If You Go...
Who: Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities
What: Valley Visual Art Show
When: Opening 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, on display through March 7
Where: The Launchpad, selected works at Bonfire Coffee
How Much: Free
For more than three decades, the Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities’ (CCAH) annual Valley Visual Art Show has highlighted exceptional work from some of the valley’s most talented artists, whether they’re novices showing for the first time or seasoned professionals.
“It’s an amazing valley,” said Susannah Pentelow, a Carbondale Clay Center artist in residence from the U.K. who is showing in the Valley Visual Art Show for the first time. “There are so many artists working and living here, and the show really draws on that variety.”
The exhibit’s free opening is from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Launchpad in Carbondale.
Brian Colley, gallery manager for the CCAH and Valley Visual artist, said this show is unique in that it’s the only CCAH show open to anyone in the 816 zip code. Many shows put on by the CCAH are by invitation only, or their curators have a more specific vision that may limit the variety of the pieces. But Valley Visual features sculpture, oil, acrylic, watercolor, mono prints, clay prints, photography and multimedia. Anyone can enter up to two pieces by paying a small fee, and then a committee selects one piece per artist. It is a true testament to the variety of visual artists living in the valley.
“This just opens it up to the community at large,” Colley said. “It makes people more aware of the art in the community and hopefully brings them over to the Launchpad.”
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While this is the 35th Valley Visual Art Show, it is the first one to take place in the Launchpad, the new space acquired by the CCAH and opened in October.
“It’s an incredible improvement,” Colley said. “Just the space alone is wonderful.”
The Launchpad has high ceilings, LED lighting and beautiful wood floors. All of these elements heighten the integrity of the exhibit, and the space’s location in downtown Carbondale, right off Main Street, will likely draw a larger crowd than the Third Street Center saw.
In addition, the CCAH is continuing its partnership with Bonfire Coffee on Main Street, which will display 15 pieces of art in addition to the 62 shown at the Launchpad.
While Pentelow has only been living in the valley since September, Wewer Keohane has been here for 35 years, and she’s shown in the Valley Visual Art Show at least 25 times. She said her favorite part about this exhibit is the variety of pieces you can find.
“I like that you can see art from someone who is showing for the first time, and you can see art from people that you’ve been following for 30 years,” she said.
Lisa Singer, who has shown about seven times, agrees.
“I like the fact that it brings artists from all over the valley out of the woodwork, so to speak,” she said. “It’s kind of like a purging of the area’s creativity. It brings it all out — people you wouldn’t have seen in other places, and people you haven’t seen yet.”
For Roberta McGowan, who has lived in the valley for 17 years and is showing in this exhibit for the second time, Valley Visual serves as a kind of networking event.
“I get to meet other local artists,” she said. “I really like that the organizers showcase local artists. I think it gives the community a great opportunity to see all the wonderful talent that’s here.
“I’m just grateful for CCAH for being in Carbondale and welcoming all the artists.”
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