Editor's Note: Please note that at press time, this event was on the calendar. Due to the current pandemic situation, the event has now been postponed. Watch for details on a new date.
If you’re interested in buying some fine art, ceramics or jewelry that’s one-of-a-kind and crafted by a local artist, you’re in luck. The 2020 All Fired Up! Exhibition and Sale will be held April 30 through May 2 at the Roxie Remley Center for Fine Arts.
Kim Riner, director of the center, is excited about the upcoming event.
“We have professional artists and students of the Averitt and GSU participate, selling handmade ceramics, jewelry, paintings, photography and more,” she said. “Usually we have 20 to 30 people participate in the sale.”
One of the featured artists in the event will be Jane Pleak. No stranger to the local arts community, Pleak is a ceramic professor emerita at Georgia Southern University, as well as a ceramic artist herself.
“In the many years I was teaching at GSU, we offered the Club Mud sale twice each year for the university and the community,” she said. “The experience of that sale offered many of my students the knowledge and ability to set up similar sales around the state. The All Fired Up! sale grew from this experience.”
“All Fired Up! began as a way to help the students of the Averitt Center’s art programs, as well as GSU art students understand the business side of being an artist,” Riner said. “This opportunity helps them learn how to create artwork that is refined enough to sell, how to price their work, and engage with the public during the sale. The community benefits by being able to buy one-of-a-kind artwork at reasonable prices.”
Pleak says the community has always been supportive of her former ceramic students — Riner being one of them.
“Having the opportunity to show and sell work is important to young artists in understanding professional quality of work as they progress,” she said, adding that she has also enjoyed the opportunity to sell her work at the Roxie.
“Kim’s All Fired Up! Exhibition and Sale has many community artists and this expansive idea is exciting to see in downtown. A rich downtown and rich community has an active arts community and this enriches all,” she said.
Pleak says the sale and exhibition of the work of local artists puts a face to the hard work of the many artists in the area who work alone in their studios. Exhibiting their work and opening up the studio allows visitors to experience the Roxie and see the variety of work coming from the classes and the energy of the local artists involved, she said.
Of her own work, Pleak says it’s an all-consuming process.
“I have worked in ceramics for the past 50 years, as well as mixed media and painting. The All Fired Up! exhibition is a way for me to put my work out to the public,” she said.
Pleak says the Averitt Center for the Arts, as well as the Roxie Remley Center for Fine Arts, has added exposure to the creative aspects of the region and expanded the downtown area in Statesboro.
“Supporting local arts, theater, music, dance and film have opened Statesboro and the Bulloch County region to a wider world,” she said.
Another participating local artist is Robin Spitler. She says the primary type of art she does on a weekly basis is ceramics.
“I love to create many things out of clay, such as soap dishes, vases, coffee mugs, bowls and sculptures,” she said.
Spitler says her greatest source of inspiration is nature.
“A lot of my creations are adorned with carvings or sprigs that have to do with trees, leaves and birds,” she said.
The love of what she does is her greatest inspiration.
“The love of creating something from a lump of clay inspires me. I love working with my hands and using tools to make something practical for everyday use that is also beautiful. The part of my life that is most inspirational is the realization that in the Bible, there are references to how God is the potter and we, his creation, are the clay. I often view my life in this way, knowing that he created me for his purpose, just like when I make a bowl that has purpose,” she said.
Spitler’s favorite medium is brown clay, and she says she just loves that the clay has specks after it’s fired in the kiln.
“It often creates a homey feeling to the piece that is made. It takes me back to the cups and saucers that were used in my grandparents’ home when I was a child,” she said.
Spitler participates in the All Fired Up! Exhibition and Sale for several reasons. She loves to have the opportunity to display her work, and she loves that her art will help to support the Averitt Center, while helping to pay for some of her own personal supplies. She also really enjoys viewing so many types of art that others have created, which in turn, inspires her.
At this year’s sale, Spitler plans to display coffee mugs, bowls, vases, soap dishes and platters.
Spitler says support is important for these types of events and the artists involved.
“Local arts are an important element of every community. People have many interests and talents. If a person’s main talent falls into the realm of the arts, yet there are no opportunities available, the result could be a talent that is never fully developed,” she said. “Because the arts reach so many people it is important for the community to show support by physically showing up at arts type of events and by understanding that the types of art that are presented, such as at the All Fired Up! sale, are handmade and designed.”
What does this mean? Spitler says these items are crafted by a person, not a machine, and should therefore be priced and sold for this uniqueness.
“These items are almost like babies to the artist. They pour their hearts into them and want to share them with their community but also would like to sell ‘their babies’ for more than a dollar. Personally, it is hard for me to let go of some of my works of art but I also love the feeling of sharing something with someone else that is so special to me,” she said.
Riner says the community and the artists themselves benefit from events such as this.
“They are supporting working artists who are fulfilling their passions. They are also supporting small businesses, as that is what artists are,” she said. “These artists put that revenue back into the community and it boosts the local economy. Art supporters are investing in the artists, and enriching the community by buying the artwork.”
The All Fired Up! Exhibition and Sale will be from 4 to 8 p.m. on April 30, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on May 1, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on May 2. The Roxie Remley Center for Fine Art is located at 31 East Vine Street.