On the final day of the Master Woodworker, Sam Maloof: One-Half Century of Woodworking and Design exhibition at the Millard Sheets Gallery, curator Christy Johnson finally had time to sit back and review the past month of having the show at the gallery. She summed it up by relaying the reaction of a group of students who visited the show and participated in a hands-on project of furniture making.
“It was amazing! The intensity displayed by the students as they created their miniature masterpiece chair, which turned to awe as Sam appeared and signed each creation, was pure joy.”
The exhibition, which ran April 4-May 2, hosted a variety of guests and school tours, offering a sense of the functional beauty that is a trademark of Maloof’s furniture. Each student who participated in the school tours became furniture makers. They were presented with materials to make their own 9-inch chair. From traditional rocking chairs to a duck-armed seat, the students thoroughly enjoyed sawing, sanding and shaping their creations.
Nearly 300 guests attended the opening, making it one of the most successful receptions held at the gallery. Tickets sold for the Maloof chair drawing reached 289 for a benefit of $28,900. Seventeen school groups, consisting of 515 students, grades kindergarten through college, attended as part of the free tours offered to schools. All told, more than 2,300 guests visited the gallery during the month-long exhibition.
Nelson Scherer, Millard Sheets Gallery Foundation board member said, “The favorable response to the exhibition and the success of the presentation is inspiring for future exhibitions. We continue to strive for that level of excellence while maintaining the feeling of intimacy that the Millard Sheets Gallery provides.”
On the closing date, Dennis Ruiz of Chino Hills was chosen the winner of the low-backed, all-walnut chair, generously donated by Maloof. Ruiz said he was stunned for the first three days after learning that he had won the chair. “I t was a glorious shock,” he added. Proudly posing beside his brand new Sam Maloof chair is Dennis Ruiz.
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