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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Solar Culture opens walls to the public

    Jacob Rader / Arizona Daily Wildcat
    Jacob Rader
    Jacob Rader / Arizona Daily Wildcat

    Maybe you’re the next Picasso. Or maybe your artistic vision involves stick figures in the margins of your notes. Regardless of how amazing or terrible you think your art is, you are cordially invited to hang any piece you’d like this weeK at “”Sacred Space: A Community Awakening.””

    Starting Tuesday, Solar Culture accepted ready-to-hang artwork during the afternoon and evenings, and will continue to do so until Thursday.

    Solar Culture, an abandoned produce factory turned art gallery, has become a mecca for local Tucson artists. In its 22 years of existence, resident artists have turned what used to be the basement of this early 20th century building into various studios that house such esteemed artists as Donovan White (right now you can check out White’s art on display at Urban Outfitters).

    The gallery itself is eclectic, with tall white-washed wooden walls covered in art, sculptural elements embellishing the space’s nooks and crevices, old heavy freezer doors left over from the building’s working past and a stage that brings in killer underground music artists such as Why? and Fleet Foxes.

    While the gallery itself has a great reputation, you don’t need one in order to show your pieces. There is no jury for this art show. That means that nothing you bring will be professionally judged while on display.

    So if you are wondering whether your version of Jackson Pollock is good enough for a gallery, don’t worry: it is. As the mission statement puts it, “”The theme for our shows is sharing your heart and mind with the community … Whether you are a first-time artist or someone who has been making artwork for many years, you are welcome to show your work at Solar Culture.””

    Steven Eye, the man in charge, elaborated: “”We all unite and share our hearts by putting up our art which … is like a heart flame. When you unite all the heart flames together, it makes a raging inferno of creative energy that can change the world.””

    Eye believes in everyone’s ability as an artist. While he has an elderly couple in their eighties who have been participating for decades, he said he also encourages any newcomer interested in creating art.

    For beginners, Eye said, “”it’s a great time to show your work. Right now. Everyone starts out in the beginning, you know. You can feel safe enough to put something in … It’s the best way to jump in and get your feet wet in the art world. It’s not a solo show and everyone’s looking at you.

    You are surrounded by bunch of other caring, loving people who want to share their work. Everyone feels vulnerable sharing their work. Its like being out there with no clothes on, and your naked heart is exposed.””

    This come-one-come-all attitude creates a huge diversity of eye candy in the space. Pieces from more than 100 artists crawl up the walls of the gallery at any given time. Seeing the difference in concepts, media and talent is a big part of Solar Culture’s charm.

    Perhaps what makes artists so inclined to participate in this exhibit is that Eye does not ask for any money. “”Artists have a real hard time economically. It’s part of the way that I can give back to the community by offering this to the community for free, and it’s a great opportunity for the people of Tucson,”” he said.

    On Saturday Sept. 26, from 6-9 p.m., there will be a potluck art reception entitled “”Sacred Space: A Community Awakening.”” The event, as is true with every Solar Culture event, is BYOB, and attendees are encouraged to bring food to share so the reception won’t be a sparse cheese-and-crackers event. Solar Culture should be doing some of the cooking as well, as it has a beautiful, custom-tiled kitchen in which the space cooks for its traveling musicians (last time I was there, the kitchen smelled like tasty curry.)

    What the reception will include, besides the booze and food, is an opportunity to see the amazing art Tucson artists are producing. If you are really serious about your creative endeavors, you can do a little networking to increase your visibility as a professional artist. Not to mention, there are some pretty attractive artists around these parts, so you might want to clean up if toiling away at your latest masterpiece has made you a bit scruffy.

    What “”Sacred Space”” comes down to is Solar Culture’s goal as a whole: building an artistic community. Eye said, “”We only do these ‘three times a year’ events when showing art, and these are the only ones we’ve done from the beginning, and its all just community invitational … There’s no other types of shows.””

    “”It’s the culture you’re surrounded by,”” he continued. “”When people come here, they realize ‘Yeah, I’m an artist too.'””

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