The newly christened Westside Arts District will host its inaugural gallery walk Sat., Feb. 28, in what may become a monthly routine. Scheduled events begin at 11 a.m. at the Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center, and continue throughout the day at seven other WAD locations along Howell Mill and Marietta Street.
"We're trying to introduce people to the idea that there is a growing arts district in this part of town, and that we are all located within walking distance," comments Lloyd Benjamin, owner/operator of Get This! Gallery. "This will be a different type of art walk. It's during the daytime, and one focus point will be on special events. We hope the viewer walks away from the afternoon more informed about the shows they have just seen, along with having enjoyed the neighborhood and all it has to offer."
So, does WAD represent a long-term shift in Atlanta's physical and cultural development? Benjamin's Get This! and next-door neighbor Saltworks both recent transplants from other Atlanta neighborhoods continue a trend since late 2006 of new galleries opening or reopening on the Westside, including WAD members Kiang Gallery and Bobbe Gilles Gallery.
"If feels like it's still growing," says Emily Amy, the eponymous owner and director of Emily Amy Gallery, which opened just last year. "There may have been plans for forming something like [WAD] before, but no one ever really mentioned it. There are so many creative people working here, it just makes sense to establish some teamwork."
Amy's optimism is refreshing, considering the current (and somewhat redundant) doom and gloom over the economy. Her sunny attitude seems to characterize the WAD project as a whole: a group of creative entrepreneurs, representing very different senses of taste and business philosophies united for a common front. WAD is currently comprised of eight members: the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Bobbe Gillis Gallery, Emily Amy Gallery, Get This! Gallery, Kiang Gallery, SALTWORKS, Sandler Hudson Gallery and Octane Coffee Bar.
Each venue will be open Saturday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., and all art walk events are free and open to the public, except where noted below. Here are a few highlights of special events throughout the day from the various participants:
ATLANTA CONTEMPORARY ART CENTER
535 Means Street, NW
Artist Survival Skills Series Talk: The Geometry of Hope: Utopian Abstraction in Latin America 1930-1970
Curator Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro, Director of the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, New York and Caracas, explores the different ways in which abstract artists from South America expressed ideas of Utopia and social transformation.
General admission, $5; Students/Seniors, $3; Children under 12 and Members, Free
EMILY AMY GALLERY
1000 Marietta Street, Suite 208
Clayton Santiago's Self-Guided tour through his recently opened exhibition, "Summoning Light" Local artist, Clayton Santiago, explores spirituality in art with his mysterious and luminous paintings. Working in a mixed media consisting of tar, oils, gold leaf, and epoxy, Santiago creates works that capture some of Nature's most striking elements. Please join us as Santiago takes us on a self-guided tour through his new show at Emily Amy Gallery.
664 11th St NW
Highlights from the Cumanana exhibition
Brian Holcombe, Founder and Director of SALTWORKS, leads a tour of selections from the gallery's current group exhibition Cumanana, organized by artist William Cordova. Works by artists Glexis Novoa, Ernesto Oroza and Mary Valverde will be highlighted. Cumanana is a Peruvian word that alludes to concepts of ritual and tradition. The works discussed address these concepts as well as issues of transformation of space and the referencing of the past and present through imagery and material.
GET THIS! GALLERY
662 11th St. NW
Drew Conrad will discuss his recent exhibition currently on view. Artist Drew Conrad will be present to discuss his current exhibition at Get This! Gallery, "Cowboys, Lovers, Losers & Nobodies." The show explores the complex ideology of the mystified 'American male'. Please join us for a casual discussion with the artist and to view the recent exhibition.
OCTANE COFFEE BAR
1009-B Marietta Street NW
Artwork by Rob Knight, local tattoo artist/photographer. Open for coffee and discussions.
For more information, visit the Westside Arts District website or contact any of the member institutions. Several artists and curators will also be meeting at Octane Coffee Bar at 5 p.m. to answer questions and discuss arts in Atlanta.
(Photo courtesy Westside Arts District)
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