Randolph Arts Guild Presents 'Orphaned Art'
During the month of January, the Randolph Arts Guild, located at 123 Sunset Ave. in downtown Asheboro, will be featuring a unique exhibition in its Sara Smith Self Gallery.
The show, titled "Orphaned Art," will feature original works collected by author Jerry Bledsoe.
The Randolph Arts Guild has featured numerous and remarkable exhibitions in its Sara Smith Self Gallery, but none quite like this.
The title for the exhibition is "Orphaned Art from the Collection of Jerry Bledsoe," but more accurately one might say collected by Jerry Bledsoe. The uniqueness of this exhibition lies in how their owner found these pieces.
Bledsoe is a New York Times best-selling author and journalist by trade, but art collector by hobby - and to be clear, he's not an art collector in the typical sense.
The entirety of Bledsoe's collection has been garnered from thrift stores, consignment shops and the like. When Bledsoe started collecting he had only a few rules: "Always try to buy originals, and always spend less than $40."
The works on display feature a broad look at what he has collected through the years and a broad range of artistic styles. Through the years Bledsoe has researched many of the works in his collection. Many have turned up as dead-ends, but several have stories to tell.
One interesting example is a piece is by an artist named Mario Berrino. He was born in 1920 in Alassio on the Italian Riviera near the French border. His father owned the Cafe Roma, a famous gathering spot for writers, artists and performers from the 1930s through the 1950s (it's still in business).
Berrino became an architect but gave that up to paint. At one point he traveled to different countries to paint and for a while taught drawing at Royalton College in Vermont.
The Cafe Roma was passed down to him and his brothers, and Berrino became a friend of Hemingway, a regular at the cafe. A famous portrait of Hemingway with a parrot on his arm was painted at the cafe by another artist in 1951.
That same year, Berrino and Hemingway came up with the idea of creating a wall at the Liberte Piazza near the cafe with colorful tiles bearing the signatures of the famous people who came to Cafe Roma.
Hemingway's tile was the first. The wall is now known as Muretto and is one of Italy's most popular tourist sites, a centerpiece for the town. Berrino, who is now 92, also started two art galleries, a major one on the palace plaza in Monte Carlo and another in Alassio, where his works are sold.
The exhibit will be on display at the Randolph Arts Guild, 123 Sunset Ave. Asheboro, through Jan. 29. The center is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.
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