By Bart Gazzola
There is a phrase I wear on a button, that comes to me from one of my favourite painters: Buy More Art. This is relevant, not solely because all those positive and expansive factors about supporting local businesses apply in purchasing art by a local artist. It also matters because with Rodman Hall’s Deck The Halls extravaganza, you’ll have the opportunity to acquire a fine work of art by a number of excellent artists of renown both here and away.
It’s also an opportunity to support Rodman Hall Arts Centre: and allow me to explain why that’s a worthy venture.
This fall has seen Rodman Hall and Director / Curator Stuart Reid honoured by both the Canada Council and the OAAG (Ontario Association of Art Galleries). The former, despite my appreciation for Stuart’s writing, is what excites me more, and should matter most to someone considering supporting the arts centre. The CC helped Rodman purchase Mary Ann Barkhouse’s sculptures Settlement that stand guard in dark, impressive bronze outside the gallery. The lush green of summer complimented them as well as the dead leaves of autumn as will the wet snow they’ll push out from when winter falls upon us. That piece is the gallery’s, now, and thus ours. Reid’s words about Rodman apply well here: “Our events and programs bring citizens of St. Catharines together to share experiences and stories.”
But what is Deck The Halls? Allow me to further pilfer Stuart’s words: “This Gala is an important mechanism for supporting Rodman Hall, particularly the community outreach that provides transformational art experiences for youth and families…Over the past five years over 8k people have participated in an education programs. Just in 2015, we have already registered over 1600 participants in our classes, workshops, tours and events. Art education and life-long learning are essential to our purpose in making St. Catharines a vital, livable, creative city. Tomorrow’s creative thinkers are getting their hands dirty in our studios [this is my favourite line] and St. Catharines is benefiting from the development of well-rounded arts literate citizens.”
The event takes place Friday, December 4th, at 6:30 PM, but the live auction of a number of works by significant artists takes place at 8 PM; these include works by Jana Bergsma, Brittany Brooks, Candace Couse, Amy Friend, Duncan MacDonald, Katie Mazi, Ben Mosher, Shawn Serfas, Donna Szőke, and Joy Walker. Perhaps you’ve seen some work by these fine artists in recent shows, such as Szőke’s solo show Clouds at Rodman (Friend and Serfas will be exhibiting in solo slots in 2016), or Mosher’s work in Shifting Perspectives at VISA or MacDonald’s works in the recent Toronto Art Fair.
Now, Art isn’t everything: there will also be the best of Niagara’s fine wines from Small Talk, Megalomaniac, Jackson-Triggs and Inniskillin. One of my favourite brewers, Oast, will be providing their excellent product, along with Steamwhistle, and I was informed by Danny Custodio (the gentleman you’ll contact for tickets) that Dillon’s will be doing their signature cocktail. During the evening, there will be performances by Creature Speak and DJ Marinko. There are also a variety of other items up for silent auction: Oast, Vermeer’s Garden Centre, The Foster Festival, Niagara Ice Dogs and more.
Tickets for the Deck The Halls Gala are $60, but Members of Rodman only pay $50, while artists & students only need pay $25: before I hear some kind of balk at that, remember all proceeds from this event support transformative art experiences for youth and families in Niagara. The arts, and culture, has value, sometimes monetary, and sometimes in how “disparate audiences from a variety of cultural backgrounds and economic situations are knit together into a healthier social fabric through a shared love of the arts” (Reid again, whom I sample again shamelessly as his point is so important).
You can purchase at ticket at at 905-688-5550 × 5802 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also check out the Live Auction preivew of the works right now at the gallery, or online at brocku.ca/rodman-hall/deck-the-hall-gala-art-auction.
Bart Gazzola (also known as #artcriticfromhell) is an arts writer/critic who has published with Magenta Magazine, Canadian Art, New Art Gazette, Galleries West, PrairieSeen, Long Exposure and BlackFlash (where he was Editorial Chair for 3 years). He is Assistant Editor at thesound.rocks and a frequent contributor to various cultural spaces in Niagara.