A Partnership, In Pictures

The Halle Cultural Arts Center of Apex has been a downtown staple since its original use as Town Hall in 1912, but for The Image Salon, a new artists group, it’s a vision of something new — their inaugural exhibit is currently displayed here.

Comprised of eight individual photographic artists, The Image Salon works as an outlet for artists to earn both praise and critique, explore new avenues of work, collaborate and build social relationships with other artists.

“I’m fairly new to this artist and art world, so last year I realized being an artist is very difficult because there’s not really a right and a wrong,” said Sandra Seagroves, whose original idea inspired the group’s creation.

“We do have a lot photographic clubs in the area but they’re just so big, and even though they’re an asset as well, it’s nice to have a smaller group that you can really bounce ideas back and forth.”

“I’m one of those people that says, ‘I’m not good enough,’ and I don’t feel that way anymore,” added member Fran DeRespinis.

At their monthly meetings, members of The Image Salon share prints and digital photos over finger food and glasses of wine, providing encouragement, suggesting creative changes, and  exploring different subject matters.

“The critiques let us know if our work moves people,” said  Donald Namm. “And I think what I’ve learned about art more than anything else is that it’s got to have an effect on the people who see it.”

While the group operates as a cohesive unit, members’ individual interests range from landscape photography to urban scenes to international portraits, which could have proved difficult when deciding on a theme for their first show.

“The challenge was having eight individual artists. None of us wanted to compromise our own vision,” Seagroves said. “You could have landscape, I did abstract, you have people — how do you marry everybody’s own visions?”

Their solution was to draw from each individual’s inspiration, and the “In the Footsteps Of …” exhibit was born. Each artist has a series of prints on display alongside an explanation of the influences for their work, which range from Rorschach’s ink blots to other photographers and writers.

“It ties everybody together and permits us to seek our individual visions,” said Lynne Necrason.

Getting the exhibit hung on the walls of The Halle is the truest testament to the group’s collaborative efforts: JJ Raia secured the space, Seagroves worked on outreach, and other members did everything from securing food for the event, creating social media posts, setting up a website, designing invitations and inviting friends from other artists groups.

“It’s the proof of what we can accomplish, all of us together,” said Seagroves of the finished display. “This is the fruits of our labor.”

“We all got together and worked hard at it,” added Raia. “It’s not just a collection of pictures; there’s so much more to it.”

To learn more, visit theimagesalon.wordpress.com.

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