Letters

Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

Home · Articles · News · Art · Paint it Black: Ignorant Art Show of...
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Paint it Black: Ignorant Art Show of Emerging Artists Benefits Boys & Girls Club

Rick Coates - October 21st, 2004
Works of art surround us throughout the day. Even if you are unaware of it, or should we say “ignorant” to its existence. It is around just take a moment and look. In fact as you’re looking for art and your eyes gaze past a stranger or even a colleague you may have spotted a painter again unaware or ignorant to the fact that the person in the cubicle next to you or the person making your cappuccino is an artist.
Ryan Wells, who works real estate by day and his art studio by night, is an emerging artist whose co-workers were unaware of his talents. His work doesn’t appear in local galleries, not because it isn’t good enough, but because Wells is part of the “Ignorant Art” assemblage who were not formally trained and whose work doesn’t fit what is considered to be in the mainstream.
So what better way to exhibit his art than create a show with fellow unknown artists in the area in a venue outside the traditional arena for art? That’s exactly what Wells did last May at the encouragement of his sister Meredith Wells Kerr, chief executive officer of the Boys & Girls Club of Grand Traverse. Now the two along with a committee of volunteers have organized another art event Saturday, October 23 in Traverse City.

CREATIVE FUNDRAISER
“I was looking for a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club,” said Kerr. “I was talking to my brother about it and saying it would be nice to incorporate his art into it. He agreed as long as it wasn’t some punch, cookies and balloons event. This was really his brainchild.”
Ignorant Art was born May 22, as seven mostly unknown artists displayed their works at Radio Centre on Front Street in TC. There was wine, great food and lots of art all displayed in an unfinished office suite. Wells and Kerr didn’t know how many would show, but after their third trip down to Jack’s to buy wine they knew the event was a success.
“We hoped for 100 -- we really didn’t know what to expect,” said Kerr. “We ended up with close to 300. As fundraisers go this is about as easy as it gets.”
A fundraiser that is easy; tell me more.
“I am use to the traditional style fundraiser, where things are structured from a non-profit standpoint,” said Kerr. “Ryan brought a different perspective then I was accustomed to. Like the concept itself -- he ran the event outside the traditional non-profit scope by focusing solely on the event, not on raising money. The fundraiser was an afterthought. This was a challenge for myself and the board at first but it worked.”
CREATING A BUZZ
Wells’ key to success was his vision to create an event for the moment and create a buzz around the community by being evasive as to what one should expect out of the evening.
“How many nights do you go out to check out a band, just for that one night?” said Wells. “Well, why can’t visual art be looked at the same way? I wanted an event where it was just one night. It might be the only time you will see some of these works. I also wanted to create something where you have to come to it to find out what is happening.”
Wells focused in on “unknown” artists the last time and plans to do so again this Saturday. He hopes to have 15 artists displaying their works.
“There are a lot of people who don’t want to have their work in a gallery or their work might not fit in the area galleries, so I wanted to create something for them. Not everyone displaying art is selling it, some just want others to see their work or want feedback. Others sold work that night and pieces will be available for purchase at this show.”
While most will be unknown one familiar artist exhibiting work will be photographer Tom Wright. Wright who debuted his rock and roll photography collection last year in Traverse City, will debut some new works, including his photograph of local guitar phenom Brian Schram. Schram is on the verge of releasing his national label debut and went to Wright for an edgier photo to be used on the album cover.

BACK IN BLACK
Another important aspect of the evening is black attire.
“We want people to wear black,” said Wells. “This is born out of the Chinese theater tradition of everyone wearing black as to not take away from the performance. The idea of everyone wearing black really helps to keep the focus on the art.”
Kerr agrees.
“This isn’t a fashion show of the latest black styles either,” said Kerr. “Keep it simple, just wear black whether it’s slacks and a turtleneck or a dress. We are not trying to make a fashion statement.”
An afterglow at 310 is planned.
“Jeff Wiltsie was great to us with the food so we approached him about hosting the afterglow,” said Wells of 310’s owner. “He has arranged for a DJ and drink specials so it will give all an opportunity to go and talk about the show afterwards. Plus, with everyone wearing black all in one place it will have people asking questions.”
Like, when the next Ignorant Art show will take place?
“I don’t think about that,” said Wells. “I am tired of all of these ‘first annual’ events. This is the event; you can’t catch it at the second annual, this is it. We did one in the spring and we now have this one. I don’t know if we will do another one. If we do we will let you know.”
In choosing Ignorant Art for the shows name Wells turned a few heads in the traditional art community.
“I had some calls from people who didn’t like the name,” said Wells. “They thought it was offensive and demeaning to the area art community. Once I explained the concept they all came on board and are helping to promote what we are doing.”

TIP FROM BASQUIAT
Wells came up with the name from a quote used by 1980s graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Basquiat described his work as “ignorant art,” a concept of creating art without knowing art history or having any aspirations of creating fine art. For these artists, traditional training and understanding creates what is known as “anxiety of influence,” and might inhibit ones ability to create what already exists within them.
For Wells the concept of “Ignorant Art” works for both creator and the viewer.
“It allows those without any formal training to appreciate art for what it is versus what it isn’t,” said Wells. “It isn’t about being stupid, it is simply about unknowing and there shouldn’t be anything wrong with that from the artists perspective or the viewers.”
Still don’t get it? Don’t worry the only thing you need to get is 12 bucks, some black clothes, and your friends, then just show up. Ignorant Art will be what is happening around town this Saturday, so show up, relax and feel “ignorant” with the rest of us.

Ignorant Art is one night only, Saturday October 23 at Radio Centre in Traverse City (next to the parking ramp across from the Park Place) from 9 to 11 pm. Tickets are $12 and available only the night of the show. Partakers will enjoy art, wines from the Leelanau Peninsula Vintners, craft brews from Shorts Brewery in Bellaire and the musical musings of Jason Kott. 310, who will also host the afterglow with DJ Zest at 11 p.m., will provide an array of appetizers. For additional information on how you might participate contact artist Ryan Wells by e-mail ryandwells@charter.net or by phone (231) 218-9584. Don’t forget to wear black!
 
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