1708 Gallery will be celebrating its 35th birthday in style with 35 Candles, a joint celebration and art auction on March 29th.
Sonya Clark is the current chair of the Craft and Material Studies Department at Virginia Commonwealth University.
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So for whatever reason, a bunch of the usual First Friday participants decided to wait an extra week to have their first art openings of the new year. So in addition to last week’s usual First Friday roundup, we’ve decided to bring you an encore rundown of all the great art you can see around the Arts District this Friday night.
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Created in 2008 on the 30th anniversary of the non-profit arts organization 1708 Gallery, InLight Richmond was born as a “public exhibition of light-based art and performances.” The Gallery hopes the project gives something special and unique back to the community, and it’s pretty easy to see it does.
In order to incorporate and celebrate all of the different great places within Richmond, the 1708 Gallery holds this exhibit at a different location in Richmond each year. This year the designated location is in Shockoe Bottom along the Riverfront Canal Walk. Shockoe, Richmond’s oldest neighborhood, is the site of many historical buildings, the Canal Walk, and the Richmond Slave Trail. It was also the first site in the world with a triple main-line railway crossing which is still visible today. It doesn’t hurt that Shockoe is also the original site of the 1708 Gallery when they were located on East Main Street.
1708 receives about 80 to 90 proposals a year for the project, artists are juried to get into the show.
“One of the objectives, in addition to picking the strongest projects, is also picking artworks that communicate with one another and communicate with the site,” said Emily Smith, the Executive Director for 1708, of the initial selection process for the project.
During the show, artists are juried again. “The juror selects the best in show. He’ll select that the night of. There’s also the ‘Best In Green Award’ where we invite someone who is familiar with green technologies or green sort of politics etc, to award a project that best addresses green issues or eco-friendly issues. There’s also a ‘People’s Choice Award’ that the audience can vote on through text messaging,” Smith explained.
This year’s juror is Ken Farmer, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Nuit Blanche New York, a company that designs and produces installations, A/V performances, exhibitions, and various large-scale events. NBNY is perhaps best known for its signature event “Bring to Light: Nuit Blanche New York”, which is a free art festival on the New York waterfront. Farmer is also the co-founder of DoTank Brooklyn, a collaborative community of urbanists and artists who hope to enhance their cities through small-scale change.
“It’s been everything from very ambitious projects that are clearly really thought out, designed and built up, there have been projects that are very poetic and really embody, sort of the particular tenure of the space. There have been projects that are the perfect blending of art work and site selection,” said Smith. “So, there’s not one kind of parameter by which the best of show is selected. It really is a variety of circumstances and contexts of which the juror is making the decision.”
“We want the audience to be aware of the real beauty of the city but also experience it in a very unique and a kind of magical way,” Smith said when explaining what 1708 Gallery wants the audience to take away from this experience.
The one-night festival will kick off with a Community Lantern Parade on Friday, November 8, 2013 from 7:00 p.m. to Midnight. InLight will take place along the Riverfront Canal Walk between the Turning Basin and 17th street. In addition to light installations, there will also be food tucks and performances.
Check 1708 Gallery’s website for more details regarding the event.
Headline photo Via Jason Peters, Meandering Dynamics, InLight 2012, photo by Terry Brown