BCAC 5 Year Anniversary Show

I co-founded the Bull City Arts Collaborative with documentary filmmaker Kenny Dalsheimer.

On April Fools’ Day, 2006, we moved into our 1800 square foot space (which I designed, you did know Indesign is also useful for creating architectural floor plans didn’t you?).

I curate the foyer gallery which usually features the work of guest artists. For our anniversary exhibit we are showcasing work we’ve made here during our first five years.

The show will be up through May 30 and we now have expanded hours. In addition to our open studios on the Third Friday of every month from 6-9 pm as part of Third Friday Durham, we are now also open  Wednesday afternoons from 4-7pm, and Saturday mornings from 10-1am.

We will be open intermittently during the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival as well. This was the third year in a row I designed the Full Frame program guide and broadsheet (and have also raffled off a weekend pass as a fundraiser for Full Frame; you’ve got til Sun April 10 at 5pm to buy a ticket, five bucks each; six for $20, or ten tix for $40 and I’ll throw in a free set of letterpress cards). I’m looking forward to seeing a new crop of documentaries.

I’ve got a new fine press book which I just completed. Southern Fictions is a book of sonnets by former Piedmont poet laureate Kay Byer. Kay writes about her experiences growing up in the Jim Crow era Deep South. This book is entirely hand-printed and hand-bound and was commissioned by Richard Krawiec for his Jacar Press. Covers were handmade paper made by Ann Marie Kennedy of Raleigh. Half of the covers were made in part with re-purposed Confederate battle flags which we cut up and turned into pulp. A portion of the proceeds will be used to fund youth writing workshops.

More reportage soon on Southern Fictions, including pictures of the completed books, and news about a reception at Tyndall Galleries in Chapel Hill Saturday, May 21 at 7pm and a reading at Quail Ridge Bookstore in Raleigh Sunday, May 22 at 3pm.

Please click here to see a pdf of the Text Panel we created for our anniversary show which gives an overview of our five years.

Copy from the text panel is below if the pdf scares you away (it has pretty pictures though)

The Bull City Arts Collaborative evolved from a need for high-quality workspace and a desire to work on art/design/craft projects in a community-minded, collaborative manner.

In 2005, Dave Wofford of Horse & Buggy Press (formerly of Antfarm in Raleigh) was in his third year of his “temporary” studio space at Al Frega’s barn, while searching out more long-term environs for his design, letterpress, and bookbinding equipment. Kenny Dalsheimer of The Groove Productions was over at the Venable Building, where the artist tenants were about to get the heave-ho that inevitably occurs when formerly sleepy buildings change hands and get re-developed.

Some rumors started circulating about Scientific Properties taking over a building near the Y on Foster Street and converting it to 8,000 square feet of artist workspace. Long story short, that plan didn’t happen, but during the initial meetings Kenny and Dave joined forces in looking for workspace. A two bay wide portion of 401 Foster Street went on the market and (switching to first person plural) we jumped on it, despite not needing all 1,800 square feet. We figured we’d sublease what we didn’t need, start a small artist/craftsperson collective, and try and get some good energy going. We designed the upfit of the space, attempting to be true to the original integrity of the building (a former Rambler Nash showroom).

We moved in on April Fools’ Day, 2006. Dave organized a thirteen person group show in the front of the space as we put out a call to find studiomates. Ben Fisher and Lou Joseph eventually moved into this front studio. Buddies from their past undergrad days, Lou moved to Ben’s town to collaborate on paintings, comics, and more under the Fort Grunt moniker. They created a prolific body of work for two plus years, had several shows in galleries and alternative art spaces in North Carolina and beyond, and Lou curated installations by guest artists in the big window that he coined “The Aquarium.”

Dave and Kenny set up their studios and hit the ground running, collaborating with individuals and organizations in the area on a flurry of projects. One of the most visible and energetic of these projects was the documentary film Bending Space: Georges Rousse and The Durham Project. Kenny, co-director Penelope Maunsell, and others captured the frenetic energy and showcased the creative output of 200 volunteers who assisted the French installation artist in creating eleven mind-bending trompe l’oeil works in four downtown buildings during the fall of 2006. The event—the brainchild of Central Park neighbors Frank Konhaus and Ellen Cassilly and spearheaded by them—was a smashing success that culminated in multiple public viewings which resembled block parties. Eventually Bending Space played to a full house at Carolina Theatre and subsequently travelled to film festivals across the U.S. and around the world.

In between book and literary broadside projects, Dave collaborated with a diverse range of organizations. This work included exhibit catalogues for the Gregg Museum of Art & Design; program guides for the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival; CD, vinyl, and DVD packaging for musicians and filmmakers; flyers for a Durham Critical Mass event that were created with a Durham School of the Arts student; posters for organizations including Duke Library, the Eno River Festival, Builders of Hope, the Farmers’ Market; dog treat packaging for Ninth Street Bakery; announcements, logos, letterhead and business cards for area artists and independent businesses; trade books for area publishers; cover designs for The Independent; menus for restaurants; and more. Kenny and Dave both taught workshops for the Geer St. incarnation of SeeSaw Studios, and Kenny also produced a promotional video for SeeSaw. Kenny has conducted dozens of workshops at schools, juvenile justice programs, and community centers across the state, while also producing documentary-style videos for a range of non-profit organizations including The Achievement Academy of Durham and Genesis Home.

In early 2007, the BCAC began hosting an open studio on the Third Friday of each month as Dave curated shows featuring guest artists in the foyer gallery. This is the 30th exhibit and the first time we’ve had a show of our own work in the exhibition space. Past exhibits include photography shows (Pam Pecchio, MJ Sharp, Rob McDonald, Robin Dreyer, Noah Rosenblatt, birding photography by Ricky Davis); printmaking (Bill Fick, Jeremy Kerman); ceramic-based sculpture
(Meredith Brickell, Bonnie Campell); fibers (Jeana Klein); sculpture (Al Frega); painting (Celia Gray, David Alsobrooks, Sarah Powers, Jeff Mahorney, Lou Joseph); artists’ books by John Davis, Susan Leeb, and Michael Greer; an exhibit by Phillip Barron centered around the history of the bicycle in Durham; a show by five Southeastern letterpress printers; sketchbook drawings by Stephen Gibson (created in H&B handmade sketchbooks); and Art-tender! an installation of 500 cocktail napkin drawings by Piedmont bartenders Mark Cunningham and Jake Wood.

Revere La Noue moved his Light Rain Media into the front studio in early 2009. A filmmaker and painter, he has started a unique print series called The Mascot Gallery that earned national attention when ESPN ran a piece on Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly purchasing one of Revere’s Fighting Irish prints, putting it in the locker room and waxing poetic—and in pretty good artspeak—about it.

As the BCAC enters its sixth year, we are each gearing up on exciting new work. Kenny is working again with Penelope on Bending Sticks: The Sculpture of Patrick Dougherty (currently in post-production). Kenny is also producing a video for the Durham Arts Council’s CAPS Program and Seasons of Change, a travelling exhibit about climate change. Revere is generating a new series of abstract and narrative fine art prints. He is also collaborating with a company in Charlotte to develop new “art browsing” technology that enhances the user experience at The Mascot Gallery online store. Dave is at work on a new fine press book featuring the work of Courtney Fitzpatrick. Maji Moto will feature photography and lyrical essays by Courtney from her 17 months doing field biology studies in remote areas of Kenya as that region experienced a drought of epic proportions. A personal observation and reflection on that experience, the book will premiere in the spring of 2012 alongside an exhibit of her photographs in the foyer gallery.

Thanks for checking out our show and we hope you’ll keep coming back.

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