You are all invited to join Rachel's friends & family on June 9 for the memorial show, Rachel Rome Houpes: A Celebration of Art, all proceeds from which will benefit the ArtWorks! program run by Northeast ARC. The show takes place at the Carriage House in Beverly's Lynch Park, with the opening show hosted by husband John Houpes and sons Aaron & Jacob Rome on Saturday June 9, from 5-9 PM.
This is Jacob, and it's almost here! For over a year, I've been slowly planning to host a show featuring Mom's art. And in a little more than 3 weeks, I will absolute celebrate at the opening of Mom's memorial show, "Rachel Rome Houpes: A Celebration of Art." And you are all invited! I began the effort a lifetime ago in January 2011, photographing the art with Mom by my side and telling me the story behind each painting. Oh, what I would give to have finished the project with Mom! A flame was lit, and with the help of friends & family, I completed photographing nearly all of Mom's painting & sketches in the house while sitting Shiva and soon thereafter. But I wasn't done yet, not close.
Mom created such a wealth of amazing art (you'll see), so much that there was simply not enough room for Aaron, John & myself to display it all. We wanted to share Mom's art with the world. But how? We could give much of it away to friends, but we worried it would sit in closets instead of being displayed on walls. Plus, Mom was never a fan of giving her paintings away (except to her boys, of course). We could try to sell it, but that would be a tough task-- perhaps her friends would purchase the art now, but I would feel awkward taking money from Mom's longtime friends. Finally, we all decided on the best option: host a celebratory show, sell the paintings at prices Mom would set, and donate every single dollar to charity. It's a win-win-win: friends would buy the art they loved, Mom's art would be properly valued and a great charity would benefit. We found a great organization, Northeast ARC, and would use the proceeds to support their ArcWorks! arts program.
Nearly 300 more creations were in Mom's studio. I sought out Flickr friends for advice on how to best photograph the paintings, primarily in The Icebox. Then, my immensely talented friend Edson Matthews volunteered to fly to Beverly from his Virginia home to help me complete the project. So one fine August day, Edson & I spent probably 12 hours photographing about 300 sketches, drawings & paintings. Unlike my early crude attempts, and my later commendable efforts, this was a step apart. Custom white balance, sharpness, 2 strobes, a full sensor cleaning, precisely vertical easel, superb tripod, pro lens, D700, all tethered straight to my MacBook Pro for instant capture & tagging. The result? Archive quality images, as good as might be done for a collection from Matisse or Picasso. Nearly every painting had now been photographed; the groundwork had been laid.
The next step was securing the venue and picking a date with the help of Mom's longtime artist friend Katerina Gates. Aaron & John both agreed that June 9 would be perfect, and so word started to filter out. From the start, I knew I wanted a commemorative book to accompany the show. Not just something thrown together, but a work worthy of the artist, Mom herself. Big, bright pictures. Colorful essays. A photo mosaic showing what fun Mom had in her last decade-- Galapagos to Yellowstone, Italy to San Miguel. Even a travel article written by Mom herself. More than a dozen friends & family contributed essays. And another Flickr friend who I haven't yet had the misfortune of meeting designed the front cover, back cover and show posters. Thanks Tim, aka Love of Carnage. The covers do nothing less than establish the book from the start as a colorful, vibrant, fine art book fit for coffee tables nationwide and would not look even a touch out place at even the finest art museums. And the design of the interior matches the quality of the covers & images, thanks to design assistance from another Flickr friends I have yet to have the misfortune of meeting, Gabriel aka Lito. Of course I kid, I hope to meet all my Flickr friends.
I'm proud of these books-- the art is amazing, the photography is perfect, the quality of the print is phenomenal and essays bring to life a vibrant soul through her art, through essays from friends & family, through her own words and through photographs sprinkled throughout that bring back fine memories from nearly 7 wonderful decades. You owe it to yourself to buy a copy of the book, either as an ebook, 7" softcover or the simply stunning fine-art 12" hardcover edition. You will be able to enjoy this vibrant art in your own home for many years to come. If you live near Beverly or in Southern California, order your book by email & I'll deliver the books in after the show opening.
Of course, no modern event can be complete without a website. That's probably right here, unless it isn't. Which creates not just a great portfolio for all the artwork in the show, but also lets anyone order prints starting at $5 for a 4x6, $20 for 8x10 and many other choices as well. It came with a blog too, and it's the home of this blog entry.
Finally, we get to the show itself. The City of Beverly Recreation Department has generously allowed us to host the show in the Carriage House in Lynch Park. The show runs from Saturday June 9 until Thursday June 15, with hours from Noon - 9 P.M. on the weekend and 4 P.M. - 8 P.M. weekdays. I'll be there with many other friends & family for the show opening, June 9 from 5 P.M. - 9 P.M. You can RSVP by leaving a comment, RSVP on the Facebook event page, or just show up! All the paintings, drawings & sketches on display will be available for purchase, starting at $50 for most sketches, $300 - $500 for many of the paintings and $2000 - $5000 for the signature, vibrant paintings that will simply transform your room once hung on the wall. In addition, 8x10 prints of all the paintings will be available for $20 each. And a limited number of books will be available, while supplies last! Order in advance to make sure you get your copy. John, Aaron & I will be busy getting ready for the opening until then, mounting the paintings and hanging them Friday afternoon & evening. I hope to see you all as we celebrate Mom's artwork.