The late beat poet Allen Ginsberg once said, “Fortunately art is a community effort — a small but select community living in a spiritualized world endeavouring to interpret the wars and the solitudes of the flesh.”
That same inspirational mentality has been put into motion in the city by metal artist Rob Dodds, the driving force behind Motion Gallery, a co-operative gallery of over 20 artists and counting, which opened in December.
“My intention was to provide a place where aspiring and veteran artists could promote themselves and show their work,” Dodds says. “I really wanted to promote the city’s vibrant local art community.”
The gallery is open to the public five days a week but, in an effort to spread the word, Dodds hosts a themed arts show each month, such as the upcoming Momentum, which will fuse the sounds of BASSBUS with works by local artists. (Contributors pay $50 each month to showcase and sell their eclectic works, with the fee covering operating costs.)
“The response has been overwhelming,” says Dodds, who saw the once empty Eau Claire space as a future of opportunity. In just a matter of weeks, his community concept grew into reality as he signed a lease and held the first show late last year.
“I think it is important to have community space where people can fuse the arts together,” he says. “We just want people to come in and get involved, and this place really has that open community feeling.”
With metal sculptures, photography, traditional and abstract art and a wide variety of hand-crafted items, the old cliché that “there is something for everyone” is applicable here.
“The cool thing is it changes month to month and is not really restricted to anything in particular,” says Dodds, adding that the space will host live performances of poetry and dance.
“We just want to be a constantly evolving venue for the arts that is really just an inclusive environment of unity and community.”
Hundreds have already made their way through the gallery doors, and Dodds expects many more as the community within the walls begins to grow. Some artists stay, some come and go, but Dodds believes the gallery will stick around for the foreseeable future.
“There is definitely a need in the city for something like this, especially as we celebrate being named Canada’s cultural capital this year,” Dodds says. “It’s just a great fit.”