Five women with distinctly different artistic styles will bring gallery exhibits back to the Box Factory for the Arts, 1101 Broad St., St. Joseph on Friday, October 23, 2020. These exhibits are the first in-house gallery shows since the pandemic forced closure of the Box Factory’s doors in early March.
The exhibits will be open for public viewing from noon to 4 pm on Fridays-Sundays through November 29 as well as on the Box Factory for the Arts Website.
An opening reception, featuring conversations with the artists, will be streamed live on the Box Factory for the Arts Facebook Page at 6 pm on Friday, October 23. If you cannot attend there will be a recording of the stream uploaded to the Facebook Page.
Those exhibiting work in the Heartha Whitlow Gallery and the main floor stage area will be: Michele Corazzo of Valparaiso, IN with a sculpture exhibit titled “Head Menhirs”; Carly Norris, Niles, MI, mixed media art titled “From the Ashes”; Nicole Brown, St. Joseph, “Heavy Like Floating”; Maggie Bandstra, Grand Haven, MI, “Nature Abstracted”; and Vicki VanAmeyden, Augusta, MI, “Objections: Democracy Under Pressure 2015—.”
“The Menhir series depicts my long personal relationship with trees. These abstracted tree trunks illustrate my uneasiness with current destructive human interactions with nature by using texture of mass-produced objects for the bark. As time has passed, I saw these trunks becoming torso-like and began to add heads to remind us that we are one with the natural world.”
Carly strives to involve her audience in her discoveries and the treasures she finds. She is drawn to the reaction of ink, paint, encaustics, oil and more on every possible surface.
“This work is influenced by the many strong women in my life that I look to for inspiration and courage in my paintings. It is their presence and faces that grace much of my work, as does derivatives of myself. They help me tell the stories of the figures in the images I hear, and the poetry I have felt in my life.”
The human connection to nature inspires her paintings and pottery. She extrapolates the simple forms and colors that she finds in plant life and the landscape. She is using an exaggerated scale, movement, and patterns to deliver a healing message through her work. She is encouraging us to take notice of the beauty in the world around us.
The spirit of OBJECTIONS resonates with a quote from American author and editor, Professor Toni Morrison:“…All good art is political! There is none that isn’t. And the ones that try hard not to be political are political by saying, ‘We love the status quo.’ …it (art) has to be both: beautiful and political at the same time. I’m not interested in art that is not in the world. And it’s not just the narrative, it’s not just the story; it’s the language and the structure and what’s going on behind it…”
It’s Mid-September in Saint Joseph, Michigan. You can feel the season changing and see the façade of The Box Factory for the Arts changing as well. Residents from the condo building next door stop by to admire the scene while out on daily walks. Cars and trucks pass by, honking their horns, some even rolling down their windows to yell words of encouragement. Meanwhile, Kimberly Wood, the artist responsible for all the change and excitement sits high above Broad Street on scaffolding with her bucket of supplies, painting a bird from her mural, “Birds of a Feather Flock Together”.
For a span of only three and a half weeks, Kimberly Wood (Saint Joseph), with the help of fellow artist, Shawn McCann (Minneapolis, MN), accomplished a colorful and playful mural on the West and South exterior walls of The Box Factory for the Arts. The Mural project funded by a grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs as well as the National Endowment for the Arts was created as a way to encourage the community to take notice of this multi-use facility existing to nurture the arts. Kimberly’s design was chosen in July by the Berrien Artist Guild Board of Directors from three submitted proposals and concepts.
The mural design, “Birds of a Feather Flock Together” is meant to emulate the community and the arts as vibrant and playful. In a clever way, Kimberly specifically chose origami birds to mimic the history of the Williams Brothers Paper Box Manufacturing building. Given our four distinct seasons in Southwest Michigan, Kimberly knew that using bright colors would help the design stand out from the brick and surroundings. She wanted the simple design to be pleasing to all and hoped onlookers would find something to enjoy among the animals and greenery. Her goal was to encourage people to get to know The Box Factory for the Arts as more than an historic building.
Kimberly Wood grew up in Saint Joseph and from an early age was encouraged by family and friends to pursue art as a career. She remains grateful for her own arts education in how it shaped her interests and skills. Kimberly received her BFA and K-12 Art Education Training from Grand Valley State University and her Master’s Degree in Careers in Technical Education from Western Michigan. Together with her past experiences of being nurtured and supported to grow a career in art and her formal education she now works as a Commercial Design Instructor for Van Buren Technical Center. She is working to help her students explore the possibilities of a future in art through real life experience during High School.
When Kimberly isn’t teaching, she works as an artist and graphic designer under her business name, The Seventh Studio (www.theseventhstudio.com). She works as a freelance artist for non-profits and businesses. Her most recent design project aside from the Mural for the Box Factory is a Southwest Michigan Bike Map sponsored by the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission. The Berrien Artist Guild is also proud to include her as a long-time member.
ST. JOSEPH, MI — The façade of the Box Factory for the Arts on Broad Street in St. Joseph is taking flight under the artistry of Kimberly Woods. Her mural design “Birds of a Feather, Flock Together” will wrap the sides and front of the building in a colorful mix of flora and fauna.
“The design is meant to emulate the community and the arts in a vibrant and playful way,” says Kimberly. “I specifically chose origami birds to mimic the history of the Box in paper products and then evolve and take flight into something colorful and new.
I believe that the Box Factory and artists within it are what keeps the arts in St. Joseph alive and flourishing – not just the visual arts but the performing arts, the galleries, the ArtMarket and more.”
The Berrien Artist Guild at the Box Factory feels the work on the mural will be a positive visual during these unusual times. Once the COVID-19 guidelines are relaxed and the gallery hours return to normal, the mural will pull visitors in to explore what the Box has to offer. In the meantime, it will provide a backdrop for photographs by passersby.
Kimberly Wood, who works in a variety of media, has been a regular participant in the local Chalk the Block events. As an international street artist, she has participated in festivals in many states including the Coloured Earth Festival in Halifax, England and the Sarasota Chalk Festival in Florida.
Kimberly has helped create murals in North Dakota and Minnesota. The most recent mural in Breckenridge, MN was awarded the Arts Legacy City designation, one of only 9 cities to receive the designation. Her work has been entered in Box Factory exhibits and can be viewed on her website at www.TheSeventhStudio.com. A graduate of Grand Valley State University, she is a full time Commercial Design instructor at Van Buren Tech Center in Lawrence, MI.
The mural is being underwritten by a grant from the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts which has been matched by members and friends of the Berrien Artist Guild. Scaffolding and lift are being donated to the project by Giannola Construction Services.
For more on the mural project, contact the Box Factory at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Box online at www.boxfactoryforthearts.org or on Facebook.
The Box Factory for the Arts will be open to the public from noon to 4 pm beginning Friday, Sept. 4. The limited schedule of noon to 4 pm will continue on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until further notice.
Masks will be required and social distancing guidelines will be in effect. The gallery exhibits will continue their presence online, while the ArtMarket has been expanded into the Williams Gallery.
The expanded ArtMarket will provide an opportunity for visitors to view a greater variety of artwork and purchase certain items at reduced prices.
During the open hours, some resident artists will also be available in their studios or they can be contacted by appointment. For additional information, you can contact the Box Factory by email at: email@example.com or visit online at the Box Factory’s website or Facebook page.