Last month, the Pence Gallery, 212 D St. downtown, was a hive of activity, as Artober stretched us to find new ways of connecting with the public through art. Roma Devanbu’s Open Studio project was one exhibit that truly had an impact on so many visitors.
Roma moved her studio to our gallery, and built a six-sided paper sculpture that seemed to float in the air. During our reception, visitors built up a community garden wall with tissue and glue — simple materials — but they created a gorgeously colorful view of nature. So many individuals gifted us paper flags, origami, even a mobile of boats for peace, that we would share stories daily about the meaningful encounters we had with random strangers. My favorites were the people who stayed for hours in the space, talking, working and then bringing friends back for more.
You always hope that your arts organization serves as a welcoming space for creativity among diverse groups, and last month, I knew it was, without a doubt. Thank you from the gallery and board to all who contributed, and especially to Roma for spending hours of her time and so much of her creativity, to talk with people and to develop this amazing paper temple.
Will the Open Studio come back next year? We promise to try to make it happen, and are applying for funding now to bring it to more people, in our larger space, next Artober. Please let me know if you’d like to help support this project.
On Friday, we will open our annual Holiday Market display of arts and crafts by more than 30 local and regional artists. We have so many new artists this year that we can’t wait to showcase, from Cheryl Lobenberg’s fashionable knitted ware, to Scott Rhoades’ funky lamps, to wreaths by Sharna Hoffman to porcelain jewelry by Blue Bus Studio.
Shoppers can browse in a leisurely way, without all the craziness of mall shopping, and find truly unique, handcrafted items for the holidays. We’ll give you 10 percent off everything, just for being a Pence member. The day after Thanksgiving we’ll have some special discounts as well (open 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.), so bring in your out-of-town folks to see our exhibits and enjoy some shopping.
Don’t forgot that by shopping at the Pence Gallery, you are supporting your local artists as well.
On Thursday, Dec. 6, from 10 to 11:30 a.m., the Pence will hold our Holiday Tea, featuring treats by Ciocolat, tea, coffee and juices, as well as a tour of our “Judith Lowry: Artistic Reflections of Native America” exhibit. It’s great fun to have our groups mingle and chat in the galleries, with all our holiday decorations on the tables. Each attendee will receive a special gift and discount for shopping.
Please sign up in advance by calling 530-758-3370, or drop by to register. The cost is $16 for nonmembers or $14 for members.
Upstairs, we have our annual ‘Tiny” exhibit, featuring 42 small (5-by-7-inch) paintings, drawings and collages by artists such as Philippe Gandiol, Linda Fitz Gibbon, Lauren Brandy and Marie-Therese Brown. Up through Nov. 28, there are a quite a few treasures to be found in the exhibit, and I believe most would fit in a Christmas stocking.
On Friday night, we also will host a multi-media display called “Restore/Restory,” which showcases the diverse and layered history of the Cache Creek Nature Preserve. Join project director jesikah maria ross as you explore stories, images, maps and more about the many inhabitants of the region.
Stop by Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. to view our new exhibits and do a little holiday shopping. A Davis High School string quartet will perform from 7 to 9 p.m. It will be one of the last weeks to view the exhibit “Women that I Have Encountered,” by Malaquias Montoya. This truly powerful display of more than 30 years worth of prints, paintings and collages by Montoya centers on women’s role in fighting for justice and peace, and ends on Nov. 25.
— Natalie Nelson is executive director and curator of the Pence Gallery; her column is published monthly.