Assemblage art – that arrangement of disparate objects into a unified visual statement – has been around now as an artform for about a century, dating back at least to Picasso’s early cubist constructions. Apart from the visual aesthetics of such works, there can also be an emotional resonance to assemblage art, when an artist uses an object in the work that had a past life: a book, perhaps, or a musical instrument.
“Musical Visions: Live Music Art Auction” is a chance to see what more than 30 area and District of Columbia–based artists did with old musical instruments, turning them into paintings, sculptures and assemblages. They’ll be exhibited and auctioned off at Opus 40 in Saugerties on Saturday, May 4 from 4 to 7 p.m. The event will include live music by Griffin, Gara, and Gallagher of The Ruffians and by two children’s ensembles, My Moon and Astral Alert, and food provided by several local restaurants, bakeries and chefs.
Admission is by donation, with proceeds to benefit Hungry for Music, a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization that supports music education and cultural enrichment in the United States and abroad by acquiring and distributing quality musical instruments to underprivileged children with a hunger to play, but otherwise without access to the means to do so.
Attendees are also welcome to bring old-but-still-functional musical instruments to donate. Although most of the donated instruments quickly find homes, some of them are just too far gone to be used, and these are the instruments that have been given to artists to transform into works of art. Among the area artists participating are Sara Conca, Jim Fawcett, Stacie Flint, Mikhail Horowitz, Sue Horowitz, Polly Law, Jack Murphy, Jacquie Roland, Jean Tansey and Carol Zaloom. The artwork will be sold in a silent auction during the event, with a percentage of all sales donated to Hungry for Music.
The organization was started by Jeff Campbell, who put together his first benefit event back in 1992. Impressed by the caliber of street musicians he saw performing in the Washington, D.C. area where he lived, he decided to put on a concert to raise funds for the National Coalition for the Homeless, while simultaneously providing exposure to the street performers.
Following the success of that, Campbell decided to focus on inspiring underprivileged children. Armed with a vision “to get instruments into the hands of kids who are eager to learn but can’t afford to buy their own,” Campbell incorporated Hungry for Music as a nonprofit organization in 1994. The District of Columbia-based organization relies on volunteers and the donation of instruments that have now benefited thousands of kids.
The group’s programs are supported through memberships, benefit concerts, the sale of Hungry for Music-produced CDs, raffles and events like the upcoming one at Opus 40. For more information about Hungry for Music, e-mail [email protected] or visit https://hungryformusic.org.
Musical Visions: Live Music Art Auction, Saturday, May 4, 4-7 p.m., admission by donation to benefit Hungry for Music, Opus 40, 50 Fite Road, Saugerties; (845) 246-3400, https://www.opus40.org.