Thursday, April 19, 2012

Three Heathers: Meet the Artists

PANAMA CITY — The Heathers get the spotlight this weekend at CityArts Cooperative in downtown Panama City this month.

Not only is the current exhibit — “Heather, Heather, Heather” — a collection of work by three artists who share the same name, but also special consideration will be given to any visitors named Heather who attend Saturday’s Meet the Artists reception.

The three featured artists — Heather Clements, Heather Hay and Heather Parker — are all directors at CityArts.

“At least once a week, there are three Heathers in the building. Whenever someone calls out, ‘Heather!’ we all, of course, react,” Clements said. “As annoying/funny as that is, we decided to turn it into a positive: an art show. … We thought of all the possible names, but wanted to make people actually have to say the name three whole times, so we are indeed calling it ‘Heather, Heather, Heather.’”

CityArts Cooperative, 318 Luverne Ave., is a community of visual, literary and performing artists who have formed the largest arts co-op in Northwest Florida, according to the directors. Hours are Wednesday to Sunday, 1 to 6 p.m.; browse the contemporary art gallery, tour the artist’s studios, learn about free art events and sign up for art and dance classes.

The exhibit — which opened April 4 and will continue through June 2 — features Clements’ intricate papercut art, Hay’s multimedia art inspired by her experiences with Chautauqua Learn and Serve Charter School, and Parker’s acrylic on wood and assemblage art.

Other aspects of the exhibit will evolve over time, enticing return visits to view the progress of interactive pieces. Clements said visitors named Heather would be invited to participate in the collaborative portion of the exhibit.

“We knew we’d be setting ourselves up for some joking and kidding with the ‘Heather, Heather, Heather’ show, so we decided to play into it,” Parker said. “Along with our art, the two-month exhibit features interactive pieces so visitors can share in the fun, with special courtesies extended to anyone named Heather.”

During the reception 4 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, anyone whose name happens to be Heather will receive special treats: free cupcakes, a chance to participate in a group photograph of “a field of Heather” (the people, not the flowers) at 4:30 p.m., and more.

Clements will entertain by playing the musical saw while visitors enjoy light refreshments. The movie “Heathers,” which also features three Heathers, will be shown.

A second artists’ reception (4 to 6 p.m. on May 19) will provide an opportunity for everyone to be a Heather for a day. “We will have ‘Heather’ name tags for all,” Clements explained.

This is my Undercurrents column for the News Herald this week.
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