"I don't want any ideas," Melanie informed me during my first day at my new job.
"Okay, that's fine, just let me know if you change your mind. What about you, Grace, how is everything go-"
"Grace doesn't want any ideas either," Melanie butted in.
Photo courtesy of The Canvas Chevelle Hoagan
Neighborhood. Neighborly...according to Webster, the words mean 'a local community with characteristics that distinguish it from the areas around it, friendly'. The term neighborhood sounds exclusive yet inviting, and I was thinking that I liked the way that felt in my ears. This has since become our inspiration for our first show. I realized that 'distinguishing characteristics' means unique personal choice, so I left Melanie alone to her own discoveries with the paint and hoped later I would be invited back.
The first artists to work in The Canvas are coming by recommendation of REACH. Yes, many of these artists are disabled. Their abilities as visual artists show through their dignified work. Together we have worked to create a neighborhood together. What does a neighborhood do? It brings people together. Recently Melanie gave me a painting with: "To Sarah" painted across three quarters of the page. She created her own distinctive work alone, and now she found herself joining in the communal aspect of our artistic neighborhood by sharing her art with others.
More importantly, this new communal space is helping us to create a new facet in our
Photo courtesy of The Canvas REACH artist Grace Coenraad.
Creating a neighborhood in a big empty room is an open-ended idea that really gives opportunities for artists to work independently and collaboratively. A group of artists have come together to transform an ordinary room into an installation experience using cardboard boxes to make 'homes'. Artists were able to decorate homes together and/or independently. Now the boxes are arranged throughout the room just as houses are in a neighborhood.
This particular show focuses on the work we have made in the past three months. The progress students, staff, and teachers have made during this time is remarkable. Together we have learned more about art through making it together, sometimes in collaboration and other times focusing on our own work. I hope that the rest of the Juneau community can/will become more involved in the arts. This hope feels viable when I work at The Canvas. Recently I could hardly persuade Melanie to leave at the end of class!
The neighborhood standing in The Canvas studio is, at first glance, unconventional. It is multi-colored, imaginative, experimental...but the beautiful part is that it also has many comfortable similarities to a neighborhood-houses, birds, sky, and a community who made it happen.
'Outside the Box'
opening at The Canvas
4pm - 6:30pm during First Friday Gallery Walk, Dec. 1st
223 Seward Street
Innovative art, refreshments, and community
Logan Trumble, Reggie Laughlin, JoEllen Osborne, Bonnie Hawkins, Annie Eichorst, Andrea Short, Karen Wiley, Melanie Adams, Grace Coenraad, Jeff Larabee, Corrine Jackson, Annie Fitzjarrald, Tami Birch, Glen Glover, Doris Katzeek, Erin Carroll, Susie Martin, Gina Frisky, Niall Johnson, Luis Hernandez, Jeff Douglas, Chevelle Hoagan, Heather Meade, Avery Skaggs, Max Valle, Mike Godkin, Todd Wright, Mark Davis, Leroy George
Art Studio Coordinator:
Colleen James, Paul Affatato, Effie Racpotnik, Cindy Johnson, Emily Barnak, Jeannette Myers
MK McNaughton, Donna Griffin, David Thomas, Nikki Franzoni, Sarah Conarro