Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Art Share + Musing about future & past


Last night I hosted an "Art Share" for WCAGA members and guests. This is an event where we meet to discuss our art work, usually in someone's home or studio, but occasionally in a gallery. In fact, the last time we held this event was at Mason Murer gallery, generously hosted by Kim and Mark Karelson.

I knew it was time to do it again, but I was overwhelmed by the turnout last night ! Twenty artists showed up and ten brought work to share; media included sculpture, photography, printmaking, and painting. Seven of the twenty were new members, which was especially gratifying. The work presented was impressive and the comments were informed. I personally learned a lot.

I had planned to take photos to post, but in the excitement I forgot. Thanks to all who participated! Thanks to those who brought food - I have enough leftover for the rest of the week!


As the co-founder of this group, I am continually delighted that we continue to increase our membership and expand the scope of our programs. I'm looking forward to seeing what can happen now that we have received our 501(c)(3) non-profit tax status.

WCAGA has members who are also part of

We hope to plan cooperative ventures in the future.

My dream has been for WCAGA to have a "room of its own" -- a space for meetings, a gallery, and a small office. Now that we have our non-profit status, I am feeling an internal push to actualize that dream. Sometimes I have to stop and remind myself that my dream is not necessarily the group's collective dream. I can't make it happen without the will and determination of the others.

In the 1980s I was part of Center/Gallery, a women artists organization in Carrboro, NC. It was a formative experience for me, and perhaps it's nostalgia that goads me to recreate something similar! It was a lot of work and after about 15 years it burnt out. But I still miss it and feel proud to be part of a group that contributed greatly to the NC art scene (a few of us became nationally known). Many of our WCAGA members from NC are my friends from that era.

Center/Gallery had a large gallery, a small gallery and a small office. We were open to the public from 11 am to 5 pm Thursdays through Sunday. All members were required to gallery sit (or pay someone else). We opened a new exhibit the first Friday of each month and held Gallery talks for each. We presented a range of other programs as well, from performance art to lectures to art shares and (early on) consciousness raising groups. Members could apply to the exhibition committee for one person or small group shows; we had one annual membership show, frequent open theme exhibitions, occasional invitationals from outside the group. We had lots of active committees and we spent many hours on group business. In the process we developed lasting friendships - and a few lasting antipathies! Of course it was only a small percentage of the actual membership that did the work, but I don't regret any of it. Those who did the work reaped the benefits, from learning various skills (exhibition installation, publicity, grant writing and more) to making contacts with arts administrators, gallery owners, collectors, journals, etc..

I admit it, I'm a "groupist" (I used to say "groupie" but people took it wrong). Maybe it's because I was an only child. But I still believe in the union=strength equation.

Ann Rowles

September 19, 2007


  1. Last evening's art share was great. The new member attending with me said it was the best of all the events she's attended so far. She was impressed by the quality of the artwork (I was too!) and the in-depth discussion by each artist of their current work. I know I was interested in every presentation and the discussion that followed each one was positive and lively to say the least.

    I share your enthusiasm for a space to meet and exhibit etc. for the WCAGA in the future. What you have outlined is very exciting. Over the years I have often been in discussions with artists about collective space and I understand the difficulties involved but I have seen successes and look forward to continuing discussions.

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