ArtScene 2004 features not 35, but 37 exhibiting venues this year (MedicineMan and The Vision Loft were added to the schedule at the 11th hour). No matter how enthusiastic one might be to see all of it, its just not realistically possible to appreciate that much art in only two evenings.
These are some of my suggestions, based only on personal experience and preference, of locations that ought to be on every ArtScene goers priority list.
Starting in the North End Neighborhood region, Altamore Ristorante will feature the artwork of my pal Russ Blahnik, whose metal sculptures can tend to be a little creepy, but always exhibit an elegance of form and an offbeat symmetry that is more than visually appealing. He also has functional pieces for sale, like coat racks, mirror frames and candle holders, and theyre all one of a kind. Altamores will be open for dinner not only on their regular Thursday, but during ArtScene both nights, 4-10 p.m. Kick off the tour with dinner; their pizza is the best in town.
After dinner, head downtown and check out Lulas Vintage Boutique, 221 E. State St. For the tagalongs not interested in art, the jewelry and clothing at Luanne and Laurettas store (get it? Lu-La?) is extremely unique and always attractive. They will be featuring the work of Julia Olsen, in an exhibit titled Expressive Color. A local native, Olsen is currently a student at Columbia College. I used to see her work during 5th period in the art room at Boylan Catholic High School back in the day. It impressed me then, and I have no doubt her new pieces with oils and acrylics will far surpass her assignments in school. Also, LuLas is planning on starting a new not-for-profit program called My Own Closet, which will provide donated clothing and office items to women in need. Ask them about it during ArtScene.
Stop by Medicine Man, 510 E. State St., on your way to the west side of downtown to see Colour and the Form. Theyll be featuring special music performances to be announced both evenings, and a kaleidoscope of canvas, glass, sculpture and found object works by Keith Grace, Shari Grace, Frank DiGiovanni and many others. Next door at The Vision Loft (128 N. Madison), there will be the same set-up. Musical performances will occur both evenings, and the exhibit Varieties of Cool will feature Jesse Grosse & friends, Susan Smolinski, Jana Bowman, and a slew of others, plus a showcase of rare Salvador Dali prints from Eric Wings.
Mosey on down to Minglewood, 317 W. Jefferson St., where an array of arts will be happening. Paintings and multimedia works of Brian Harker, Jesus Correa and yours truly will be exhibited in Finding Sophia, a title that Harker came up with, which should prove to be fairly interesting. Keep in mind that sophia comes from the ancient Greek word for wisdom, in the feminine gender… Poetry readings and music will go on during the evening, although after 9 p.m., there is a $5 cover for the bands.
In the same neighborhood, Belles Firm of Architecture, 1001 E. Jefferson St., will display A Tribute to Teacher, a touching exhibit featuring former students of retired art teacher Margo Shryack-Pagh. The most well-known exhibitors are Jim Julin and Michelle Dorr, and mural art by Abel Garcia (who is rumored to be opening an art supply and framing shop soon) will also be featured, besides the numerous works of Guilford and Auburn CAPA students.
Shoot over to KannCept Design Inc., 120 N. Longwood St., to see Tim Munroes New Works, which include paintings on canvas and wood, and colorful infant gifts by Mary Stephenson.
If thats not enough for you, remember to read over the ArtScene pamphlet to see where all the rest of the action is happening. This tour of local art is only once a year, dont miss it. ArtScene 2004 runs Friday, Oct. 1 from 5-9 p.m., and Sat., Oct. 2 from 4-9 p.m.