By Reese Ertel
This past weekend, October 3-4, the Armonk Outdoor Art Show held their annual event… online! Due to the pandemic, the art show could not be in-person this year, so the committee of volunteers did everything possible to make an online art show a success. Not only did they succeed, but it also surpassed many expectations, going above and beyond with their website and artists’ lives! Although it was upsetting not being able to see the artist’s work in person this year, many people enjoyed lounging on their couch and watching their favorite artists give a live studio tour or scrolling through paintings on the website.
The Armonk Outdoor Art Show has been gathering annually for over half a century. 185 artists are chosen from applicants from all over the world to come to the show. A group of 300 volunteers works every year to make the show a success. These dedicated volunteers and artists did not let the pandemic hinder their efforts, but instead, they worked even harder to present a great 2020 show! They created a detailed website that allowed artists to present their main pieces and had a link directly to each of their websites. The art show’s website also organized artists by category, included video profiles of many artists, and had a tab for this year’s featured artists. Leah Sokol, a senior who has taken many art classes at Byram, was first very upset about not being able to attend the art show in person this year because she has loved it so much in the past. Although disappointed, Leah talked about some of the positives this year’s show brought: “the virtual experience encouraged me to further research the artists that I was interested in by looking at their websites.” The accessibility to the artists’ websites and work through the Armonk Outdoor Art Show’s website allowed people to discover even more of the works of artists that could not all be displayed at the show in the past, and as Leah mentioned, allowed for easy access to their websites.
In addition to the extremely well-organized and accessible website, the live demonstrations and studio tours were a major plus. 11th grade art student, Marianna Vataj, spoke about her experience with the online art show. She thought it was awesome that she could “even engage with some artists via Facebook live, Instagram live, or Zoom,” something that has never been offered at the art show in years past. On the live events that Marianna attended, she said she was “able to ask questions and get an artist’s opinion.” The ability to speak to an artist and see their process is not always so easy at the art show every other year, so the addition of these demonstrations was very helpful and inspiring to many. Mrs. Karlin, Byram’s AP Studio Art and photography teacher, spent a lot of time visiting the website this past weekend. She shared, “I went to Louis Perez’s demo on drawing with charcoal at 10 am on Saturday. He is a parent in the community and a very skilled artist. I really enjoyed watching his process.” A few of her favorite artists included Michael Chen, Mark Mackinnon, Andrew Sovjani, Robert Hessler, John Harris, and Roxanne Chardon. If you did not get a chance to visit the live tours and browse through the galleries on the website this weekend, do not worry! You can still take a look at the artists and their websites through https://armonkoutdoorartshow.org/. Go check it out!