Wednesday, April 2, 2014

In Ketchum, pop-up galleries spread

Some artists showing work in local businesses

Express Staff Writer

Painter Tessa Bradley shows her work at the Farmers Insurance office in Ketchum. Photo by Roland Lane

    In Ketchum, “pop-up” galleries are giving some less-well-known artists a chance to show and sell their work. They are also filling otherwise empty walls with local inspiration.
    “Typically, pop-ups are in a temporarily vacant commercial space,” said Mary Rau, who is promoting pop-up galleries in Ketchum. “But having a gallery in an established business is another way to do it.”
    From Bellevue to Sun Valley, there are hundreds of artists working in the Wood River Valley. Not all of them show their work locally. Some are more well-known outside of this area.
    Many local artists would love to be represented by a gallery, but do not create enough art of a certain kind to have their work shown.     
    Sotheby’s Realty, at 291 North Main St., began showing local artists in 2010, beginning with painter Mary Stratton and photographer Tal Roberts.

It brings a breath of fresh air and encourages
visitors to see this as an arts community.”

L’Anne Gilman
Gallery owner

    “They both sold work,” said Sotheby’s marketing director Sarah Keefer.
    “We had all these walls, so we decided that we might as well use the space,” said Keefer. “We do four gallery walks each year. Artists are able to show their work here for at least two months.”
    Those artists have included painters Tessa Bradley and Mark Kashino, and most recently, Susan Perine. Bellevue metal worker Mark Sheehan will show work at Sotheby’s this summer.
    Sotheby’s takes no sales commissions, and provides snacks and beverages during gallery walks.
    “Our [real estate] clients do enjoy seeing the art on the walls,” Keefer said.
    L’Anne Gilman, the owner of Gilman Contemporary gallery on Sun Valley Road, said she welcomes the diversity that pop-up galleries bring to town.
    “I am all for it,” she said. “It brings a breath of fresh air and encourages visitors to see this as an arts community.”
    Gilman said she and other gallery owners have to be “selective and limited” with regard to their listed artists because her staff has to spend a lot of time and resources marketing them.
    “We coach our artists on their careers. We network with other galleries,” Gilman said. “We call clients and are also using social-media platforms. The galleries can’t represent everybody.”
Rau has four pop-up artists showing work in Ketchum businesses, including her husband, painter David Rau. David Rau’s artwork is showing along with the work of photographer Tory Taglio at Gateway Funding mortgage company at 360 Sun Valley Road.
The artists use social media to network with one another and attract potential buyers before gallery walks.
    “We had 100 people coming through Gateway Funding during the last gallery walk,” said Mary Rau. “My husband sold two paintings in October.”
    “We give them the space for free and we get the enjoyment of seeing their art,” said Jeff Nelson, the manager of Gateway Funding. “If another artist shows up, we may rotate them out. It is fun from our perspective that we sometimes meet people we would not otherwise meet. It is also a benefit to our community.”
    Hailey resident Alison Higdon is an encaustic painter who has taught classes at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts. She recently showed her work in Santa Fe, N.M., as part of an international exhibition of encaustic artists.
    Last week, Higdon was looking in Seattle for an art gallery that would be interested in taking her on.
    “It’s hard being from Idaho because the state is not usually included in the category for Northwest artists,” Higdon said.
    Her work is on display at Silver Creek Realty at the corner of Sun Valley Road and Leadville Avenue in Ketchum. Steve Behal and Jeannie Catchpole are also showing at Silver Creek Realty.
    “It’s a great place to do a pop-up gallery because it is a paperless office,” Higdon said. “There are movable walls and it is set up just like an art gallery.”
    Higdon said she sold three small pieces at Silver Creek, and one large piece from the walls of Gather yoga studio before that. Thanks to some marketing on her own, she was recently invited to show her work at the Sawtooth Botanical Garden south of Ketchum.
    “I have not submitted my work to big galleries in Ketchum yet,” said Higdon. “Getting represented there would be the ultimate goal.”
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