Field Notes: May 2007
Seed LecturesI'm humbled. The Seed Artists' Lecture Series has been a success-more than I'd predicted, or even dared hope. At the April lecture, landscape painter Paul Hotvedt mentioned that he liked living and working in Lawrence because "it's easier to be kind to people here." I agree, and the lectures have underlined that sentiment for me. The curiosity, enthusiasm, and support of the Seed audience members has been an inspiration. In turn, the kindness and generosity of spirit the artists have set forward is awesome. To everyone: thank you.Speakers so far have been Kendra Herring, Hong Zhang, Shawn Bitters, and Hotvedt. The scope of artwork shown by these mere four-from Herring's small-scale assemblages, Zhang's detailed skill, Bitters' grandiosity, and Hotvedt's composition-is proof enough that Lawrence's visual art scene may be in the cultural background, but it can't be for long.Next up: ceramicist Ben Ahlvers, moving from vessel to sculpture (May 24). June will be in & out of context with KT Walsh.Gallery 20/21Remember that old relic, the Spencer Museum of Art? And that dusty old John Buck nook? I am happy to report that both are gone, outta here. The re-designed 20/21 Gallery will be opening soon, and the Spencer crew have done more than remove the drop ceiling and paint. Creative curating has deconstructed the idea of what an art gallery will be. Soon visitors will see nearly the entire collection on the walls (salon-style), in flat files, and on pedestals. Curating will involve "conversations," in which selected pieces will be pulled from their original gallery space and situated in the center along a transparent grid. New relationships among the works will spark new life to the permanent collection, and our global world will be embraced. Sure, maybe it will be overstimulating; maybe it will contrast too greatly with the quieter, surrounding galleries. But it's new, interesting, and well-intentioned-very 21st century indeed.BrewingYeah, so maybe the vis arts scene could still use a swift kick in the hindquarters. One component worthy of the steam it's building is what has been dubbed the Percolator: a building where early-career artists can work, exhibit, and interact. A hearty group of locals are commandeering the idea, with a particular building in the crosshairs and ideas for funding buzzing in every conversation. In its infancy still, the idea is that the studios will rotate; there will be a common area where artists can meet and exchange ideas; the gallery will feature work produced there; and the community will be welcomed through events and lectures. Events are planned for this summer. Stay tuned for more.Other NewsThe site of the Kansas River Expression of Soul is under water!