North Bank Artists Gallery is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) art organization that includes a professional art gallery, a dozen art studios, educational opportunities, and community outreach. New exhibits are hung monthly, and North Bank participates in the Downtown Art District’s First Friday events, from 5-9pm. Gallery hours are Thursday-Saturday, 11:30am-4:30pm. Admission is free.
December Show- Self Taught: Non-Degreed Artists Invitational
North Bank Gallery is opening its doors to the unconventional and strange with Miniature Manifestations by Northwest artist Kari Canfield and Self Taught: Non-Degreed Artists Invitational. Also exhibiting is student photography group Two Forty. Please join us on First Friday, December 6th for the opening from 5-9pm. This show runs from December 6-28, 2014.
In the front gallery is the very weird (and a little disturbing) Miniature Manifestations, tiny dioramas of Northwest artist Kari Canfield. Her strange miniature work is reminiscent of the Nutshell Studies of Frances Lee.
In her words:
“The first diorama I ever made was based on the West Virgina railroad legend “John Henry: The Steel Driving Man.” That was in seventh grade. I didn’t make the second one until about 42 years later. Since then, I have been greatly enjoying my experimental meanderings to create the current collection of dioramas!
I never start a scene knowing what the final piece will look like; it’s quite an evolutionary process (sometimes compelling me to completely start over). My primary inspiration comes from the container in which the scene will be constructed — does its shape or size or appearance imply a particular mood or activity? I try to keep my imagination free to “drift” by using a variety of container styles and by using hand-sculpted and pre-made figures. The themes are sometimes provocative, sometimes quite grim, and sometimes charmingly benign. They reflect variations on the three key elements that influence my life: love, mortality and escapism.”
In the middle gallery we are featuring the work of various self-taught regional artists whose work could be termed folk art, primitive art, or intuitive art. What you can’t call it is boring. This will be some the strangest, most lively and compelling art you have seen in a while.
In addition, in the hallway gallery is the photographic work of Two Forty – a group of young local photographers with large beautiful works that range from portraits to landscape to street photography.
Audience Engagement: Just feel something
Last weekend, several of North Bank Artist Gallery’s studio renters participated in the first Clark County Open Studios event that was offered by Arts of Clark County. In its pilot year, the all-weekend event was an organizational labor of love for artist Jennifer Williams and her volunteer staff. In its realization, fifty studios across the county opened their doors to hundreds of guests. When the doors closed again, artists and audiences had a new appreciation for each other. An entirely fresh way to connect creators and viewers was born in our community.
The beauty of the Open Studios event was it allowed art patrons to enter artists’ inner sanctums. It’s a bit of a privilege to be invited in studio- a fact clearly understood by the wonderful guests visiting this past weekend. I had my own studio open to hundreds of people, and found it to be an inspiring and gratifying experience. Truly polite, engaged, and encouraging I found the patrons to be. I even sold a piece, which is something I haven’t done in probably a year. It was really fun.
Art organizers talk often about how to better engage audiences; the essential question is “How do we make viewers feel something?” If what we do for the community isn’t hitting the right chords, then our audiences dwindle. We must provide experiences worth having often enough to grow support. This is a heavy lift for any art organization, yet it’s the underpinning of everything we do.
Back at North Bank Gallery, discussion turns to the schedule for 2014. Twelve exhibits must hang which will please, challenge, and inspire our growing art audience in Clark County. It is a privilege and a responsibility North Bank takes seriously. How do we keep people showing up to see something new? How do we grow our audience and encourage patronage of our member artists’ work? What comes next?
Planned so far are Mar Goman’s much anticipated solo show in May, guest artists from Inner Light Photography in April, kathi rick and Dale Strouse’s show in October, new work by Rebecca Seymour in November, and much more. Also, there will be more art talks. I will put up our 2014 schedule this week, so take a look. There will certainly be a little something for everyone this coming year, and we are excited to grow audience engagement one experience at a time.