July 2nd, 2010, was the first anniversary of my dad's passing. I wanted to do something fun that day to take my mind off of things, so when my friend Erica called to invite me to Portland's First Friday Art Walk, I jumped at the chance. I hadn't done the art walk in a long time (and I'd never done it in the summer, for that matter) and I could use some time with a friend, so when she asked, I said yes. I spoke to my friend Heather shortly after that, and it turned out that she had plans to do the art walk with her friend Rebecca. Heather and I decided to drive into Portland together and meet up with Erica and Rebecca there. As it turns out, I knew Erica and Heather, but not Rebecca; Heather knew me and Rebecca, but not Erica; Erica knew me and Rebecca, but not Heather; Rebecca knew Heather and Erica, but not me. Well, we all got together, and to say we had a blast is an understatement. We walked, we talked, we ate and drank, we looked at lots of art, and most of all, we laughed like lunatics. I hadn't laughed that hard in a long time and it felt great...it was exactly what I needed.
It was a beautiful summer night, and Portland was loaded with art-lovers...they were everywhere, and it blew me away how many people were out and about. As we walked in and out of galleries, Heather and Erica kept saying to me, "You should be involved in this. Why isn't your artwork here?" I said I would love to be a part of it but I wasn't sure how to go about making that happen. Heather kept saying, "You're spreading light with your artwork...people need that. They need to see something that will uplift them. You should be here."
Who would have thought a year later, I'd be holding my own First Friday reception (my seventh one, to be exact, since I started in January)? The Closet Factory office was packed the night of July 1st, 2011. Tons of people came out and there they were, looking at my artwork and enjoying food, wine, music, and each other's company, just like we had done a year before. Heather, Erica, and Rebecca were all there for me that night, along with two of my oldest and dearest friends, Jen and Julia...and Julia had driven all the way up from Brooklyn as a surprise. I feel like my dad had a hand in all of this good fortune...he always loved pulling strings for the benefit of people he cared about when he was able to do so. I think he was listening that night last year and got to work. Thanks, Dad, for the assistance (again!), and thanks to all of my friends, whose support means more than I can possibly express. I love you all!