At the Everson "On My Own"

CNY Arts and Everson’s “On My Own Time” exhibit allows recreational artists to thrive

Amateur artists' work was featured at the Everson Museum to reflect that art done as a hobby is still art nonetheless.

After a day at the office, it’s not uncommon to kick back with a glass of wine or a favorite TV show. But for some a paintbrush or a sketchbook is their main afterwork activity. The Everson Museum of Art’s 42nd exhibition “On My Own Time” showcased the work of amateur artists who pursue art for their own enjoyment and, surprisingly, the added health benefits it can offer.

“On My Own Time” ended its exhibition on Nov. 8. This year, 171 artists applied, submitting 370 different pieces of artwork. Only 60 of those works were chosen by local art experts to be featured. All of the works will also be displayed at the workplaces of those who participated.

The “On My Own Time” exhibition began in 1973 and was founded by Gloria Romeo, former spokeswoman for Delavan Art Gallery and a judge on this year’s panel. “I think the event has lasted this long because of the cultural well-being of the community,” said Romeo, “It attests to the fact that the arts are alive and well.”Romeo started the event in partnership with CNY Arts after she saw a company doing a similar event for their employees.

Jen Zalewski, one of the participants, studied studio art at Wells College in upstate New York but pursued different professional endeavors. She is now the director of alumni records at Syracuse University.“Art is a compilation of creativity, spirituality and an interesting way to interpret the world through a pen, brush or whatever it may be,” she said.

Fellow participant, Roxanna Carpenter, an SU communications assistant, appreciates the mental escape that art can offer. “When I’m doing art, I’m not aware of the outside world or time passing,” she said.

That feeling of complete escape is just one of the benefits that recreational art can offer. Rachelle Lando is a psychologist certified in healing arts at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center and a workplace coordinator for the exhibition.  “Art benefits patients. It can lower blood pressure and decrease stress. You’re giving yourself permission to be creative and let go,” she said.

Participation in the visual arts can also aid individuals as they age. A study entitled “Art and Aging-How Creative Expression Can Benefit Older Adults” by Dr. Raquel Stephenson shows that creating art in communities can counter feelings of isolation resulting from the loss of a spouse or health issues in old age.

Sarah Massett, assistant director of the Everson Museum of Art, agrees that “On My Own Time” does an important service to the community. “It increases accessibility and recognizes the artists amongst us who wouldn’t normally be recognized,” she said. 

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