“The problem with this installation,” says Jack Stratton, “is that they want us to use Command Strips.”
That’s a rule from the owners at Revolution Mill, where the Hirsch Wellness Network’s annual event, the Art Lives Here silent auction, a fundraiser to support its “healing community network” of cancer patients, survivors and their loved ones.
And that’s not the only challenge with this installation. Stratton is charged with hanging almost 150 pieces from 104 Greensboro-based artists on just four walls in this conjunction of hallways on the first floor.
He’s already got pencil marks on the walls, affixed some Command Strips for smaller pieces, and now he’s assaying all this white space, squaring it with the stacks of canvases on a long table.
“It takes so long to get started,” he says. “But once you’ve got it laid out, it goes faster.”
Stratton has been hanging this show for years, as he did for decades when he was in charge of the Weatherspoon Art Museum on UNCG’s campus. Technically, he says, he’s retired. But he still teaches classes, and he’s got a piece in the show — a small abstract watercolor.
“When it’s hanging on the wall,” he says, “the wall will be pink behind it because I painted with pink day-glo on the back.”
There’s a piece from one of his students, and another from a colleague at UNCG.
“This piece is going to start a bidding war,” he says, gesturing to a small canvas depicting two characters in traditional Japanese garb frozen in an elegant dance. It’s by Yoko Yoshimatsu, painted in the style of the Italian Renaissance.
The small charcoal and paper collage on wood by Jon Rollins should go, too.
“This guy is from High Point,” says Judith Kastner, who helped curate the show. “He’s pretty well known; he’s shown in a lot of major museums.”
Last year was the first time the show sold out, and they’re hoping for a repeat this weekend. But Kastner is seeing most of these pieces for the first time.
“Half the pieces come in without wires; they’re not clean, small things,” she says. “We wound up with 150 pieces and we didn’t know what we had until Monday. We have five days to get it looking good.”