking at my painting to hear what they are saying. I’m still a cog in the working world but today I am also very comfortable declaring myself an artist. I have sold pieces which is validating, but I have also come to realize that it doesn’t really matter if my work brings in thousands of dollars, or even whether my eavesdropping tells me it is good or bad. My work is my magic. It is me, and sharing that, feels like the dangling scrap of lace - freeing.
Thank You HBAC
Centered on the Center is just one of the fabulous ways the HB Art Center is supporting artists in our community – artists who call themselves artists, and those who soon will! I hope everyone supports the upcoming show. If you are an artist, a wanna-be artist, or lover of art – we also have an Artist Council that meets monthly where you will find friendly faces and kinship. Check it out!
Until then, I encourage everyone to take a run in the rain with whatever your form of expression – it’s your magic.
Sonja Krastman serves as Communications Chair on Huntington Beach Art Center's Artist Council. She has exhibited with our organization for many years. You can find more of Sonja's work at www.krasjes.com.
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