Artista Vista is the event that imprinted The Congaree Vista as the city's arts district, and Thursday evening (April 22) all gallery doors will be thrown open to welcome patrons hungry to see what local artists have been doing at their easels.
At the gallery restaurant 300 Senate, the Artista Vista show commemorates Earth Day's 40th anniversary with a visual celebration by more than two dozen leading midlands artists whose contributions fall into multiple categories: Earth Essentials, Food Chain, Sprung from Earth, Pollinators, Earth Abstracted, and works created from Found Objects. There will be a cash bar open and the kitchen will be serving up six menu favorites. The event's official hours are five to nine p.m.
In the Feature Foyer, Michael Story leads off with heroic-sized pieces counterbalanced by smaller original oil paintings, each depicting an aspect of Earth.
The signature piece for the show was created from Found Objects by Kirkland Smith.
"I started creating Assemblages from post-consumer waste as a solution to an environmental art contest. We have become a disposable society and, through my work, I hope to emphasize (in a fun way) the message of the 3 Rs: Recycling, Reusing, and Reducing.
Smith said she has been collecting items for about a year and a half, mostly donations from very kind people (friends, neighbors, and other artists) who seem happy to have a place other than the landfill for junk they no longer need or want.
"I also regularly go through my own house, confiscating items I find on the floor in my children's rooms. The rule is, if you leave it on the floor, it is fair game for Mom's art.
One of Smith's most dedicated collectors is her mother, who searches her neighbors' recycling bins every recycling day and "brings me bags of her "treasures. I try not to go through the garbage at my children's school, even when I see some great stuff, for fear of humiliating them in front of their friends."
In creating her iconic work, Marilyn, Smith said, "I wanted to use items that would "match" her fair skin and platinum blonde hair. I found this particularly challenging as most plastic is bright yellow, red, orange, green, and blue. It took me quite a while to find the many off-whites and browns that eventually found their way into my piece. And yet, they are everyday household items so many of us are familiar with. It took me four months to complete the piece once I started and, honestly, it took that long because of my search for the right colors. I saw a photograph of Marilyn and immediately knew I had to do that portrait in trash. And I would've done it no matter how long it took me."
Other artists contributing to the celebration - Earth Day Turns 40 - via their artistic talents are: Allen Marshall, Andrew Corley, Don Harwell, Warren Brussee, Ruby Deloach, Frances Burris, Bonnie Goldberg, Dan Greshel, Howard Hunt, Nancy Kauffman, Renea Eshleman, Glenda Keyes, Karen Larrabee, Alicia Leeke, David Phillips, Franklin Miller, McKenzie Seay, Meg McLean, Michel McNinch, Faye Meetze, Stacy Morgan, Marcia Murray, Roy Paschal, Taryn Shekitka, Marianna Simina, Barbara Yongue, and Yun Kim.
The gallery restaurant 300 Senate is at Senate's End off Huger Street near One Earred Cow Glass.