The Red Cross emblem on the outside implies it's a hospital. But the art hanging on the white walls make it apparent it is not. The Art Hospital, which opened in late 2005, will be gone by July 31, 2010. The local art gallery and studio, located at 102 E. Allen St., held its final show, "Carnivalesque," a celebration of carnival-, fairground- and circus-themed art, on Saturday, July 24.
The communally run gallery/studio has functioned completely on the effort of the members for almost five years. Lately seven members have contributed. However, the number of artists involved in Art Hospital has fluctuated over the years.
Downtown Bloomington is home to many local businesses, including a variety of art galleries. A majority of these galleries exhibit eclectic mixes of paintings, photography, jewelry, pottery, and more.
To stand out in a crowd this broad can be a difficult task. However, David and Martha Moore, owners of Pictura gallery, make it look easy. Pictura is a fine art photography gallery located on the corner of Sixth Street and College Avenue. It offers some of the best local and world photography.
"You can go to New York," David says. "You can go to San Francisco. But you don't have to. You can come to Pictura."
Editor's note: The following guest column was submitted by Ashley Fisher from the Bloomington Area Arts Council in response to criticisms leveled by local artists in The Bloomington Alternative and other local media.
Fallout from the past
The new (Bloomington Area Arts Council) Board's 10-month story starts with the realization at the beginning of 2009 that the organization was failing -- again. Sensing this, both Ashley Fisher and Rob Hanrahan, who had recently joined the BAAC -- Fisher as a new Board member in October 2008 and Hanrahan November 2008 as a fundraising consultant -- took up the challenge as President of the Board of Trustees and Executive Director respectively in March 2009 to address the long-term sustainability of the arts council, despite its weakened state at that time. Both believed that the organization could be transformed -- and still do.
As Paula Ionescu explains the themes behind her paintings on display at City Hall, she can’t help but smile. Her art utilizes the colors of spring, the time of the year she enjoys most. One of her pieces, “Daffodil,” depicts her favorite flower. But as vibrant as her paintings are, Ionescu hasn’t always been in such good spirits.
Her paintings are the result of art therapy sessions held by Centerstone, an organization that provides mental health and addiction services to more than 18,000 Indiana residents annually. Ionescu says the paintings, which are being displayed as part of this year’s Centerstone “Art of Mental Health” exhibition, have aided in coping with depression. She is not the only person who has found relief in the unconventional sessions.
Shallus Quillen, another Centerstone artist, says the sessions have helped reduce her anxiety. Quillen, who engaged self-destructive activities, says the Centerstone art sessions are the only effective form of therapy she has found. Becoming involved with the sessions has been “the best thing ever,” because it has given her an alternative to self-harm. “It’s easier to paint than hurt myself,” she says.
In 1962, the view that anything could be art was at its peak in the art world. Artists would use unconventional materials -- metal scraps, buttons, cardboard -- whatever they thought would express their ideas best.
In that same year, the Indiana University Art Museum (IUAM) received four works of art that fell into this category. These works, including one other piece received in a different year, are on display as part of the IUAM's "New in the Galleries" exhibition titled The Art of Assemblage.
Ned Puchner, a graduate student in art history and the curatorial assistant for Western Art after 1800, prepared the exhibition. It was partially inspired by the New York Museum of Modern Art's 1961 Art of Assemblage exhibition. He said the works are "an excellent group, indicative of the range of works categorized under the terms 'neo-Dada' or 'assemblage'."
Betsy Stirratt feels your pain. "Parking on campus is very frustrating," she agrees. And while she's not exactly proposing that anyone break any laws, the IU School of Fine Arts (SoFA) Gallery director did recently say -- out loud -- that, "Many people find they don't get ticketed on Friday nights when they park in the main library lot, probably because a lot of events are happening on those evenings."
Opening receptions for the SoFA Gallery exhibitions, featuring works of students and faculty, as well as that of regional and national visual artists, for example, tend to be held on Friday nights. With a slew of provocative exhibitions on the horizon, Stirratt would like to see more folks from the community visiting the SoFA Gallery, for Friday receptions and otherwise, even if that means maneuvering around parking headaches and the invisible but daunting divide, that in the imaginations of many, segregates the townies from the gownies.
Sitting at a messy desk inside her tiny office enclosed by curtains, Jaime Sweany laughs at the fake Turtle University diploma that hangs on the wall. The diploma says she is a "Master of Turtles."
Sweany, 49, is the master of turtles at Wandering Turtle in downtown Bloomington. She's no stranger to owning a small business and the challenges that go with it. Before opening the Wandering Turtle in 2003, she owned two other small businesses in Bloomington -- Wild Birds Unlimited and Illuminessence Photography.
"I've never had a real big business," says Sweany. "I owned Wild Birds Unlimited for about seven-and-a-half years. It was still a small business, but it was probably a more established business."
Indiana University Photography Students 10th Annual Alternative Show will feature a collection of portraits celebrating the people who make up the Bloomington community.
The show, which includes the work of the 14 BFA photography students, opens Nov. 30, 7-11 p.m., at Third and Lincoln.
"Everyone is taking 20 photographs of people in the community," says Christina Allegree, who is in her third semester of the B.F.A. program. "There will be around 300 portraits. Last year the show was a community project, but only two people did portraits, so this year we wanted to involve the community more."
At the IU Art Museum’s special exhibitions gallery, two unique exhibits share an emphasis on the artists’ techniques and experimentation with their crafts.
“Sculpture Transformed: The Work of Marjorie Schick” features 67 works of art from the internationally renowned contemporary craft artist Schick, who received her MFA with distinction in jewelry and metalsmithing in 1966 from IU.
“The Second Wave: Modern Japanese Prints from Bloomington Collections” features 40 modern Japanese woodblock prints, including prints from the museum’s collection and some borrowed from local collectors.
On March 28, the IU Art Museum will premier several exciting new exhibitions, with work from Master of Fine Arts candidates in the Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts, African artists Tijani Sitou and Kalidou Sy and Venetian draftsman Domenico Tiepolo.
The exhibitions will be on view in the Special Exhibitions Gallery and at the School of Fine Arts (SoFA Gallery) through May 20.