This weekend, a building where thousands of little girls practiced pirouettes and jazz hands will transform into a hip new space called Art Intersection.
The new gallery is the brainchild of art instructor Carol Panaro-Smith and executive director Alan Fitzgerald. They've taken a building in Gilbert that used to house Dance Connection studios and turned it into a massive art gallery and work space. This Saturday, January 22, they'll hold an opening reception featuring live music, food, a contemporary cyanotype photo show, and an introduction from Gilbert Mayor John Lewis.
Panaro-Smith explains the concept behind this first exhibit, "Out of the Blue: A Contemporary Cyanotype Invitational," as being about "an historical process interpreted in contemporary fashion."
Cyanotype is a photographing process discovered in 1842 that requires pouring a photosensitive chemical solution on a surface and then exposing it to various types of light.
Panaro-Smith says historical cyanotypes were generally "one image, usually a landscape," but the cyanotypes at the Art Intersection show run the gamut, from the abstract fabric cyanotypes of Elise Deringer Wendte to the sign collages of Diane Silver.
"We're having the cyanotype exhibition to show we're champions of historical processes, but are also interested in the new technology and processes," Panaro-Smith says. "It's a merging of the two."
All of the artists in the cyanotype show are local, with the exception of Brenton Hamilton, who's from Maine. The artists come from a wide range of backgrounds -- some, like Bucky Miller and Adam Draper, are recent ASU graduates. Others, like Lisa Robinson (who will have a solo show in a separate gallery at Art Intersection), are already established artists.
Other artists featured in the show include Kathleen Scott, Bryan Schnebelt, John Smith, Marilyn G. Ticknor, and Steve Jansen (disclosure: Jansen is Night & Day Editor at Phoenix New Times).
In addition to the two galleries housed at Art Intersection, there are plans to construct a dark room for developing black and white photographs, a digital dark room, a reception/café area, and class rooms within the nearly 6,000 square-foot space. "We want to create a space for the person who wants to be an artist, but has a day job...for graduate students who want to meet like-minded people...for the professional artist who wants to work on a specialty," Alan Fitzgerald says.
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Panaro-Smith and Fitzgerald hope people will come to the opening reception this weekend and see everything Art Intersection has to offer. To that end, they've booked live blues and jazz music with local singer Lyn Jackson, ordered catering from the nearby Romeo's Euro Café, and scheduled three docents to be on hand to discuss the art.
"We want people to be able to talk about the art and ask questions," Panaro-Smith says. "We don't want to be a snooty place, where you're afraid to ask questions. We want you to be able to say, 'What the heck is this art about?'"
The opening reception for "Out of the Blue: A Contemporary Cyanotype Invitational" is scheduled to take place from 7 to 10 p.m. at Art Intersection, 207 N. Gilbert Road, Suite 201. For more information on the reception or future art classes being offered, visit www.artintersection.com.