The Lexington Art League had most of its 2014 public events out of its home base at the Loudoun House on Castlewood Drive. The centerpiece of its Luminosity exhibit stood at the corner of Main Street and Broadway, and then Interstruct involved projects in buildings around Lexington. The Woodland Art Fair, as always, took place in Woodland Park.
To start 2015, the League is inviting the public back to its home for its Art Gala.
"We were doing exhibits in non-traditional spaces, activating spaces which had gone dormant, which again taught us many valuable lessons, and it also made us a little homesick, I think," says Art League executive director Stephanie Harris. "It is a great gallery to work in, and this is a fundraiser for us, so we want people to be in our home to remember this is where we started."
Home is getting a bit of a makeover for the annual Art Gala and its accompany exhibition, which includes three video installations from the collection of 21c Museum Hotel owners Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson; installation art from Lexington's Melissa Vandenberg and an interactive drawing room by Expanded Draught, the collective that worked on several of the Interstruct projects.
The show is indicative of the relationship being built between the league and the Louisville-based 21c contemporary art venue, Harris says, which will open its Lexington location late this year.
"There are certain requirements we had to meet to show the work 21c is sending us," Harris says, entering the Loudoun House's main gallery, which will feature Miguel Angel Rios' Return. "It's basically a floor-to-ceiling video installation, and they want the space to be set up for viewing that piece on its own, in its entirety."
Volunteers built a wall 14 feet by 17 feet in the gallery for the video, which comes with an immersing sound element, too. To get the full effect, custom slats of plywood will cover the windows in rooms with video installations.
The adjoining room will be Expanded Draught's drawing room, covered floor-to-ceiling in white drawing paper. Visitors are invited to embellish with their creations.
"It's meant to be this durational, ongoing experiment with drawing, and at the end, we'll have a new, three-dimensional drawing," Harris says.
Keeping with the interactive tone are soft sculptures by Vandenberg, including a 42-foot-long paper snake and life vests she created for a piece with the working title Seascape.
In the main downstairs corridor, Vandenberg was filling the walls with white tobacco cloth, white being the tone for most of the exhibit, that she says visitors can interpret as anything from "clouds to intestines."
Working with Vandenberg is demonstrative of the League's desire to work with area artists, Harris says. Vandenberg says she appreciates the opportunity to get out of her studio and create.
"It's an uneasy feeling, because I'm used to being able to plan," she says, between hanging tobacco cloth and creating her seascape with shredded paper. "But it's a good place for me to be a creative artist not having everything planned out and responding to the environment."