by H. Haveman
Art is everywhere. It’s produced and appreciated by just about everyone regardless of age, ethnicity or economic status. Art can be fun, it can serve to challenge or question, it can communicate beyond the limitations of spoken words. Art saturates our lives. It’s in the food we eat, in the music we hear, in the buildings we live in, in the clothes we wear. For as long as there are people to create and enjoy it, there will be art.
Gallup is bursting with art in all its various forms. Think Native American jewelry, rugs, baskets, pottery and paintings, roadside sculptures, larger-than-life murals, etc. We’re immersed in it, yet some in our community have begun to feel that something is needed to further what is already going on, something to draw the creators and appreciators of these various forms together. So recently, several area artists and prominent business people alike decided to create a hub for the downtown art scene. ART123 occupies a portion of the building on the corner of 2nd and Coal, sharing space with The Open Studio and Outsider Artist Gallery.
ART123 functions as a cooperative, where members pay dues and offer their time in order to make their vision a reality. Still a work in progress, their mission states: ART123 exists as an art incubator for Gallup area artists and art appreciators within their membership. Through creative activities at their downtown facility that are open to youth, teachers and professional artists who wish to become members ART123 seeks to ignite the community at large with vibrant, interactive, positive activities in the arts. It’s a gallery, as well as a place to meet and work, offering participatory art in the form of visual art, food, music and more, for everyone’s benefit.
“It’s an active, open, cool kind of place,” describes ART123 member, Fitz Sargent. He and fellow member Steve Storz explain with shared excitement the role that an organization of this type could play, not only within the art community, but the Gallup community at large. They imagine art as a potential melting pot where age, income and background are secondary to an interest in art. “After all,” says Storz, “pure art is derived from everywhere, all things.”
This is not an exclusive group, in fact, they want to include as many as possible, bridging the gap across all those things that get in the way of people interacting and creating. However, they do take art seriously and hope to engage the community at various levels, from potato stamping to museum-grade shows. Having already opened its doors to the public in April, members have led curious participants of all ages in painting, making origami hats and cooking wontons. The schedule of exhibits and participatory events is planned through October and will feature new artists’ work during Arts Crawl and for the remainder of each month (see below for schedule).
The truth is, this isn’t the first time a group of artists has tried something like this in town. That said, the cooperative is moving forward with something fresh. “It’s about what we can do, not about what we can’t,” insists Sargent. The positive momentum has spread to roughly twelve artists and several local business owners who have offered their talents and resources. ART123 is on the path to becoming a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Along with that, they are in need of board members with experience in grant writing, public relations, marketing, and coordinating events and volunteers. Storz, who is a gallery consultant and accomplished artist, moved to Gallup last fall from Taos. His knowledge and experiences with other non-profits in the arts have been great assets to ART123. Most important to the success of such an endeavor is the members’ willingness to commit to be involved and to put in the time.
Art is everywhere, but many have a hard time seeing it or recognizing their own part in its creation. For some, the idea of art can be overwhelming and quickly bring to mind definitions and qualities reserved for “artists.” The members and supporters of ART123 want to expose the truth and provide a lens through which to see everyone as an artist in one way or another.
ART123 Summer 2011
June 11 Perpendicularities A 3-dimensional installation of art and music by Fitz Sargent and Dan Philips. 7-9 pm.
July 9 Photography Group Show A group show featuring photography by noted member artists. 7-9 pm.
August 13 The Kanobis Amplifier Research Facility An installation of mixed media, electronics, original electronic sound-scapes, and performance art by artists Steve Storz. 7-9 pm.
September 10 TBA Paintings by Ric Saracino. 7-9 pm.
October 8 Día de los Muertos Group Show Multi-media group show celebrating the Day of the Dead. 7-9 pm.
All events to be held at ART123, 123 W. Coal Ave., Gallup. Call Fitz Sargent at 207 522-9107 for further details.