The Paseo Arts District is getting into the New Year with an “if you've got it, flaunt it” attitude.
During the first of its popular monthly Gallery Walks of 2012, the Paseo Arts Association is showcasing the myriad galleries, restaurants and other businesses in the historic neighborhood.
The exhibit “Paseo Showcase,” featuring one or more artworks from each of the district's 20 galleries, will open Friday night in the association's Paseo Art Space, 3022
“We're always promoting individual artists, but we rarely have Paseo artists in here because most of them have their own galleries,” said Jo Wise, the association's executive
“It's just a nice way for people to come and see everything at a glance and get an idea of what's here.”
The opening reception for the “Paseo Showcase” is set from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday during the Paseo's First Friday Gallery Walk. Eateries in the district will provide food for the event, and information about other businesses and organizations in the neighborhood will be on display along with art.
As usual, most Paseo galleries will stay open late, show new artwork and serve up refreshments during the Gallery Walk, which will continue from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday.
20 galleries, 70 artists
But the “Paseo Showcase” will provide another way for visitors to see what the Paseo has to offer. The two-block-long district includes 20 galleries with more than 70 artists, three restaurants, a gift store, clothing boutiques and more.
The showcase should be particularly beneficial for Paseo artists like Nathan White, who opened his custom metal fabricating studio at NW 30 and Walker in July. The master welder is new to the district, and his Aces Fabrication & Design is situated about half a block off Paseo Drive, the neighborhood's main street.
“It's gonna open up an opportunity for everyone to come down and see in one spot what everybody does. Then, you can decide to go to the different spaces because it's a little hard to make 'em all during the Friday art walk,” White said.
“I'm off the beaten path a little bit, too, so it kind of gives me a little more exposure down here in the heart of it.”
With all the galleries participating, the showcase will include an array of sculptures, paintings, photographs, ceramics, jewelry and fabric art.
“It's going to be a nice variety,” Wise said. “It should cover the gamut ... of the art world.”
Glenn Fillmore, owner/director of the Visions in the Paseo, is another relative newcomer to the district looking forward to the showcase. Dedicated solely to photography, his gallery opened in November 2010.
Even frequent visitors to the Paseo can have trouble keeping up with the new artists in the area, he said. His Visions is among three galleries near Paseo Creek that have opened in the past 14 months.
Fillmore submitted for the showcase the stunning desert landscape “Sahara Dunes” by acclaimed National Geographic photographer Greg Davis, whom his gallery represents.
“I wanted something that would really jump out and show off the quality of the work we have down here,” Fillmore said. “I personally think it'll be great. A lot of people come through the PAA Art Space down there, a lot of people that don't know we're down here at the other end of the block.”
For the “Paseo Showcase,” Wise limited each gallery to 40 inches square of wall space — sculptors and potters just had to make sure their pieces could fit in the door — and many of the gallery owners chose to submit one striking piece.
“Some of the galleries that have a number of artists are making small paintings that can be hung together within that 40-inch parameter. They are creative down here,” Wise said. “I thought it was great because I didn't know how they would pick.”
Cynthia Wolf, owner of Adelante! Gallery, chose three small pieces, including one of her cattle drive photographs, that represent her gallery's focus on Western and Southwestern fine art.
“This is the first time they've had a show like this that I can remember,” said Wolf, who has owned her Paseo gallery for nine years. “I think it'll be a benefit to me and my gallery. I think it's a great idea.”
Paseo Gallery Walk