Art auction to continue despite regatta's cancellation

Sarah Eames | The Daily StarArtist Wendy Reich, sitting in front of her Cherry Valley home Friday, June 12, cuts glass for the mosaic on the back of the chair she designed for the Regatta Row art exhibition and auction. The event is scheduled for next month.

A Cherry Valley artist is among those getting ready for an event that could have fallen victim to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the cancellation of this year’s General Clinton Canoe Regatta amid the pandemic, the accompanying art exhibition and auction, Regatta Row, will be held.

Instead of canceling the event, organizers decided to postpone it until later in the summer, giving the artists more time to complete their work, according to event chair Rachel Hares.

Now in its sixth year, the exhibition brings together artists from all across the region to design and decorate Adirondack “canoe paddle” chairs in keeping with the regatta theme. Paints were donated by New Berlin-based Golden Artist Colors, and each participant received a stipend for their work — $125 for adult chairs and $75 for children’s chairs, according to Hares.

“We had everything planned for a lovely street festival until the virus hit,” Hares said. “Being an artist myself, as much as I was sad we couldn’t have the auction at the canoe regatta, it was nice to have some more time to work on my chair.”

Twenty chairs will line Bainbridge sidewalks for at least a month as part of the community’s grassroots revitalization efforts, according to Hares, and are tentatively scheduled to be unveiled July 2.

The auction will be held online and possibly in-person over the course of a month, according to Hares. Proceeds will benefit the Jericho Arts Council to support its artists and musicians and to fund future events, according to Hares. Cash awards of $50 to $100 will be granted for best in class and people’s choice.

Glass artist Wendy Reich joined Regatta Row for the first time this year.

Specializing in mosaics and stained class, Reich teaches classes from her Cherry Valley home and throughout the community. She regularly participates in several local and regional art shows, including the Cherry Valley Sculpture Walk, LEAF Inc.’s art and poetry competition, and the EcoArt Exhibit, sponsored by the Community Arts Network of Oneonta.

“I look for challenges that push me to do different things — I love to reinvent,” she said. “I wanted to do something that spoke to me emotionally.”

Reich’s chair design features a beanstalk climbing up the back of the chair, surrounded by sunburst flowers set against a radiant orange sky, all made from hand-cut glass and custom-made polymer clay tiles.

“I think of it as painting with glass,” she said.

Weather permitting, Reich works in her front yard or in her “Boho Bungalow,” a remodeled camper outfitted with vibrant tapestries, woven rugs and floral upholstery. The unit was originally designed to be a mobile studio for trunk shows and art on the go, Reich said, but fitting a kiln in the closed space was not feasible.

Much of her work focuses on personal reflection, growth and new horizons.

“If you plant a seed of positivity, it will grow,” she said. “You don’t have to be stagnant. You don’t have to stay where you are. You can grow and get to where you need to be.”

For more information, visit jerichoarts.com/regatta-row-2020.

Sarah Eames, staff writer, can be reached at seames@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7213. Follow her @DS_SarahE on Twitter.

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