First-ever Germantown Artists Roundtable networking event draws an estimated 100 people

While planning their first-ever networking party, Germantown Artists Roundtable organizers had that nagging worry familiar to most hosts: Will anybody show up?

The answer, they found out on Sunday night, was clearly yes.

Paula Paul, who spearheaded the effort, and a large team of helpers greeted an estimated 100 people who turned out for the three-hour event held at the Flying Kite Magazine office near the regional-rail station on West Chelten Avenue.

“There are people from the Roundtable meetings, but also a lot of others, which is really exciting to see,” said Germantown United Community Development Corporation board member Andy Trackman, a Roundtable facilitator, as he surveyed the noisy party.

The scene

Roundtable member Terri “Nightowl” Lyons welcomed the crowd with a short address.

“Bring yourself, bring your spirits, bring your arts and skills in,” she said, urging first-time attendees to get involved. “Let this meeting be part of a powerful beginning for 2013.”

A welcome table was covered with business cards and flyers from Germantown’s artist community. Live entertainment from local singers, drummers and musicians regaled the networkers.

And, potluck tables full of dip, salads, pasta, cheese, cookies and pies kept the party going.

Artwork from an exhibition that opened in the space last week (the majority of it from Roundtable artists) was still on the walls.

The eclectic show included graphite drawings and collage, oil paintings, printmaking, photography, sculpture and more.

The artists

Susan Mangan offered a behind-the-scenes look at “Red Skies,” her textured red-and-black print that incorporates a pattern of real, hand-laid matchsticks.

Besides citing the importance of reusing objects wherever possible, Mangan explained that the piece symbolizes the battle between instant gratification and long-term effects, as with smoking (hence the matchsticks) or fracking.

For her part, Paul was pleased not just by the number of unfamiliar faces, but by attendees who came to early Roundtable meetings and then faded away.

“It’s nice to see them again,” she said, hoping the party would help get the Roundtable back on the radar for folks whose initial interest may have waned.

Nearby, artists of all ages were busy at a crafts-packed table decorating colorful squares with their names and artistic mediums.

These went up on the walls throughout the evening, to showcase the number and variety of artists in attendance.

Meanwhile, local portrait artist Garth Herrick, who has captured many of the region’s most prominent judges and politicians on his canvas, retrieved a large book of his work to regale an avid ring of admirers with stories about his subjects and the making of his photorealistic paintings.

Lyons said the good turnout was mostly due to word-of-mouth, including a lot of individual phone calls and emails.

“We encouraged people who may not have a profession [in the arts] yet,” she said of the invitations.

Organizers hope to repeat the networking event in a different location every four months.

The Roundtable will resume its regular monthly meetings from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20 at the BuildaBridge headquarters, 205 W. Tulpehocken St.

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