2008-01-24 / News

CIAA artwork will cover Town Hall walls next week

By Sam Bari

The grand opening of a new art gallery in Jamestown is set for Thursday, Jan. 31, with a reception from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The first show is aptly named "Art in the Heart of Jamestown," because it is, in fact, at the heart of the community - in Town Hall.

Sponsored by the Conanicut Island Art Association, the show is the first of an ongoing series that will feature works by CIAA members, said Chairman Don Miller and Vice-Chair Wendy Crooks. Miller, an internationally recognized photographer, and Crooks, a longtime member of the Portsmouth Art Guild, will use their collective experience to display the art at its best advantage in public areas of the new Town Hall.

"This is just the first show," said Miller. "If we are successful, we plan to immediately follow it with another, and then another, so we put on a number of shows each year. Using Town Hall as a gallery gives local artists a wonderful venue to display their work, and should inspire island residents to become involved with the CIAA."

"There is so much talent on the island that nobody knows about," said Crooks. "We want artists who are not familiar with the CIAA to get involved and participate in our efforts to support and promote Jamestown art and artists."

CIAA members will be allowed to put one of their favorite pieces on display for the first show. Some of the pieces will be for sale, and others will just be displayed for all to enjoy. The idea is for members to participate and to encourage support for the program and the association, Miller said. "The show will be primarily two-dimensional art," Miller added. Unfortunately, we have no way to display large sculptures or free-standing pieces."

He went on to say that "Art in the Heart of Jamestown" will run for two months until the end of March. During the last couple of weeks, "we hope to announce the details of the following show."

Crooks mentioned that the CIAA is considering sponsoring a few one-artist shows that will display a single artist's work exclusively for thirty days. "To kick off the program we thought it would be best to display one piece by each artist," she said. "That will give visitors an idea of the impressive depth of talent that resides on the island," Miller added.

"The idea for using the Town Hall as a gallery was inspired by a conversation with Town Administrator Bruce Keiser," CIAA President Karen Krider said. "He told me about an offer he had from David Clancy, of Clancy Design on North Main Road. Apparently, Clancy offered to contribute an original piece of blown glass to the new Town Hall, and Keiser said that the conversation made him think about all the empty walls that could use some artwork. And that inspired him to call and involve the CIAA," Krider said.

According to Clancy, Keiser has yet to respond to his offer of contributing an original piece of blown glass, "but if our conversation was instrumental in initiating an effort to promote art in Jamestown, then that's a good thing," Clancy said.

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