For (Residency): Process to Consumption, a new work-in-progress exhibition opening this week at the McNichols Building, Lisa Gedgaudas wanted to make people uncomfortable -- in a good way. As program director for Create Denver, Gedgaudas is the brains behind this project, one that unites artists with art enthusiasts to create a relationship based on experiencing all of the phases of creating work together -- from process to consumption.
When it opens this Friday, May 9, the show will begin with a handful of artists and their empty "vessels" -- four foot-by-four foot shadow boxes that will act as temporary studios positioned on the third floor of the McNichols Building -- and encourage visitors to ask questions and get to know the artists who will be creating work in the small spaces over the next several weeks.
See also: 100 Colorado Creatives: Lisa Gedgaudas
"We're going to have these empty vessels up and that's sort of the challenge and beauty of the opening," says Gedgaudas of the blank-canvas workspaces. "It is supposed to be very challenging to the audience and to the artists; the artists have to be willing to speak about themselves pretty openly and be willing to be open to dialogue."
Participants include both established and up-and-coming artists like Ravi Zupa, Lucong, Amber Cobb, Laura Shill and more. According to Gedgaudas, the artists aren't necessarily charged with of "pitching" themselves or their art or their ideas, but they have to be willing to talk about themselves and their process, which can feel vulnerable and challenging.
"They themselves feel like sort of an open vessel for this opening, a place to really listen to feedback from the art enthusiasts," says Gedgaudas. "Ultimately for Create Denver, it is helping the audience have a better understanding of the economics of buying art and the role that our artists are playing in this city. We want to keep them here -- we want to retain the artists and we want them to thrive. This is just a small, new step in looking at how we can do that."
The idea for this process-based show came from talking to local artists and realizing how much isn't known about what happens behind the scenes. "I'm an artist at heart and I am extremely conversational with the local artists here, whether they are established or emerging," explains Gedgaudas. "What comes up often is that fundamental question of how you make a living as an artist and what does that mean and really, what does success mean? Does it mean you're working around it in an industry? Does it mean you're thriving by selling your work wholly -- which is often a difficult place to be or to get to?"
Connecting consumers and potential consumers of art with the artists prior to, during and after the process of creation is the goal of this exhibition -- and after this Friday's opening, McNichols will be open on weekends through July, so that visitors can see work as it comes along. Sam Pike of local podcast The Forum Stories will also be documenting these interactions along the way, interviewing viewers and artists and collecting the sounds of art at work. He will then compile them for several podcasts, as well as a presentation at the McNichols Building in July.
On July 10, Create Denver will host the Closing/Opening Reception, during which all of the work made throughout the process will be exhibited in its final stage. "Those works will then be up for three weeks and they are for sale," says Gedgaudas. "We're not the ones who will be brokering those deals -- the artists and their representation will be doing that."
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(Residency): Process to Consumption will open with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, May 9 at the McNichols Building. The space with the vessels will be open to the public from 10 am. until 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays and also by appointment through July. The closing/opening reception for the artists' finished work will run from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, July 10, and features a wine pairing by Simone FM Spinner, CWS. Sam Pike and The Forum Stories will present Event, Theme: Process from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, July 18. For more information, visit the Facebook event page or go to Arts and Venue's website.