Friday, April 27, 2007


Last night was the annual spring art event in downtown Columbia called "Artista Vista". This year it was also the "kick-off" for the eleven day Columbia Festival of the Arts. Twelve of the thirteen artists at Vista Studios participated (few of us have ever seen the thirteenth member---how she continues paying rent without using the space is beyond sensible explanation!)
The main gallery, atrium, and hallways were hung with all our work. I had four "In Box" pieces in the main gallery and also my artist book "Which Came First?" Visitors paraded through the space and I felt like I was in constant motion, greeting friends, talking about the work, explaining contemporary fiber processes, handing out invitations to the Audubon show, and being "an artist". It was great.

"In Box XXV" sold! It is always so exciting to put a red dot on a piece on opening night. I had my iron on and was able to demonstrate a little fabric gilding....heat activated metallic my studio. I was using the two, smaller In Boxes that are my commissions. Not only did I demonstrate to a few people, but I had Bryce Hevel helping....generally, I always let kids DO something...hands on, engages them in creativities, impresses/relieves the parents, creates tomorrow's art-buying public...besides, it's FUN!

I didn't take these photos. Both appeared in today's Metro Section of the State color! (I could access one from the on-line edition but could only manage to print the other, scan it, and post the resulting jpeg...hence one isn't that great of an image.) The article was quite nice (copied below). The family was great. In fact, the little boy is a "bat child". What do I mean by that? Well, he's into super heroes, wears clothing to reflect his imagination, and he finds wonder in art and magic. He was wearing a Batman outfit and performed what really looked like a tap dance for other guests in the gallery! Everyone was quite entertained and the child knew exactly what he was doing...capturing the spotlight, creating an audience, enjoying art!

Once upon a time, we had a "bat child". Mathias wore the homemade Batman tights and cape for over two years...until I could no longer alter it to fit. He wore it everywhere, to the grocery store, to the Koger Center, to Sunday School, etc. He was mesmerized by art and no one had to teach him how to perform. That desire is inborn, and Mathias is still wearing tights.

Neophytes crawl into art
First-timers check out artists, galleries at annual Artista Vista
Bryce Hevel hadn’t been at the Artista Vista gallery crawl for more than 10 minutes when he began making art.
Susan Lenz Dingman put him to work applying gold leaf to one of her fabric pieces. He also got to handle the model and just-started stone sculpture of a shark by Sharon Licata.
Vista Studios/Gallery 80808 was the first stop Shawn, Tiffany and Bryce Hevel made during their first visit to the annual gallery crawl.
“I wasn’t expecting something like this,” Tiffany Hevel said. “I thought I would be stuffy.”
“We’re definitely not stuffy,” Licata said.
“What’s cool for me is to get to see behind the scenes.” Tiffany Hevel said.
Dingman explained to Bryce some of the other cool things: “You get free food and drinks, and you get to see beautiful things.”
(At their last stop, if Art, Bryce faced a huge bowl of M&M candies and gave it this review: “Wow.”)
At Vista Studios, the trio spent much of their time in the artists’ studios and talking with them. Painter Stephen Chesley explained to Shawn Hevel how he aims for ambiguity: Is it morning or night? Is that color blue or green? Is it even a landscape?
“Every time you look at it, it’s different,” Shawn Hevel said.
Later, he dragged his wife back to look at the paintings.
“Your husband already got the art lecture,” Chesley said with a smile.
The next stop was City Art, where a batch of young artists from throughout the Southeast were showing. Shawn and Tiffany appreciated a small print on plastic of the female reproductive system.
“I like the paintings of the woman’s back and shoulders — she was this total rock girl, but it was done in a very traditional style,” Tiffany Hevel said.
Overall though, and without the artists on hand to talk to, she found the work a bit more difficult.
Across the street at the Saunders Gallery, they looked at more of Chesley’s paintings.
“I’ve got expensive tastes, because I like his stuff,” Shawn Hevel said.
At this point, Bryce decided it was time to lie down on the gallery floor. When he had to get up, he protested: “I’m stressed out.”
But he made it to if Art for the M&Ms.
The next stop was just down the street at the Colonial Center for the Disney on Ice show. When last seen, Bryce was getting into his “Incredibles” costume in the parking lot.
Artista Vista continues 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.
Reach Day at (803) 771-8518.
During the Columbia Festival of the Arts, we have invited some readers who haven’t taken advantage of local arts offerings in the past to attend an event and share their first impressions with us. Today, we hear from Shawn and Tiffany Hevel (and their son, Bryce), who attended Artista Vista with arts writer Jeffrey Day.

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