Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Valerie Schiff and The Art of Human Rights

Last week, I received an email from Valerie Schiff. The message had an interesting subject line. Normally, if the sender is not familiar to me, the email is trashed. But this subject line read: “Two Artists THOUGHT WE SHOULD MEET”. I was intrigued. Who was Valerie Schiff? And which two artists suggested that we meet?

Of course I googled Schiff and found a web site filled with figurative sculpture in terracotta or bronze. Again, I was intrigued. We scheduled a meeting and met yesterday morning in her Evanston studio.

When I arrived, a seasoned sculptor greeted me. Her work surrounded us. The scale of the pieces caught me off guard…they were much larger then they appeared on line. I spent some time wondering around the room exploring the various nuances’ of each piece, before sitting down to chat. Even in mid-conversation, I was drawn to yet another subtle gesture incorporated into one of the forms. I found myself up—out of my chair—again, wondering around the room, while continuing our discussion.

As I explored, I found that Schiff’s work was not a study of the human form but a study of the human soul. The emotion found in her work, emits a connection with the viewer. The viewer is drawn into the form—whether realistic or abstract—they are emotionally moved.

I invited Valerie Schiff to present a few of her works in the upcoming “The Art of Human Rights” event. It is an event that benefits Heartland Alliance—a charitable organization that I’ve worked with for the past few years. This year, I am chairing the affair, which will take place at the Coalition gallery [217 N. Carpenter, Chicago] on Saturday March 10th —followed by “coffee with the artists” on Sunday morning. Commissions from the sale of work will be donated directly to Heartland Alliance. Tickets for the event can be purchased at: or by contacting Michelle Marvin directly at 312.660.1339 or I hope to see you there… save the date! Saturday, March 10th 7-10pm.

In the coming weeks, I will be writing about "The Art of Human Rights" event as well as the artists who were invited to participate.

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