May 31, 2017

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In this issue:

Artists mourn as St. Petersburg's Art Supply Store prepares to shutter in June
How to display kids art — without going overboard
National Museum of Wildlife Art celebrates 30 years
Humanity Books re-opens its doors after flood damage
40 Percent of New York Artists Can’t Afford Their Art Supplies
Enormous Chicken Painting Comes Home to Roost
Art supply retailer to take space on east side
The First New Blue Pigment in Over 200 Years Will Become a Crayon

 

 

 

 

Artists mourn as St. Petersburg's Art Supply Store prepares to shutter in June

ST. PETERSBURG, FL: Pat Jennings, whose art supplies business helped breathe life into the city's now iconic street murals, says he's closing shop for good after nearly 15 years in St. Petersburg.

The Art Supply Store at 2429 Central Ave. permanently discounted all its merchandise by 50 to 70 percent on Tuesday, with plans to shutter in June.

Surrounded by blank canvases and tidy rows of pencils, tubes and spray cans containing every conceivable color, plus a vibrant collection of paintings gifted to him by some of the area's best-known artists, Jennings, 65, said the decision was made quickly.

"There are two reasons," he said, between answering a deluge of phone calls coming in after he'd shared the news on Facebook. "Declining sales due to the Internet, and increased rents due to the overwhelming success of this community."

He motioned toward the door, and the developing Grand Central District beyond it.

"It's a consequence of growth and popularity, coupled with greed," he said of rising rents in the neighborhood. "I get it. I'm a businessman."

The closing is a "heavy hit" for the art community, said Leon Bedore, artist and director of the annual Shine Mural Festival, who is better known as Tes One.

Jennings' store stocked aerosol paint in unique colors, and sold cans with the specialized nozzles artists prefer, back when those items were a rarity in Tampa Bay.

"Pat supported the street art scene here since before there was a street art scene here," Bedore said. "He was the first to bring in those type of paints, and make them available locally. He was a sponsor of Shine, and really, a lot of the murals in St. Petersburg were made possible through him."

Years before Shine, Jennings helped organize Urban Elements, a graffiti art event that attracted noted artists from New York and San Francisco to paint walls in Grand Central. The twist, at the time, was that the artists had permission.

Later he played a role in inviting local artists to paint some of the first large-scale graffiti pieces in the now-heavily-painted Warehouse Arts District.

"He was instrumental in getting a graffiti and street art vibe going in the area," said Johnny Vitale of St. Petersburg-based mural and sign company Vitale Bros. "A lot of art stores back then were just selling canvases to old ladies. Not him. ... That store is like our home base. That's where we go in the morning to meet with our coffee before we go paint."

For years, the business had been growing along with St. Petersburg's reputation as an art hub. The store moved 1,500 cans of paint during the most recent Shine festival, Jennings said.

"I've been shopping there since my kids were little, and they're teenagers now," said artist Jennifer Kosharek. "And every time I'm in there I run into another artist I know."

But sales began to drop in late 2016. Jennings hoped it was just a side effect of road work in the neighborhood, but things didn't improve this year.

"I'm not mad at people for shopping online. I get it," he said. "The ironic thing is that this is such a thriving art city, but even here, this store has to close."

From their home in Manhattan, where he worked as a corporate recruiter, Jennings and his then-wife "watched 9/11 happen" and decided it was time to go.

They settled in St. Petersburg in 2002 and opened a store at 689 Central Ave (now Urban Creamery). Jennings later moved west to 1144 Central Ave., then moved west again to the current location seven years ago.

He plans to remain in St. Petersburg and throw himself full time into his work as a competitive cycling coach.

"This is paradise," he said, noting that he'd ridden more than 40 miles that morning.

The store is set to close on June 30. Tampa Bay Times

 

How to display kids art — without going overboard

For years, the artwork created by my daughter and son, now ages 4 and 6, has piled up in boxes in the basement. Recently, though, I realized their projects are too precious and intriguing to be tucked away. But figuring out the best way to display the art was a challenge for me (and many fellow parents) so I sought the advice of a few designers for help.

Designer: Elizabeth Bear

“I’ve always loved the Pablo Picasso quote, ‘Every child is an artist,” says Bear.

Children’s art is magical because they don’t have a trained eye telling them how an object is “supposed” to look. On narrow shelves in her office, she has nearly 20 framed pieces of children’s art made by members of her family — including one created by her father as a kid. She cut out each piece of art and, rather than putting mats over the art, which she felt might obscure them, she glued them in front of the mats. Behind the mats, Bear pasted whimsical contact paper to unify the group.

“Some of the art is centered in the frames, some are off-set, some are in the corners of the mat,” she says. In order for the pieces to have a symmetrical look, Bear opted to use white frames of the same size.

Designer: Kristine Irving

“The children who live here love to make and create,” says Irving, design principal for Koo de Kir Architectural Interiors. “Their parents wanted the ability to show off and rotate the art frequently.”

In this Boston home, the kids’ playroom is part art gallery. Irving had a ledge installed around the perimeter of the room where art is displayed in simple IKEA frames of various sizes. Irving mounted the art with scotch tape to the backside of the mats that came with the frames.

“The work can be swapped out very easily,” says Irving. “It’s not too perfect-looking.” And that’s the message you want the kids to hear: art should be about having fun and letting their creativity flow freely. Irving also adds that parents should consider installing their children’s artwork in other parts of the home. “It can be a great way to add color and texture to a room for no cost at all.” www.koodekir.com

Designer: Alys Stephens Protzman

Protzman designed this arts-and-crafts area for a home on Cape Cod. A room that connects the house with the garage, this space had been used as a place to store tools.

“We turned it into a great spot for the kids in the family to work on art projects,” says Protzman.

Plywood floors are painted gray, unpainted shiplap adorns the walls, and furniture is a mish mash of flea-market finds. There’s plenty of space for kids to display their creations. One wall is sheathed with cork.

“The kids can put their own artwork up easily with push pins,” says Protzman.

Inexpensive bins and boxes are stashed on a shelf by the board. Full of art supplies, they also offer space to store artwork when a piece is rotated off to make way for a new creation.

“Kids’ artwork is organic, colorful, and bright. It has such a great affect,” says Protzman. “You just can’t help but smile when you go into the room and see it on display.” www.alysdesign.com The Boston Globe

 

National Museum of Wildlife Art celebrates 30 years

JACKSON, WY: A museum in Wyoming has drawn visitors, artists and art enthusiasts from around the world to see its collection of wildlife art for three decades.

The National Museum of Wildlife Art celebrates its 30th anniversary Tuesday with a reception and showcase of its permanent collection. Art by Andy Warhol and Georgia O’Keeffe and Robert Bateman’s “Chief” are some of the famous works housed at the museum. Special shows also will continue through the year.

The museum’s new show, “Andy Warhol: Endangered Species,” opens during the celebration, along with “Exploring Wildlife Art – National Museum of Wildlife Art Gallery Reinstallation.” The event includes cake, music, drinks, giveaways, new membership discounts, music by The Chanman Band and food from the new museum restaurant, Palate. The party also launches the 30th anniversary issue of Call of the Wild magazine with signings by the writers and editor.

Current shows
Warhol was best known for leading the pop art movement, but he also had a lifelong interest in animals and nature conservation.

The animals in his “Endangered Wildlife” portfolio have the heightened color and graphic quality associated with his images of famous people including Liz Taylor, Marilyn Monroe and others, curator of art and research Adam Harris said.

“He’s kind of giving these endangered species, these animals that need our attention, the Warhol treatment,” Harris said. “I like to say he’s celebritized the animals.”

The Warhol art is part of the museum’s permanent collection, but the works aren’t displayed often because constant light would damage them, Harris said.

The permanent collection gallery reinstallation also to be unveiled during the celebration features a new look at old favorites and new acquisitions along with revamped labels with maps, timelines and new stories about humanity’s relationship with nature, museum curators said. Other well-known artists in the collection include Charles Russell, Edward Hicks and Albert Bierstadt.

The reinstallation spotlights the history of the region, including borrowed works by Thomas Moran, whose paintings helped persuade Congress to create the first national park: Yellowstone.

“With how we’ve reinstalled the galleries, we’re bringing to life just how much great art has been created in Wyoming, which I don’t think people necessarily realize,” Harris said.

Highlights also include Native American birdstones circa 2500 B.C. as well as paintings by Carl Rungius, the premier painter of North American wildlife, Harris said.

“Anybody doing wildlife today always credits him as being a huge influence, so we get artists and admirers coming to the museum to see his work all the time,” Harris said.

This season will also bring shows by National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore and hummingbird paintings by John Gould dating back to 1861.

Growing wild
The National Museum of Wildlife Art began with a private collection of Joffa and Bill Kerr on May 16, 1987. It’s grown to house more than 5,000 works from early American tribes to contemporary masters, according to the museum.

The museum’s home since 1994 has been a rock-facade structure built into a hillside overlooking the National Elk Refuge with an outdoor sculpture garden.

In 2008, the museum was designated the “National Museum of Wildlife Art of the United States” by Congress. It is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.

Visitors now can find art depicting animals that live just outside the museum’s doors to around the world, said Jane Lavino, the museum’s curator of education and exhibits. They’ll see ancient to contemporary conceptual art and works in all kinds of media, including digital art, a glass squid and even a mechanical flipbook depicting hummingbirds, she said.

The museum also has expanded the ways visitors can experience and interact with the art, including audio tours on phone apps, videos that coincide with exhibits, soundscapes and a response kiosk where visitors can write their thoughts. Educational programs also have grown, with opportunities for children and adults to learn from experts and create art, Lavino said.

“One thing I have seen over the years — with everybody working so hard with displaying the work in the best way possible, and to help visitors relate to it and understand it in the best way possible — we’ve done a lot, but there’s always so much more that can be done,” Lavino said. “That’s what keeps it exciting for me. Museums are in a fabulous position to do so much with making people aware of what’s going on in the world around them and engage in conversations.” Casper Star Tribune

 

Humanity Books re-opens its doors after flood damage

HASTINGS, NEW ZEALAND: It took eight weeks of repairs and maintenance following store flooding but yesterday Humanity Books and Fine Arts Supplies was able to reopen its doors to the public.

On March 22 a mains water supply outside the front of the shop burst with a pressure so intense that the water shot up through the second floor window, flooding an upstairs classroom before seeping down into the art store below.

One third of the art supplies stocked at the store, with an estimated value of $100,000, was ruined and the store was closed to repair the damage.

However, yesterday business owner Michael Lawn was pleased to say the art store was back to business as usual, and reflected on the long process he had followed to get the store up and running again.

"There's still a bit of a way to go to return to normality, lots of details and things. But I guess that's the big thing though isn't it, having the doors open."


Mr Lawn said they had to dump ruined stock, rip up drenched carpet and dry out the store before rebuilding could begin.

"We then repainted the walls which were water stained, replaced and repainted the front half of the ceiling and had the draw units fixed which were left sagging as they're not designed to hold water," he said.

Covered by insurance, up to $60,000 was spent fixing the store while a further $100,000 was spent replacing the lost stock, he said.

Humanity Books saleswoman Colleen Archibald said despite only deciding they would reopen late last week the news had already travelled quickly through word of mouth.

"Business has been very steady. Normally we might have someone in every half hour but today it's been every 10 minutes because the customers are starting to discover we're open again."

Mr Lawn said customers would be pleased they had reopened as the store was starting to field desperate calls from customers wanting art supplies during the end of the repairing process.

Now focused on moving on, Mr Lawn chuckled as he said at least the next 10 years' worth of maintenance has been done in three months. Hawke's Bay Today

 

40 Percent of New York Artists Can’t Afford Their Art Supplies
That eye-popping fact, and more, comes from the just-released report "What We Learned."

NEW YORK, NY: As New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) continues to develop Create NYC, the city’s first comprehensive plan for overseeing the city’s arts and culture resources, due to City Council come the end of June, it has released the findings of its recently concluded public engagement phase. As you might expect, respondents have painted a grim picture of New York’s affordability for artists.

Here’s a fact for you: A full 40 percent of responding arts and culture workers said they were unable to afford art supplies and tools. An affordable home and work space is a priority of 90 percent of arts and culture workers—unsurprising given the long waiting lists for affordable artist housing.

The report, titled “What We Heard,” claims to be based on feedback from 188,000 New Yorkers, gathered between September 2016 and April 2017, both in person and online. There were workshops, focus groups, interviews, and surveys.

Create NYC found that “New Yorkers value arts and culture—and they want more of it,” according to the report. Among its key findings were that city residents want cultural resources spread more evenly across the city, including to less prosperous neighborhoods, and that NYC residents want the staff of cultural institutions to reflect the diversity of the city—an established goal of DCA commissioner Tom Finkelpearl.

A full 75 percent of respondents said that they wanted to attend more arts and culture activities, and half said that financial constraints kept them from participating in the arts as much as they would like. The city’s highest income earners participate 20 percent more in cultural activities than those at the bottom of the economic ladder.

“Many low-income community members don’t feel empowered to engage in the variety of arts and culture opportunities in NYC,” said one public housing resident from Queens, quoted in the report. “More needs to be done to bring the arts to low-income communities, and in bringing low-income community members to prestigious arts and culture institutions.”

As one might expect, concerns varied across boroughs. According to the report’s tally, while Manhattanites were most worried about smaller organizations getting overshadowed by cultural giants, Brooklynites were concerned about gentrification and displacement. In the Bronx, the top priority was maintaining the borough’s unique culture and rich heritage. Queens was thinking about diversity, and Staten Island wanted improved transportation to increase access to the arts.

In response to all of these issues, Create NYC has already come up with proposals addressing the concerns of its citizens, with a particular focus on affordability and accessibility.

If you weren’t able to submit your feedback during the public engagement phase, DCA is still open to your input—the current proposals can be reviewed and rated through May 31, allowing the general public to “identify what is most important to you and help make sure your priorities are reflected.” Finkelpearl will also be holding “CreateNYC Office Hours: What We Heard” events in all five boroughs.

“Beyond the proposals contained in What We Heard, the process of coming together, engaging in dialogue, and listening to New Yorkers from all walks of life has been transformative,” said Finkelpearl in a statement. “The publication of CreateNYC will mark the beginning, not the end, of this deeper conversation.” artnetnews

Enormous Chicken Painting Comes Home to Roost
After years overseas, Doug Argue’s iconic portrait is back

MINNEAPOLIS, MN: Why did the chicken painting cross the Atlantic? That’s a question lovers of an enormous painting of, well, chickens asked when an iconic painting traveled from Minneapolis to Armenia. At the time, visitors of the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota mourned the departure of their fowl friend. But now, there’s good news for henpecked art lovers, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Alicia Eler: The chicken painting is back home once more.

The gigantic, untitled 1994 painting depicts a factory farm filled with cages and chickens in Minnesota-born Doug Argue’s signature larger-than-life style. It hung on the Minneapolis-based museum’s walls for almost two decades, a loan from art collector Gerard Cafesjian. But in 2012, Cafesjian decided to move the painting to his lavish namesake museum in Armenia, Mary Abbe reported for the Star Tribune at the time.

The Cafesjian Center for the Arts in Armenia, which the New York Times’ Michael Kimmelman called “a mad work of architectural megalomania and historical recovery” and “one of the strangest but most memorable museum buildings to open in ages,” was a fitting home for the whimsical painting known simply as “the chicken painting” in Minnesota. But the painting’s transfer was a loss for locals who loved it. As Abbe notes, patrons even came to bid it goodbye before it made its transatlantic trip.

In 2013, Cafesjian, who was known throughout the Twin Cities area for his efforts to save local icons like the Minnesota State Fair merry-go-round, died. Then, his daughter decided she wanted the portrait to return to Minnesota instead of staying at the Armenian museum. And so its return was celebrated this weekend.

“The sheer size of this painting (12 by 18 feet, or 3.65 by 5.48 meters) makes it a challenge to the senses,” wrote Annie Potts in a book about chickens. In an oral history, Argue called his painting “an imaginary chicken farm where the walls just become cages and they go to infinity.” He got the idea from a Kafka short story in which a dog contemplates where the world gets its food.

Is the ginormous painting Kafkaesque or just plain catchy? Either way, it’s so charming it rated its own welcome-back party. “Ever wonder what 198 square feet of chickens look like?” clucks the museum in a press release. If the answer is yes, don’t worry—it won’t take your entire nest egg to catch a glimpse of a wall filled with seemingly endless coops and chickens. Admission at the Weisman is free, but the chicken painting might just be worth its weight in gold. Smithsonian

 

Art supply retailer to take space on east side
Jerry’s Artarama will relocate from Antioch to building owned by developer Adam Leibowitz

NASHVILLE, TN: A North Carolina-based retail chain that provides art supplies will establish a presence in East Nashville this fall.

Jerry’s Artarama will take about 7,500 square feet of space in a building located at 711 Main St. The space (see here courtesy of Google Maps) was last home to a health care back office and a check-cashing business.

Nashville-based real estate investor and developer Adam Leibowitz owns the property with business partner Afshin Yazdain.

Leibowitz, who also owns Main Street-based storage and retail building East Side Station, and is prepping to undertake boutique hotel project Fieldhouse Jones with Chicago-based business partners Robby Baum and Mike Downing.

“We’re excited about having Jerry’s coming to East Nashville,” Leibowitz said. “It will fill a void by supplying art supplies [to a creative east side population], and we look forward to having them there for the long term.”

For the past approximately 10 years, the local Jerry’s Artarama has operated from about 12,000 square feet at The Shoppes at Hickory Hollow, according to store manager Amanda Micheletto-Blouin.

Nashville-based Powell Construction Studio is handling the build-out for Jerry’s, with a recently issued permit valued at $400,000.

Micheletto-Blouin said she expects to have five employees at the east side location.

“East Nashville has become very bohemian so it fits our market,” she said. “And the building is located right off the interstate for easy access.”

Terms of the lease are not being disclosed.

Founded in 1968 by Jerry Goldstein in Long Island, New York, Jerry’s Artarama operates its corporate headquarters in Raleigh. The company has 15 corporate-operated stores and five franchisee-operated stores, primarily in states located on the Eastern Seaboard.

The company offers about 70,000 art materials from various art manufacturers, as well as its own product lines (both via online and the retail stores). It also arranges instructional workshops, releases free online video art lessons, provides customs framing and arranges special art related events. Nashville Post

 

The First New Blue Pigment in Over 200 Years Will Become a Crayon
Discovered accidentally in a lab in Oregon in 2009, YInMn blue is now headed for widespread use, thanks to Crayola.

Soon to slide into crayon boxes everywhere: a newcomer that will make widely accessible the first blue pigment created in over 200 years. Known as “YInMn blue,” the pigment was the surprise result of a 2009 chemistry lab experiment at Oregon State University (OSU), and it’s now set to be put into real-world use, thanks to Crayola.

Graduate student Andrew Smith made the discovery while working with professor Mas Subramanian to test new materials for potential use in electronics. A mix of manganese oxide, yttrium, and indium, heated to nearly 2,000˚ F, produced the vivid, non-toxic blue sample. In 2015, OSU reached an exclusive licensing agreement for the pigment with the Shepherd Color Company, which then partnered with Crayola to launch the first commercial YInMn blue product. Crayola announced the production of the crayon last month at “The Colorful World of Pigments,” a panel on the new blue and color theory.

“Most pigments are discovered by chance,” Subramanian said in a statement. “The reason is because the origin of the color of a material depends not only on the chemical composition, but also on the intricate arrangement of atoms in the crystal structure. So someone has to make the material first, then study its crystal structure thoroughly to explain the color.”

Blue was actually the first man-made pigment, as Hyperallergic’s Allison Meier has explained: Egyptian blue, which ancient hands created by mixing and heating quartz sand, copper, an alkali, and lime. Since then, scientists over the years have discovered Cerulean blue, Prussian blue, and Cobalt blue, which, according to NPR, was the last synthesized blue to be commercialized. YInMn is especially marketable because its compounds are highly stable, resistant to oil and water, which makes it versatile for many products, from crayons to paint.

“What is amazing is that through much of human history, civilizations around the world have sought inorganic compounds that could be used to paint things blue but often had limited success,” Subramanian said. “Most had environmental and/or durability issues. The YInMn blue pigment is very stable/durable. There is no change in the color when exposed to high temperatures, water, and mildly acidic and alkali conditions.”

When it lands later this year, the YInMn blue crayon will take the place of Crayola’s Dandelion, a yellow crayon that the company is retiring after 27 years — and that, I kid you not, just finished a retirement tour. Since YInMn blue’s name, as it stands, would look a little odd on a crayon, Crayola is inviting the public to help rebrand it through a contest that ends on June 2. But letting people come up with names is not always the best idea (hello Boaty McBoatface) — so if that plan doesn’t work out, perhaps the company could consider using neural networks to generate some truly unique options.

In the meantime, we’re keeping our fingers crossed that Vantablack, too, will enter the crayon market one day. Hyperallergic