Quite often we talk about the diverse and eclectic group of artists at the Celebration of Fine Art (there are 100 of them, after all!). But there are a number of people who work behind the scenes to make sure the show runs smoothly.
If you’ve ever wondered more about the people behind the tent who make the Celebration of Fine Art possible, we’re happy to introduce you to a few of them today!
Let’s begin with a brief Q&A with our wonderful office team: Susan Morrow Potje, JoAnn Robinson Juli Chacon Patty Kenney, Kathi Pfeiffer and Laura Hoye (not pictured)
How many years have you been a part of the Celebration of Fine Art?
Susan: I have been involved in one fashion or another with the Celebration since its inception! I literally have done everything from paint the floors to strategic planning. I love every bit of it!
Kathi: I have been with the show 13 years now.
JoAnn: I have been a part of the show for a total of 29 years.
Laura: This is my second year as part of the Celebration family.
Julia: It’s been 12 years for me!
Patty: This is my fourth year working at the show.
What are your favorite reactions when people purchase art?
Susan: Almost everyone who takes home a piece of art from the Celebration of Fine Art is excited and happy to add something to their collection. Many of them have had the chance to get to know the artist, so taking home a piece of work is a bit like taking the artist home with them. In fact, many times the artists will go out to a client’s home and install the work, which allows for even more time to get to know the story behind it and for the collectors to connect with the artist. Overall, art seems to make people happy, so we appreciate being a part of the experience.
Kathi: Whether the purchase is big or small, the customers are usually in awe of the conversations with the artist that led them to purchase a piece of art.
JoAnn: People are very happy when they purchase art and enjoy sharing with us why they were inspired by a specific piece.
Laura: I see the intense joy on the faces of the buyers. I especially enjoy seeing the younger children smile from ear-to-ear when they are buying their first piece of art.
Julia: People are thrilled! Not only are they purchasing beautiful original art, but they are also captivated by the experience at the Celebration. They talk about meeting the artists, how they connected with them as people, and how special it made them feel.
Patty: I appreciate seeing people who have worked hard all their lives and now find themselves in a place where they can enjoy the fruits of their labor and make artwork purchases that resonate with them and their loved ones.
What’s the highlight of the show for you?
Susan: The highlight of the show is always spending time with both the artists and every guest and collector who comes through the door. We are in a time where so much of our “connections” are virtual that it is truly a joy to connect in person, especially over such a wonderful experience and great array of art.
Kathi: I love the hustle and bustle and the energy of the show. I also love seeing the artists each year and catch up with how their year has been.
JoAnn: The opening is the highlight of the show. I am happy to be back and love being part of the experience.
Laura: Not only opening night and the excitement of that, but reconnecting with all of the people I work with and met last year.
Julia: I am a performing artist, so being immersed in that world is important to me, but I think most people live without the creative process in their everyday experience. Here at the Celebration of Fine Art, people are transported to a realm of creativity.
Patty: I enjoy being part of this upbeat, positive, happy environment. Susan has succeeded in creating this work environment, proving that it can be done. That positive energy in the universe, even in this small way, is almost tangible.
Do you have a favorite piece of art you’ve purchased from the show? What was it, which artist created it and why do you love it?
Susan: We have way too many amazing works of art from the Celebration to have one favorite! Every piece we have brings a smile to our face as we recall who we purchased it from. I guess collecting art is an occupational hazard of being in this business. It is a hazard that brings great joy, though!
Kathi: My new favorite piece is from Jenny Foster. It’s of a brown moose and it’s about eight feet tall!
JoAnn: I don’t have a favorite piece of art. Some days I reflect on one and love it the best; another day a different piece.
Laura: We purchased a copper sculpture last year from Greg Gowan. We love it because it is named ‘Mountain Sunrise’ and when the sun rises, it hits the sculpture and illuminates the heck out of it.
Julia: I have so much art from the show! I have those I’ve purchased, but my favorites were gifts from artists. The relationships built at the show are very special, and having a piece that represents those connections is very special to me.
Patty: Robin Branham says she thrives and creates from chaos, and I can relate to that!
What are you most looking forward to during this year’s show?
Susan: Each year brings a special experience that can’t be compared to anything else. For us, we always love connecting with and catching up with our long-time collector friends and making new friends as well.
Kathi: I really love seeing the success of new artists with the show.
JoAnn: Our reunion with the artists who have been with us for many years and also getting to know the new artists who have joined the ‘Celebration’ this year.
Laura: Finding more beautiful pieces of art to buy and continuing the friendships and relationships that have started.
Julia: I most look forward to watching these artists succeed and building friendships and connections. For me, life is about connections, relationships, creativity and imagination. Here is where those things thrive, and it inspires me throughout the year.
Patty: I look forward to seeing old friends and all the new art creations.