Arts Galleries

Volunteers Demonstrate the Art of Curating at Tryon Painters & Sculptors

By Cornelia Scibetta

According to Greg Wright, volunteer co-curator at Tryon Painters and Sculptors (TPS), “Curating is an art form all on its own.” Wright shares this responsibility with fellow member Bill Dill. Wright and Dill come from different professional backgrounds, but both share a keen interest in art and have strengths that complement each other when it comes to curating an exhibit for TPS.

TPS, in its 56th year, is a 501(c)(3) arts organization located in Tryon. It hosts seven member exhibits each year for its approximately 200 members. Each member is allowed to submit one piece of art, either 2D or 3D. In most exhibits, 70 to 80 artists are represented.

As I have observed the curating process at TPS, I have a clearer understanding now of what my former art teacher meant when he said, “curate the space.” Much of it is about seeing the space as a whole and how each piece in it relates to another.

Wright is a retired architect. In this profession, he designed a layout taking into account relationships between spaces and people, which lends itself to looking at things and how they fit together. He shared that his grandmother, quite creative in her own right, inspired him to create.

Dill is a retired technical director for television news and religious music shows. In this role, he learned to create the set and to address the technical requirements of these shows—and, he adds, he really learned to “see.”

Both Wright and Dill consider curating a mix of creativity, mindfulness and intellect. There is not one correct way to curate an art show. The rhythm of pieces can be varied as well as the placement of small sizes with larger sizes.

Curating an exhibit begins by reviewing each piece as it comes in. As the volume of pieces grows on the intake day, the co-curators work to create a pleasing display by putting together pieces according to color, size, texture and theme. “Because we never know how many pieces will come in, we go with the flow, even as we are hanging each piece,” says Dill. “We may need to make a last-minute decision to change things up.”

With exhibits, TPS aims for members, some relatively new to art, to have an opportunity to show their work, to interact with the public and to gain confidence in a nurturing environment. Our most important goal is to promote an appreciation of art and the artist in our community.

Tryon Painters and Sculptors’ gallery, gift shop and classrooms are located at 78 North Trade Street, Tryon. Learn more at Cornelia Scibetta is board president of Tryon Painters and Sculptors.

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