Remember the Pioneer Gallery? If so, you will recall that it was located on the first floor of 524 Hartz Avenue, a venue now occupied by Rakestraw Books. A membership gallery, the Pioneer housed the work of 40 or so local artists, some of whom had studios on the second floor above the exhibition area below.
Although the Pioneer is long gone, the best of its spirit hangs on in the studios, some still occupied by the original resident artists. This artist collective, now known as hARTz Studios, will be holding open studios, demonstrations, and art sales during the Danville Fine Arts Faire, the weekend of June 18. (In the interest of full disclosure: I have a studio in the building and am working to further this effort.)
Toward the end of creating an arts environment in downtown Danville, the group will start by opening its exhibition space to visitors during the Faire. All visitors to the event are invited to check out the exhibit (access to the studios is via the alley on the south side of the building and stairs in the back). Some of the artists will be working during the event in the parking lot behind the building and in their studios.
Subsequently, the group will hold open studios and a salon every Friday starting at 1:00 P.M. and continuing into the evening. Anyone in the community interested in joining the discussion of art and related matters is free to stop by and participate. Additionally, studios and exhibits will be open to visitors on an appointment basis. With the addition of ART LAB, the group has expanded its mission to bring art and fun lessons to the community.
Throughout history, the arts have had the power to move and inspire viewers and readers. They have also had the power to shock and stir controversy, sometimes leading to attempts at censorship, most of which have backfired. (For example, the now-beloved Impressionists were at the time vilified by the art establishment.) A major difference between the Pioneer and hARTz Studios is that the latter places no restrictions on content and freedom of expression.
Artistic expression at the Studios runs the gamut: fiber art, sculpture, painting, photography, assemblage. This group wants to be a more integral part of the community and invites everyone to explore its endeavors, starting with the Danville Fine Arts Faire.
For more information about hARTz Studios, feel free to contact me via this column.
John A. Barry is a writer and avocational artist. To share anything art-related, call him at 314-9528 or email email@example.com