Art collectives have been a source of great inspiration for various mediums throughout history. Artists have always come together in groups, associations, cooperatives and societies, including at Powell River’s Dancing Tree Gallery.
Dancing Tree operates as a collective and a place of doing business for artists with individual visions who work in different mediums. A showcase of those artists takes place from 6-9 pm on Thursday, November 2, during a fourth anniversary celebration for the gallery and an art opening at 120-4801 Joyce Avenue in Crossroads Village Shopping Centre.
Dancing Tree artists have come together for the opportunity to do business, according to collective member and fabric artist Deborah Dumka.
“Darlene Calwell, the originator of Dancing Tree Gallery, took a big step in leasing space, moving her personal studio into that space and then inviting other artists to exhibit,” said Dumka. “From my perspective this gallery offered a great opportunity to be able to display some of my work.”
The idea of the poor, starving artist in today’s economy is seen as an impossible dream. While the notion might be romantic, it can be impractical when it comes to paying bills. Dancing Tree serves as an important business model for artists to keep the wolves from the door.
Resident artists at Dancing Tree include Calwell, Dumka, Autumn Skye Morrison, Meghan Hildebrand, Jane Dow, Bente Hanson, Kerensa Haynes, Rochelle Nehring, Robert MacCarthy, Clinton Bleaney and Stefanie Kazakoff.
Each artist negotiates a rental fee with Calwell and a schedule of hours when they are expected to be at the gallery, according to Hildebrand, who is organizing the event.
“I consider the space I rent to be my own little gallery; it is mine to curate and the income is mine alone,” said Hildebrand. “Darlene covers the majority of hours at the gallery, which offers stability and consistency. For me, it’s a network of artists who can share ideas, challenges and collaborate on events such as this one.”
Powell River’s arts scene is vibrant but not large, so many of the artists have a history with each other, according to Dumka.
“We follow each other’s work but I don't get together with artists on a regular basis except through the period of time when I'm in the gallery,” she said.
Artist collectives are a good idea, but more exhibit space is needed in Powell River, said Dumka.
“Space can be a limiting factor in what people can do and Dancing Tree Gallery has opened up the kind of space you would expect at a conventional gallery or a public gallery,” said Dumka.
For more information, search for Dancing Tree Gallery on Facebook.