53rd Regional Exhibition by Mystic Art Association (2009 – Drop-Off)

Mystic Art Center
Mystic Art Center,
Mystic, Connecticut

It is time for the 53rd Regional Exhibition by Mystic Art Association. Exhibitions like these are similar to job interviews. The first meeting is to review your portfolio (i.e., resume). If you pass that, you go to the next phase of being judged against other candidates (i.e., meeting more people who review your work and give you a thumbs-up or thumbs-down). Lastly, you might get to do a walk-through (i.e., the exhibition).

Artwork Drop-Off (8-?-2009) – 53rd Regional Exhibition

Here I am dropping off two paintings: “Big Cork Tree” (not accepted into the exhibition) and “Summer in the Valley” (accepted in the exhibition). I never presume which of my paintings will be well received, and it varies from judge to judge and patron to patron. However, I always get excited to hear what people think of my paintings.

53rd Regional Exhibition, John O'Keefe dropping of 'Summmer on the Valley' and 'big cork tree'
John O’Keefe on Receiving Day

Mystic Art Center (8-14-2009) – 53rd Regional Exhibition

We missed the opening reception of the 53rd Regional Exhibition by Mystic Art Association. We had personal scheduling conflicts, and the exhibition lost out. But my family and I did visit the gallery on a different date to view the show. Below are some pictures taken during that visit.

53rd Regional Exhibition,Visiting the gallery - John O'Keefe and 'Summer on the Valley'
“Summer in the Valley” by John O’Keefe Jr.
53rd Regional Exhibition,Visiting the Gallery View 1
53rd Regional Exhibition, Visiting the Gallery View 2
53rd Regional Exhibition, Visiting the Gallery View 3

Concluding Thoughts – 53rd Regional Exhibition

I’ve learned something else since starting this art journey: it is hard work. People generally think artists do nothing but sit at their easel and make art all day long when in reality, that is just a fraction of where their time, energy, and money go. There is a lot of research on venues and galleries, traveling and meeting people, gas and eating out expenses, self-promotion expenses, commissions if you sell a work, tax on sales, etc.

Here is a brief breakdown for just one painting I sold: $1,900.00 for the painting. Deducted from that sale were sales tax, gallery commission, and FOUR trips to the venue (the interview, the drop-off, the opening reception, and the pick-up). For me, these trips always included my family, so we had lunches and dinners out. When all the expenses were added and deducted from the sale, I pocketed about $350.00 out of the $1,900.00. And that painting took over two weeks to create! These experiences taught me firsthand the meaning behind the phrase “starving artist.” You have to be genuinely committed to your craft if you want to make a career out of being an artist.

About the Judge – 53rd Regional Exhibition

Carolina Pedraza publicity photograph
Carolina Pedraza

Carolina Pedraza is the Head of Youth & Family Programs at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, a national leader in the exhibition of challenging contemporary art and the emergence of mid-career artists. 1


  1. Bio information is taken from Mystic Art Center ‘call to artists’ exhibition press release.


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