The Abraham Lincoln Situation: Goodbye Abe, We’ll Miss You

Elanah Sherman with a package that delivered a Lincoln artwork

The two alternative Abraham Lincoln exhibitions–Enabled and The Lincoln Orphans–were the best of the Lincoln shows in Norwich during the month of May. They proved it again this past weekend, as a joyful and fun-loving spirit fueled the closing reception for the shows.

The trio of Elanah Sherman, Dan Topalis, and Grippo organized, managed, and hung the shows, and they were on hand to oversee the party. Grippo provided the People’s Choice Prize of $300 (given in all five dollar bills, of course) which was presented to Jo-Jo Kolodnicki, Jr. His pencil drawing of Lincoln was so luminous it looked like a daguerrotype, not a pencil drawing. He even taught me a technique for grinding graphite, then brushing it onto the page to get the effect.

Elanah also presented awards to Nancy MacBride (her mixed media piece got one of my two, yes two, votes) and Dan Topalis. Also, every artist was given a copy of The Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln: A Book of Quotations, edited by Bob Blaisdell.

Courtesy of the artist, Colin Hassett

How’s that for generosity?

Elanah, Dan and Grippo, in turn, were presented with books by which to remember this adventure: Honest Abe: 101 Little-Known Truths about Abraham Lincoln by Brian Thornton (an inside joke in that the title referenced my blog post of a similar title) and Angels and Ages: A Short Book About Darwin, Lincoln, and Modern Life by Adam Gopnik. Abe Lincoln masks were also freely dispensed.

I also came home a winner, with a piece of original art: a drawing of Abe on a box of Matzo Ball Mix by Colin Hassett, which I adore. And I’m very thankful that this experience has led to the opportunity to present a solo show at the Wauregan Gallery in July. The opening reception will be July 1 (First Friday), from 7-9. Stay tuned.

Some of the artists in attendance at the closing, besides Dan, Grippo, and the above award winners, were Laura Levine, Colleen O’Connor, Candace Grabel, and Richard Conover.

Sue Brehant and Maura McGurk pose with Sue's Lincoln portrait.
Artist Sue Brehant with her Abe.
Artist Deb Ramthun poses with her Lincoln portrait while an artist in a Lincoln mask observes.
Artist Deb Ramthun in front of her work. (Abe impostor on the left).

Elanah, Dan and Grippo have done a wonderful thing in opening their hearts and galleries to the “orphaned” Lincoln portraits. Many thanks, again.

4 thoughts on “The Abraham Lincoln Situation: Goodbye Abe, We’ll Miss You”

  1. Both the opening and the closing parties were so much fun. Thanks for documenting the whole experience Maura. I’ll see you July first at your opening. And thanks for the vote! I will never think about Abraham Lincoln in the same way again.
    Nancy MacBride

    1. Thanks Nancy; I really enjoyed your sculpture! This experience has certainly created a bond between artists that I didn’t expect. 🙂 See you in July!

  2. Maura, Thanks for documenting this. Very well put, I had a great time at the closing party. It was fun spending time with the artists there. Elanah, Dan and Grippo were so very gracious. Good luck on your show in July!

    1. For all the bad feelings, I also have a lot of fondness for the way this contest has brought so many artists together and created friendships too. If we had all just brought our work and then picked it up again, I don’t think that would be the case at all!

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