For the 49th year, the Memorial Art Gallery held its Clothesline Festival. This year there was nothing small-scale about the festival. Over 600 artists from a 27-county region of upstate and western New York exhibited their artwork.
The festival took place on Sept. 10-11. The show is the main fundraiser for the Memorial Art Gallery.
As in the past two years, the weather forecast seemed to predict clear, picture-perfect blue skies, and that is exactly what all the exhibitors were given. Both days provided the Clothesline Festival’s participants with perfect weather to display the very unique work.
All forms of artwork – oil paintings, sun-catchers, paper lanterns, blown-glass, photography, a plethora of craftwork, among many other artforms – were prominently displayed throughout the festival. Slowly, but surely, the Memorial Art Gallery’s 17-acre campus was filled by over 25,000 shoppers and “window shoppers,” alike.
This year, The College was represented at the festival through the distinct photographic works of a professor and an undergraduate student.
English professor David Bleich set up his booth with urban photography. Bleich has been a part of the university for over 17 years – for the past 30 years, he has been shooting and developing his own film.
“I always get a lot of pictures,” Bleich said. “I’ve had a dark room for the past 30 years, but I have [only] digitized over the last three.”
This is not the first year Bleich has been in the Clothesline Festival. “I’ve been in the festival for three years,” he said. “A lot of people benefit from it – I purchased a few items at other booths myself.”
His unique artistic style comes together in the form of large montages that detail skyscrapers and other urban features throughout the U.S. On the opposite side of the festival, however, a UR undergraduate student was showcasing his own artwork for the very first time.
Junior Andrew Slominski displayed photographs from his spring semester abroad in Arezzo, Italy. He enjoyed his semester abroad so much that he decided to return during the summer months and participate in the Roman Structures program – adding to his photographic portfolio.
Having arrived in late August, Slominski only had a few weeks to prepare for the festival.
“I was a little nervous trying to prepare for my first show with only two weeks to get ready,” he said.
The photography exhibited were strictly digital pictures from his foreign excursion. He later reminisced on how photography ultimately became his passion.
“I first became interested in photography six years ago at the Clothesline Festival,” Slominski said. “I saw some of the black and white photography of trains and buildings and thought, ‘hey, I could do this.'”
On-lookers poured into his tent exhibiting his vision of the beauty of Italy. Buyers, like myself, were left in awe at the simple, yet deep message portrayed in every photograph.
Some photographs were easy to comprehend visually, while others left the audience with curiosity as to the story behind the image. Nonetheless, the photographs showcased provided the festival with a new, fresh and quite talented UR student – one that is to be followed in years to come. There is little doubt that Slominski will continue to inspire those to appreciate the smaller details in life through his photography.
“The cycle is complete,” he said. “The show that originally sparked my interest in photography, I am now exhibiting in myself.” Hopefully this will not be the last time he exhibits his great and meaningful work.
Whether it was the artist’s first time showcasing their artwork, or they have become a Clothesline Festival veteran, it suffices to say people – both young and old – were thriving in the sheer environment of the culturally exhilarating weekend.
Buitrago can be reached at email@example.com.