pushpin-exhibit

If you’ve always wanted to create a piece of art and see it hanging on a gallery wall, now is the time.

The annual Pushpin and Clothesline Show arrives Jan. 8 and runs through Jan. 29 at the Newport Visual Arts Center, with Lincoln County residents encouraged to submit their artwork Jan. 6-8.

Presented by Oregon Coast Council for the Arts (OCCA), the show has been expanded this year to include work hung not only on gallery walls but on clotheslines as well. A soft opening reception is set for noon to 4 p.m. Jan. 8, and some of the submitted work will be featured online following the opening date.

Visual Arts Center (VAC) director Tom Webb said the show recognizes creative talent throughout Lincoln County, and artists of all ages and all levels of experience are encouraged to participate. Artwork must be original — no prints or facsimiles.

“All Lincoln County residents, including beginners, emerging visual artists, established professionals, craftsperson’s, poets and literary artists, hobbyists, youngsters, oldsters, college students, retirees and families are invited to submit artwork,” he said.

The work must be able to hang from four or fewer pushpins or three or fewer clothespins, and most artists will hang their own work. As the show is family-oriented, OCCA asks that the work be appropriate for all audiences. Artwork may be offered for sale, and OCCA encourages the artists to put a price on their work.

The late artist Jimmy Frankfort, who signed his work ”jaf” and created many of the posters announcing the show through the years, is credited with conceiving of the Pushpin event. Frankfort’s daughter, Michelle Frankfort, said, “Dad was part of a group of artists who were attempting to shake things up a bit and get more people involved and interested in what was going on at the VAC, especially more experimental artists, or artists who didn’t fit the mold or who didn’t have the money for framing or photos to be accepted into a ‘normal’ show.”

But Michelle said her father would not want to take credit for the idea of Pushpin. “It was a group effort,” she said of the concept. “He always stressed community.”

And that was the basis for the Pushpin show idea, which materialized in the early ’90s. Frankfort thought that if the art submitted didn’t have to be finished or framed but rather was something that could be pinned to the wall, more people would be included and would have their work shown in the VAC. And that was the goal.

A former VAC director, the late Nancy Jane Reid, said in a 1998 press release that the show was a way to open the VAC to more people in the community, to give “hidden talents” a chance to display their work.

“Maybe it doesn’t matter who started it or when exactly,” Michelle added. “The cool thing is that it carries on and the community continues to be inspired to create and express. I’ve only participated a few times. I’m probably one of those people who really benefit from putting my stuff out there. But I’m a lazy artist. My father was the trained and diligent one.

“For seasoned artists, it could be an opportunity to try something different and be more experimental because the work didn’t have to be polished or finished because it wasn’t going to be judged,” Michelle said. “There was no goal except to express. Pushpin was a way around the normal path a person might (follow to) get into a show. No professional slides or photos. No framing or finishing. No judgment. Open to all.”

This year, OCCA has changed the installation, process for the show,” Webb said, noting the walls of the Runyan Gallery were redone in the past year. “Artists will attach their work to a strip of pine running around the gallery. Plus we’ve added the option to hang work from a clothesline. Limited pedestals for three-dimensional work will be available on a first-come basis,”

Participating artists should deliver their work directly to the Runyan Gallery at the VAC, 777 NW Beach Drive at the Nye Beach turnaround on Thursday and Friday, Jan. 6 and 7, from noon to 4 p.m., or Saturday, Jan. 8, from 10 a.m. to noon. A mobile drop-off option will also be available, with registration forms and gallery tags online.

“The Pushpin & Clothesline Show brings together the resources of OCCA and the VAC, the diverse talents of Lincoln County visual and literary artists, and the public to celebrate and support local art,” Webb said in a press release. “(It’s) an annual opportunity to showcase one’s artwork or writing in a gallery or to purchase a piece of art.

Exhibit attendees will be invited to vote for a ‘People’s Choice Award.” And Webb said that continuing a tradition started in 2016, artists in the show will be considered for inclusion in the Mayors’ Show, set for March 2022. He said he and local painter Sandy Roumagoux, who was then mayor of Newport, came up with the idea for the Mayors’ Show. Seven or eight artists from Pushpin will be selected by the local mayors in collaboration with Webb, and they will get expanded wall space for their work.

“It’s a way to highlight some of the people in the Pushpin show and give them more exposure,” Webb said.

The VAC adheres to all health and safety protocols provided by the governor’s office as well as the city of Newport. All visitors to the VAC are required to wear proper masks and maintain social distancing.

During the run of the exhibit, the Runyan Gallery will be open Wednesdays through Saturdays, from noon to 4 p.m.

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