From Aug. 10 to Jan. 8, Terry Lee Hastings, the arts’ event coordinator at UCR Palm Desert, and his co-host, Terry Ray, hosted a series of virtual discussions to share the work of local artists. Each meeting was centered around different themes, such as the ocean or animals, and artists would submit their work to be showcased. During the meetings, artists were invited to drink tea and to compliment each other’s works from the comfort of their homes.
Tea Time With Terry held its last meeting on Jan. 8. Hastings began the meeting by welcoming some of his old friends and introducing himself to new artists. Right away, the meeting began with humorous conversations and a friendly vibe. The artists that attended shared inside jokes and lamented about current events, ranging from the pandemic to the riots in Washington D.C.
Afterwards, Hastings announced that all the artists attending the event had submitted what they believed was the best piece of art that they created in 2020. Hastings showed a slideshow with everyone’s submitted pieces, and all the artwork in the slideshow was available for purchase. Each slide contained an image of the artwork, the price and the contact information for the artists.
Every artist was given a chance to explain the art that they created. One artist, Diana Morgan, drew a painting on one sheet of toilet paper using watercolors. She revealed that this project took a lot of time, concentration and gentleness because the toilet paper was easy to tear. Another artist, Elaine Sigwald, created a digital painting by running different algorithms until she got the design she desired. Sigwald also pointed out that, upon closer inspection, her painting actually consisted of many smaller paintings.
Everyone had positive comments towards each other’s work. A conversation even arose about how some of the artwork in the meeting were being undervalued, with a few of the artists believing that the price for some of the art pieces should be higher because of how complex and beautiful they were. However, one artist, David Seifert, argued that selling a piece of art for a lower price was not meant to make an artist feel like their work was undervalued. Instead, selling art for a lower price makes it possible for beautiful art to become affordable for a larger group of people, argued Seifert.
Though the quarantine period gave artists plenty of time to create new works of art, it did limit the methods in which they could share and sell their art. Like many other workers, these artists turned to online platforms to promote their work. As Tea Time With Terry came to an end, Hastings shared his gratitude for websites, such as Redbubble and Society6, for giving artists places to sell their art during these times.
UCR Palm Desert has plans to continue hosting events that showcase the artistic talent in Riverside. For more information, you can sign up for their newsletter. All of the Tea Time With Terry meetings were recorded and can be viewed on the UCR Palm Desert Center’s YouTube channel.