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Arts Alive pt. 1

Entrance to First Street Gallery
Entrance to First Street Gallery

Arts Alive is a celebration of art that happens on the first Saturday of every month in Eureka California. It is an event that reminds us of the benefits of living in a small community with accessible art for most of our local community.

Sunset on the way to Arts Alive
Stephen Mercier

This past Saturday on February the 6th Arts Alive was again brimming with art, artists and patrons of the arts all gathered to celebrate the community we live in. Many galleries were featuring local artists as well as the occasional out-of-towner bringing in fresh work to a tiny town. The first half of the evening was filled with ups and downs. With trips to Los Bagels and First Street Gallery as well as checking out some street performances by local artists, there was much to be observed.

Unfortunately with a monthly art show comes pressure to fill every available gallery space, wall, storefront, street corner, alley, sidewalk, courtyard, living room, hallway, floor, ceiling and bathroom with as much art as possible. This often creates an overwhelming experience where you never know where one show starts and the other ends. It is nice to see amateurs express their artistic intents but without a certain level of experience, their art fades into a see of mundane, over thought expressions that attempt to speak to a crowd that is not the one in attendance.

This was very prevalent in gallery spaces such as Humboldt State’s First Street Gallery. In the front room they featured a faculty exchange with CSU Stanislaus. Most of the works were ill places, over crowded and gave the viewer the feeling of keep going. This was unsettling as it is one of the premier spaces during arts alive. The art was easily discernable as work of professors of art. Most were over thought and only existed as a contextual reference to art history and lacked meaning to the average viewer. This is a huge downfall in contemporary art culture outside of the pop-art world as most are to focused on referencing art history as a means to reach the viewer while there true intent is lost in this quest to make meaning from history.

Thankfully this wasn’t the case all over Eureka. Check out Part 2 of the Arts Alive excursion to see how an overcrowded art event can go from bad to good by opening another door.


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