Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sally & James

Spent a great day with Sally & James yesterday in Hickory. I love their studio, and it's always great to catch up on everything they are doing. Sally & James provided a lot of the inspiration behind Pantone 278, and I am very excited about everyone getting to meet them at next week's show. The following are just a few of the images we are considering for next week's show.

-- Marc Gustafson
Gallery Pantone 278

Friday, July 17, 2009

August 6 and 7 - Sally Fanjoy and James Labrenz

Gallery Pantone 278
Thursday and Friday , August 6 and 7, 6:00-9:00pm
Charlotte Trolley Powerhouse Museum, 1507 Camden Road

I am very excited about my upcoming show on August 6 and 7 at Gallery Pantone 278. Sally Fanjoy and James Labrenz are a wife and husband duo of photographers from Hickory, North Carolina. I met Sally and James at their studio in downtown Hickory after a tip from Robert Bush of the Arts & Science Council. Sally and James are incredible people who take beautiful photos, and I am sure you will not only enjoy their work, but getting to know them.

Artist Statement

Our work reflects our need to slow down and breathe in the places we live and pass by. We pause and pay attention to the peripheral and incidental moments as intuitively and honestly as possible, allowing art to create itself. Sometimes we sit still on site and see what emerges. Other times we ‘ride around’ and record from vehicle windows. Sometimes objects from the past (a red slip) are carried along introduced with abandon. The resulting images are about the process of being present, of noticing what is going on, of giving our full attention, and then moving along. Each image represents a deep breath, a time of being still, a moment complete in itself.

Sally Fanjoy and James Labrenz

Sally Fanjoy and James Labrenz are photographic artists living and working in Hickory, North Carolina and have collaborated in life and art for 25 years.

James is an autodidact who introduced Sally to photography in 1975 before she moved to New York City where she worked for 14 years and studied at the International Center for Photography.

Their work has been shown extensively in galleries and museums from the Highland Gallery in Atlanta to the Center for the Arts at the Hill School in Pennsylvania, and most recently the Hickory Museum of Art, the Wilkes Art Gallery and the Caldwell Arts Council. They were recently awarded for the second time the Innovative Artist's Grant from the United Arts Council of Catawba County to create an installation titled "The Spirit of the Place and the Soul of Catawba County" along with poet Dr. Rand Brandes.

In 1989 the couple opened a studio in Hickory and in 2004 moved to a renovated 1930’s garage studio/gallery space in downtown which has become a place to showcase their own photography as well as that of other local artists. The Fanjoy-Labrenz studio also serves as a venue for occasional musical and theatre groups in need of space to perform.

Sally and James’ collaborative effort is one that enables both artists to pursue their own ideas and encourage one another. They both sign each piece, regardless of who creates it, with both names - fanjoy-labrenz.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Mecklenburg Times Article - June 16, 2009

The following article ran in the Mecklenburg Times on June 16, 2009. It was written by Austin Light.

CHARLOTTE — Tomorrow, the Arts & Science Council and the Charlotte Chamber will announce the results of the Creative Vitality Index. The CVI is a measure of the economic health of the creative sector in Charlotte. The creative community covers a large swath of businesses and professions, from individual artists to museums, galleries and organizations.

According to Dan Shoemaker, executive director at the Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County arts and cultural audiences and organizations “contribute $158 million to the local economy and support almost 4,800 jobs.” Shoemaker was referencing a 2007 report from the ASC.

“I think collectively, we can make a really strong case,” said Suzanne Fetscher, president of the McColl Center for Visual Art. “We have a pretty significant [economic] impact.”

Fetscher said the McColl Center’s $2 million budget pays for artist-in-residence programs, education and other cultural activities. In addition to the money the center puts into the city’s economy, it also brings in around 20,000 visitors a year, who spend money on art and at nearby restaurants.

“We are investing in the city, and [the citizens of Charlotte] are investing in us and the adjacent businesses,” Fetscher said.

With the economy struggling, many in the art community are anxiously awaiting the ASC’s report. Despite the healthy contribution the arts make to the economy, much of it is possible only because of donations and state-allocated funds that help many of the organizations operate each year. Should the funding decrease—and it already is, according to Fetscher—then the economic impact decreases as well. The results could dramatically change the way some organizations and individuals operate.

“If we took $50,000 less from the ASC, that’s one job,” said Marc Gustafson, an attorney who recently opened Gallery Pantone 278. “If we lose $150,000, that is three jobs gone; that’s huge. Because we’re in a banking town, some people see art in more financial terms, and you can’t view it that way.”

The ASC funds several dozen art organizations throughout Charlotte, and according to Shoemaker, they are “a model nationally when it comes to public support of the arts.”

Still, they can’t carry the community on their own, said artist Carmella Jarvi. “As the art community reassesses its business plan and strategies, artists need to do the same,” she said.

ASC Communications Director Krista Terrell said she did not want to discuss the report until its official release on Wednesday.

Reaching the Turning Point

“This report will be a turning point for the art community,” said Gustafson, who uses blogs and other social networking tools to publicize his gallery’s artists and events. “I think the art world is going to have to learn to do things differently.”

Among those evaluating a different approach to business is the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. The symphony, which used to receive the largest operating grant from ASC — $1,947,424 in fiscal year 2009 — has seen its funds reduced from the ASC by 54 percent.

“[The ASC] evaluated our financial status and they felt like we needed to rethink our business model,” said Director of Public Relations Meg Whalen. “We’ve already started that process.” Whalen said they have cut administrative and artistic costs and asked staff to go on furlough. According to Whalen, the symphony has an economic impact of about $15 million per year, and it is the region’s largest employer of professional, full-time artists, many of whom contribute to the economy through side jobs like teaching or performing at smaller venues.

Whalen said the symphony also is looking at new ways to raise funds from the public, like asking each adult attending the free Pops at the Park summer concerts to donate $5. The effort raised $28,000 on a recent Sunday, almost four times the usual collection.

“This is a tremendous affirmation that the community supports us,” Whalen said.

Jarvi said she believes many people in the community do recognize the importance of the arts. “From kids having art classes in schools, to the people with very exclusive seating in the Blumenthal, people see that the arts contribute to the quality of life in Charlotte.”

Though the support is apparent — more than 8,000 people attended the first summer pops concert—will it continue when casual supporters are asked to reach into their pockets?

“We’re at one of those defining moments, where we as a community need to make an important decision,”Fetscher said. “We can be bold — step up and fund the arts and help it excel — or we can be predictable and keep things the way they are.”

Fetscher hinted at greater support for the arts, more than just ASC or nonprofits and charities, but “real support on a broader spectrum.”

“The ASC is a real asset and they’ve done a real service to the artists and to the community as a whole,” Jarvi said. “But they can’t be everything to everybody.”

According to Fetscher, in the early 1990s, the city of Denver, Colo., initiated a dedicated funding source (a sales tax of one penny per $10 spent in the six-county Denver area) to support arts and cultural institutions. As a result, Denver’s art community “has just soared,” Fetscher said.

While it sounds like a great idea to support the arts and increase their economic impact, advocating for taxpayer money is never easy, Whalen said.

“No one is going to the city and questioning how they spent $40,000 on landscaping, or a new dump truck, but when it goes to the arts, there seems to be public outcry and angst,” Gustafson said.

“The city was very aggressive about finding a dedicated funding source to make the NASCAR museum happen,” Fetscher said.

“What does the cultural sector need, and how much are we willing to do to make sure it doesn’t just survive but thrive?”

Gustafson suggested working with places like the NASCAR Hall of Fame and other sports venues instead of competing against them for entertainment dollars.

“[The art community] should be collaborating with these people. You don’t go the Mint Museum or the Bobcats arena, you go to both,”Gustafson said. “It has always been a choice in the past.”

Supporting Creativity

That’s not to say the city doesn’t do a good job of supporting the arts now. Gustafson said the ASC has “done a great job supporting the arts,” and he is excited about the directions in which new president Scott Provancher could take the organization. Provancher, who comes to
Charlotte from the Fine Arts Fund in Cincinnati, will assume his responsibilities July 13.

“The city does well with visibility, education, letting people know what is out there, and giving a variety of options,” Jarvi said. “I look at business in this community as a catalyst for why arts are so significant. Uptown used to be the place you went for work and now it’s the place you go for social things and art.”

Shoemaker agreed that in comparison to some other cities, Charlotte’s support of the arts is healthy. “In cities such as Seattle, where the bulk of arts support was tied to Boeing or Microsoft, that city’s arts community suffered when the economic downturn affected those two major philanthropic foundations.”

While the Queen City’s art community has had to tighten its belt, the fact that it is in as good a shape as it is a testament to existing support, Fetscher said.

“I think we’ll be relatively pleased with the way that we score,” Fetscher said about the ASC’s report. “But I think that it will probably reaffirm that we still have a long way to go.”