THE MAKING OF NEW HORIZONS
In several meetings that occurred about three years ago we (Artists from Mid-Columbia Woodturners) were exploring ideas for an exhibition that would push established artists to explore new work. We felt that putting together a collection of excellent work was not enough. There are now many such exhibitions available in most parts of the US. We wanted to show work that was educational, inspiring, and significant.
As these discussions progressed it was felt that such an exhibition could be held in the Tri-Cities (Richland, Pasco, Kennewick) of Washington State. The initial decision to do the exhibition was based on a desire to showcase the Northwest as a good place to enjoy wood art. Tri-Cities Washington is at the epicenter of rapid economic and cultural development. There seems to be an increased commitment to the artistic and cultural infrastructure. Additionally, we had the opportunity to plan the exhibition to coincide with the annual AAW Symposium that will be held in nearby Portland Oregon.
The first step was to determine whether or not a suitable venue was available. We have had a long standing relationship with a local community arts organization, Allied Arts Association, that operates a fairly large gallery on the banks of the Columbia River. A request to do a show received enthusiastic support. It helped that planning began three years ago. The exhibition is being co-hosted by the Allied Arts Association and the Mid-Columbia Woodturners.
Local artists from Mid-Columbia Woodturners made a recommendation for a slate of artists. Then several sessions were needed to get total agreement on the desired participants. Once that was done the prospective artists were contacted to see if they would participate. After enough artists committed to participate in the exhibit, we constructed a time-line for things that needed to be accomplished, with reminders regarding deadlines and expectations. We also tried to respond quickly to questions and issues that arose. We have commitments from 35 artists in the United States and Canada.
The Exhibition and Related Activities
Exhibitions in wood art are very important for several reasons: (1) They create a space where people can go to learn about work by highly skilled creative craft artists; (2) When properly documented, in catalogs and electronic media they provide an enduring record of work at the time and place; (3) Giving wood art the status of appearing in an appropriate venue can lead to a greater acceptance of wood art as a legitimate artistic endeavor. Done correctly, exhibitions can be a very good thing.
There is a goal that the exhibition should involve the local community. To that end, we wanted to present the exhibit to local high school and college students who are enrolled in industrial arts and fine arts programs. The local area has 8 high schools, one junior college and one university.
Special tours and lectures will be prepared and given for the students during the exhibition. Tours will also be offered to the public.
An exhibition catalog was designed to show past iconic work contrasted with the new work described in detail in the artist’s own words. We feel that this will be both educational and inspirational. It will enable “New Horizons” to have a positive impact far beyond the Northwest geographic area. In addition, we were able to have the show travel to St Paul where it will be shown in The AAW gallery.
In order to put on such an exhibition funds must be obtained for: the catalog, reimbursement of the artist’s costs for shipping and for advertisements. A committee was formed from members of the Mid-Columbia Woodturners for the purpose of raising monies from local companies. A package of information was prepared for submittal to prospective sponsors. This package included: a request letter, a listing of donation levels, a description of the gallery and several pages showing examples of the iconic work of the artists.
In the meetings with the potential sponsors it was crucial to stress the community activities that will occur during the exhibition. This activity is an ongoing process. The successful responses have occurred when one of the committee members has a personal contact within a local company. Another very important part of obtaining the funds is that the gallery is part of an organization that has the Federal classification for being tax-exempt (501-C-3). This allows the sponsors to submit their donation as a deduction when filing their income tax forms,
The exhibition will be promoted via fliers, postcards, magazine articles, newspaper ads and with spots on local radio and TV. Fliers will be sent to university art departments and galleries throughout Washington, Oregon and Idaho. This activity will become better defined as we move closer to the spring of 2018.
Many guided tours and lectures will be given during the exhibition. To this end, docents will be trained and stationed at the gallery during the event. Catalogs will be available for purchase at the gallery and at the AAW convention in Portland, OR.
After the show closes at the gallery in Richland, WA the art work will be sent to the AAW in St. Paul, MN where it will be on display during August and September of 2018.