Artlink reopens today after several weeks of renovations to freshen up the space and bring in more natural light.
Carpeting has been taken off the walls, which have been refinished and painted white. Two columns in the middle of the space were removed, as were six panels in front of the curved wall of windows overlooking ArtS Campus Fort Wayne.
Artlink interim executive director Lynette Scott thinks the changes will help bring people in off the street.
The unobstructed windows not only make the space feel more open and allow in natural light, they will also allow the public to see what's inside. An exhibition like the one in February by Sayaka Ganz, which featured a 16-foot whale installation and other sea creatures made from colorful reclaimed materials, would now be a dramatic sight along Main Street.
Scott credits volunteers for doing much of the work, about half of which was funded by donations. Volunteers built six movable walls designed by Ron Dick, president of the board of directors. The 10-foot-long, 9-foot-tall walls are 30 inches deep. A top section on each weighs more than 500 pounds and is removable so the walls can fit through doors into a storage area. Mounted on six casters, they can be used to change the layout of the gallery in a way that caters to the artists.
Scott says artists have been excited to hear about the changes to the space. While also being a cleaner backdrop for physical art pieces, the refinished walls and new mobile pieces also cater better to emerging art forms. For example, the smooth white walls can be used as a projection surface for digital art.
The renovation project has not changed the square-footage or footprint of the space in the Auer Center for Arts and Culture, which Artlink moved into in 2011. Scott says there are still some projects on the wish list, such as refinishing the floor and repositioning some of the lighting tracks.
Scott says many upcoming exhibitions will feature two artists whose work will allow the viewer to experience different viewpoints or mediums.
“By making these kinds of renovations, it's giving us an opportunity to show more work, and it's giving our opportunity to come in and see the work,” she says. “We're always free and open to the public, and I really just want people to come in with an open mind and experience something they might not experience otherwise.”
The exhibits opening today are by Robert McCann and Meganne Rosen. McCann's “Urban Empire” features paintings with pop culture references that blur the line between fantasy and reality. In “Transparency & Toxicity,” Rosen uses mixed media installations to explore sociopolitical and cultural context.
The opening reception is from 5 to 8 p.m. today. The exhibitions will be on display until Jan. 5. Hours are noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.
The narrow Betty G. Fishman Gallery to the left of the Artlink entrance will feature work from Ivy Tech students for a show starting Dec. 20. It is a taste of things to come.
Next year the Fishman Gallery will be the home of Artlink's Student Exhibition Program, which will feature nine shows of work from area high school and undergraduate students. One will be a member show and eight will be juried for entry by an artist panel or artist that has previously shown work at Artlink. The theme of each juried show will be a specific medium.
The program's first exhibition will featured mix media juried by Teri Marquart. It opens Jan. 16.
Scott says the program allows students to get valuable experience in the submission and jury process and gives them a notable entry for their curriculum vitae.
“It means something different on an artists' CV if it's a juried show versus they just got in because they submitted,” she says. “So we're looking at helping these students to build the resumes and the CVs to get into undergraduate programs or graduate programs that are competitive.”
Purdue University Fort Wayne, Huntington University and University of Saint Francis' School of Creative Arts provided donations for renovations for the student space.
The student shows will be timed to co-incide with the opening of other Artlink exhibtions in 2020. Starting next year, the length of time between exhibitions will be extended by several days to allow more time to repair and repaint walls. Openings will move to Thursdays to coincide with Fort Wayne Museum of Art's free general admission nights across the street.
Search begins for executive director
It was announced Monday that Lynette Scott, formerly exhibitions director, will serve as Artlink's interim executive director while a search is underway for a permanent executive director.
Scott began as exhibitions director in May. She previously served on Artlink's board and was chair of the marketing committee in 2018.
Matt McClure, who had been executive director of Artlink since 2017, has spun off from the organization with the 212 arts incubator program he started there.
A news release announcing the change says 212 outgrew its space for an in-house residency.
Artlink is returning to its roots, board of directors President Ron Dick says in the release.
– Journal Gazette