Twas the night before Jerry Kelly opened live for the wooks to fling all through the house. Before us heady creatures starting stirring, Witch Dr. announced, everyone gets in free, come check us out !
Walking up to the front door of The Witch Dr. glass gallery in Salem, Massachusetts, crowds of colorful folks mingled in groups waiting to enter the doctor’s doors and catch a break from the frigid cold weather. The anticipation was heavily built over the last month or so, as sneak peeks of glass art for this show on social media have had everyone eager for the day to come. Upon entering it was immediate to see that the place was packed and everyone came with extra high spirits to support Jerry Kelly’s live show. Strangers were stopping strangers just to shake their hands, and there were tons of friends in the building with good vibes all over.
Fine art was everywhere you turned, people were carrying official event posters, wearing official event t-shirts and hooded sweat shirts. Everyone was respectful and courteous to one another, and there was a great diversity in the age groups who were in attendance. Witch Dr. staff had things on lock with the rushes of people and Jerry was being the host the mostest moving around the building doing what he does best, tending to his events crowd.
A little bit ahead of my time, I have gotten to see Rat dog, Phil Lesh and Friends and of course Furthur. That may not mean much to you, but If you’re in the know, it’s really no secret that The Grateful Dead culture created the torch that has been carried on after the passing of Jerry Garcia in 1995, and is unlike anything the world has seen before. Inspiring so many individuals though out the globe with their music and the meaning behind their cultural following (no, not just the good LSD, nitrous and free spiritedness) many people half a century later are still following “the golden road” to unlimited devotion in their own ways.
Jerry Kelly seen the vision and ran with it. Over the last two plus decades he has established himself as a kind fellow and family man with quite the talent for creating glass art, with a very unique and signature style. Jerry beautifully merges his endless love for the Grateful Dead and glass art together to showcase for the eyes of the world to see. Specializing in functioning glass art since day one Jerry is no stranger to a well working piece. His millefiori are also some of the most easily recognizable art around.
Many well known artists joined in on collaborative efforts with Jerry Kelly to create a variety of one of a kind functioning and non-functioning glass pieces among the likes of Mike Gong, Conversion Glass, Tammy Baller, Danny Camp, Buba, KGB, Sable Haze, Chem Dog, Eusheen Goines and more. Attendees were allowed to come to the free show and purchase glass of their choice on a first come, first serve basis. I noticed a 25 foot line formed in the corner of the room, and it instantly clicked in my head that this was the purchasers line, I then asked one of the men in line, he agreed saying “We each got a marble and he also got a rig, we’re just waiting to check out.” Mind you, this was the first hour into the event, I could really tell things were beginning to pop off and starting to shake on Shakedown Street.
Looking into the flame, many patrons gathered like moths just south at the front of the venue to watch Samson Glass and others create their art on the torch behind large plate-glass windows that were detailed with classic grateful dead bears, accompanied by “Jerry Kelly Live” decals. This set up was very unique, it added to the overall experience of the event, not only for me, but for everyone. You could say that it’s intimate to see the artist you’re a fan of right in front of you doing a live demonstration. All while this was going on, a giant screen projected live performances from The Grateful Dead through the sound system. Among the tie dye t shirts, silver neck jewelry, pelican cases and fitted hats, smiles were a plentiful sight; it made me feel right at home.
I noticed that the art contributors covered all of their bases when it came to prices for budgeting and the show’s offerings were pretty extensive. Display cases quickly began to empty and many smiles were surfacing among the constant chatter in the distance from happy purchasers as the afternoon began to wind down to a close. Jerry Kelly and his confidants in the glass community, and at the Witch Dr. set out on a mission to host a really great live show, and they did just that.
Jerry Kelly Live at The Witch Dr. gave me a solid reminder of what you can accomplish when you do what you love, and love what you do. It’s so important that more public and private functions like this happen on a regular basis. Supporting our local economy and looking out for the financial benefit of our local artists goes a long way! Thanks again to the Witch Dr. and Jerry Kelly for such an amazing experience.