Expectations have grown for the winter Jamestown Community College ArtParty, presented by the Weeks Gallery, following a successful showing in the fall.
That ArtParty, called "Homegrown Excellence," featured a JCC art faculty show and a 10,000 Maniacs performance, selling out in three days. The college will once again feature a mix of art, music and socialization Saturday, Feb. 4, during the winter ArtParty for "Material/Ethereal Constructs," which features works by Judith Olson Gregory and Dianne Baker. The Robert Lee Scharmann Theatre will host performances by Celtic rock band Scythian and longtime local musician Bill Ward on that night.
"Weeks gala events are gaining regional notoriety, and attendance is on the rise," said James D. Colby, director of exhibitions and galleries.
Judith Olson Gregory’s “Sunya,” center, and “Tea Shirt Series,” right, and Dianne Baker’s “H.H.,” left, are among the works featured in the Weeks Gallery’s “Material/Ethereal Constructions: Judith Olson Gregory and Dianne Baker” exhibition, which will open during the Feb. 4 ArtParty.
Colby expects between 300 and 400 people to attend the winter ArtParty. In addition to the quality of artwork and musicians at the parties, Colby believes the relaxed hometown atmosphere draws in the regional community.
"New visitors do not have to worry; the scene is not stuffy, boring or pretentious. It's fun, entertaining, social and laidback," he said. "Some enthusiasts attend just for the concert; then they attend the ArtParty and pay little attention to the exhibition. That's OK. On the other hand, many who avoid the gallery experience change their minds after looking inside and are lured by visual experience. This exhibition is sure to entice many."
The activities will begin at 6:15 p.m. with a Weeks Gallery viewing. A brief artist talk will follow, starting at 6:30.
Close-ups of William Disbro's relief sculpture, "Priority Facade," will then be projected on the Scharmann Theatre stage prior to the Scythian concert. The presentation will celebrate the unveiling of the new "Priority Facade" text panel located in the Weeks-Scharmann stairwell.
Scythian, and internationally touring band, will return after its winter 2011 ArtParty performance, taking the Scharmann stage at 7. The band recently performed on Larry Groce's NPR Mountain Stage at West Virginia University and at the Mad, Mad Masquerade Ball at the Stout in New York City on New Year's Eve. Scythian uses a wide range of instruments, including fiddles, guitars and accordions. Colby recommends the band for fans of Flogging Molly, Gaelic Storm and Urban Trad.
"They did so well last year," he said. "There were students, faculty and community members who said, 'You've got to bring these guys back.' When I say they're back by popular demand, I really mean it."
Scythian will play a "teaser" concert in the JCC Student Union on Wednesday, Feb. 1, in hopes of bringing in more students for the Feb. 4 concert. The band will also work with JCC Coordinator of Music Mike Kelly's students and Infinity Visual and Performing Arts Inc. throughout its stay in the Jamestown area.
Following the Scythian show, the ArtParty reception will begin at approximately 8:15, or immediately following the Scythian concert, in the Scharmann lobby and Weeks Reception Hall. The reception will feature music by Ward, hors d'oeuvres, and wine and beer tasting.
Ward, a singer-songwriter, has appeared throughout the country in both Christian and secular venues. A Chautauqua County Music Hall of Fame inductee, Ward has more than four decades of experience in the music business, performing, recording and leading worship throughout the Northeast.
General admission tickets for the ArtParty are $15 for the general public, $10 for area students and senior citizens, $8 for JCC Faculty Student Association members, and $5 for children 12 and under. Colby believes the Weeks Gallery parties offer the community a wide range of entertainment for quite a bargain.
"Where else can community members visit one venue on one night to view art, socialize in a lively cafe atmosphere and hear performances by the best of local, regional and national musicians for less than a dinner out?" he asked.
Tickets for the ArtParty event are available through JCC's FSA bookstore box office or at the door. Call 338-1187 to place an order.
The ArtParty will be made possible by JCC, JCC Faculty Student Association, JCC Foundation, JCC/FSA College Program Committee, Katharine Jackson Carnahan Endowment for the Humanities, Sarita Hopkins Weeks Memorial Concert Fund, Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, Arthur R. Gren Company and Southern Tier Brewing Company.
"We have this because of many organizations and foundations that contribute," Colby said. "We'd never be able to do this otherwise."
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Judith Olson Gregory, a Jamestown native and summer resident at Chautauqua Institution, received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Alfred University. She has exhibited widely in the region and across the nation, taught numerous workshops, received many awards and served on several art boards in the Rochester area and at Chautauqua.
Gregory's work caught Colby's eye last spring at a show.
"I was intrigued by her manipulation of materials in a fashion that heightens visual and tactile experiences. The lines and edges are sharp or soft; the surfaces are rough and smooth," Colby said. "Gregory's vestments offer reflections on joy and sorrow, good and evil, compliance and defiance, pure and tainted."
Dianne Baker received a Bachelor of Arts in history from Syracuse University and a Master of Science in social studies from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She also completed studies as part of Syracuse University's Florence, Italy program and continued graduate studies in mixed media and fiber arts in Buffalo. She has exhibited nationally and internationally and has received numerous awards and commissions.
"My art engages the viewer in looking, lingering and responding. I love exploring change and growth: things that look one way and turn into something else," she said. "By manipulating texture, color, line and shape, I find the final assembly contains a dialogue, which goes beyond its origin. I am looking beyond the outer form for the suggestion of an inner meaning to capture the magic in the 'ordinary.'"
Baker invited Colby to her Buffalo home to select works. As he viewed her furnishings, studio and artwork, he discovered her vision. The furniture, carpets and decorations reflected the worn surfaces, colors and nuances in her artwork.
"She breathes refined sensibilities into her home to share an ambiance that is reverent, balanced, proportionate and harmonious," Colby said, "and she fashions an ideal place to dream, make art, find comfort and enjoy everyday life."
Gregory and Baker construct with conventional and quirky materials; their visions reflect art-process meditations that engage the body, mind and spirit. Baker used an ironing board as a panel for a collage, and Gregory lined a vestment with tea bags, for examples.
"By fabricating, imagining and manifesting, they construct reflections of Eastern and Western ideals," Colby said, adding Baker turns "junk" into refined abstractions. "Gregory and Baker construct more than art works; they develop mindsets and relationships, discover and engage nature, and design living and working environments. This is really different work than we'd normally see. They're truly professional artists who put their lives into their careers. They're not artists who have other jobs and do art on the side."
Visit juditholsongregory.com or dbakerartist.com for more information on the Weeks Gallery artists.
The exhibition continues from Feb. 6 through March 22. Gallery hours are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday from 11 to 7; and Friday from 11 to 3. The Weeks Gallery will be closed on college holidays. Visit weeksgallery.sunyjcc.edu for more information.