This has been a year of firsts for MAPS. It started back in August 2011 with the Society being formed and a board selected. We had our first monthly meeting and field outing in September, with some questions of whether this was all going to work. We had our first holiday party and what a night it was, with the Reindeer Games being a really big hit. Our membership climbed to over 100 members quickly, followed up by our first exhibit at the Arboretum.
It took a lot of planning and encouragement to make sure our members were all set to display the best of their work. In the end, forty-two members submitted one hundred sixteen pieces of art, which represents 40% of our membership. As the weekend got closer the excitement (as well as apprehension) level rose. It all culminated this past Friday evening at the reception for the artists, their families, MAPS and Arboretum members. We can honestly say it was a hit! Over one hundred people came out to get the first glimpse of all of the amazing photographs. The artists wanted to know where their pieces were hung. The family members wanted to bask in the excitement everyone was feeling. For many of the exhibitors this was their first time in an actual exhibit for all to see. The only hiccup that evening was the loss of three platters of food that suddenly crashed to the ground to the dismay of the chef. All was not lost as he quickly got three more going and delivered them just in the nick of time. Cora Jacobs and Diana Chrisman did a great job setting up all the goodies for the night.
It was definitely a night to remember. Photos plus food = fun! Throw in a weekend long raffle and donated art sale and you’ve got the makings of a good first step.
Saturday, the first day the exhibit was open to the public, started off with the volunteers arriving a 1/2 hour before the opening to make sure everyone and everything was in place. At 10:00 AM a trickle of Arboretum guests wandered into the Sycamore Room to see what it was all about. As the day went along the ebb and flow of guests made sure that the artists’ efforts did not go for naught. The weather did not affect the excitement as 230 visitors enjoyed that first day.
Sunday brought great weather and a great turnout. Nearly 600 visitors came to see the beautiful photographs in the Sycamore Room, making it a total 3-day attendance of nearly 900! We received many compliments on the exhibit in general. Some of the exhibited pieces were purchased through the photographer after the exhibit, and other deals will hopefully take place in the near future.
Now that all of the firsts are over there is a group of people that must be recognized for their extraordinary efforts in making the exhibit a success. The exhibition committee was made up of Suzanne Wegener (our Arboretum Liaison), Mary Mehl, Greg Blue, Cora Jacobs, Tina Tyson-Dunne, Kathleen Leisten, Kathy D’Amico, and Steven Mayer. Each person in the group brought their strengths to make this exhibit the best it could be. Mary Mehl and Greg Blue oversaw the operation, but they certainly wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this without all the input and help from the Exhibit committee members, as well as all the MAPS members who volunteered during the 3-day event. Karen Johnson and Tina Tyson-Dunne used their artistic skills placing all of the artwork on the panels. Tina also ran the cash station for 3 days straight, and kept a close eye on all the proceeds. Make sure the next time you see Cora to let her know what a great job she did organizing the social and hospitality features of Friday’s reception. She also created a great party basket that was popular on the raffle table. Steven Mayer’s projection of images accompanied by great music was a nice feature that the visitors all enjoyed. And we also must thank all the generous donors of our raffle gifts; they were a big hit. None of this would have even gotten off the ground without the help and guidance of Suzanne Wegener, our Arboretum Liaison.
It was our first exposure to the world as a Society of Photographers. Based on the success of this weekend it will definitely not be our last. There are only 362 days until next year!
Take a look at all of the festivities from the weekend in the photo gallery below.