Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Annual exhibit supports ‘Art for Change’ project



PANAMA CITY — Proceeds from the fifth annual Northstar Arts show will be used to beautify the county and provide “artistically altered” benches and trash receptacles at Bay Town Trolley stops.

The Northstar Arts show and sale will be 7-9 p.m. today (Friday, March 1) at CityArts Cooperative in downtown Panama City. The project is sponsored by Northstar Church in Panama City, which sees art as a way of having a positive effect on the community.

“The event has grown exponentially every year,” said Nick May, the church arts director, who also is a novelist and founded the monthly Writers Gallery gathering. Nick added that the venue changed from the church to the co-op this year because CityArts is pre-equipped for such events, which cuts down drastically on setup time.

“It’s also a gesture of artistic camaraderie,” Nick said. “Northstar Church — and specifically Northstar Arts — has long been a patron and supporter of the local arts community. We believe artists are important to God, so they are definitely important to us.”

Last year, 314 pieces by more than 25 artists were featured, and 47 pieces sold for a total of $2,566 in only two hours, Nick said. The 10 percent of sales kept by the church was used to support an ongoing mission to aid the people of Kiu, a village in Kenya, in a clean water project.

As before, 90 percent of each sale will go to the artist (which is unheard of for most gallery events) and 10 percent will go to a church initiative. This year, the church has decided to use its share of the proceeds to provide for this community.

“Traveling around the Bay County area, it’s not difficult to spot a trolley stop with someone standing waiting for the bus,” said Northstar communications director Sonya Henderson. “One day, a member of our arts staff spotted an elderly lady standing holding groceries without a place to sit, and it struck a chord with them. After a conversation with a couple of other staff members, we began exploring the idea of putting benches and trash cans at some trolley stops that lacked these amenities.”

The idea, she said, was to create functional art installations. They contacted the folks at Bay Town Trolley and learned that financial limitations keep the BTT from providing these amenities at every stop. Both parties became excited by the possibilities a partnership could produce.

The Trolley Stop Project will be the first part of Northstar’s “Art for Change” initiative. Online concept submissions from artists will be taken in mid-March, final designs will be presented in April, and the plan is to have three benches installed by the end of May. Northstar will provide benches, trash cans and a materials budget for each of the installations.

The project won’t end there. The goal is to provide similar installations for every stop in a “captivating way” over the next few years, Sonya said.

“We believe that art can make a difference and is vital to community development,” she said. “We want each stop to be creative, beautiful, and serve as a place of rest for every trolley patron.”

Peace


Northstar Arts Fifth Annual Art Show
  • Where: CityArts Cooperative, 318 Luverne Ave., Panama City
  • When: 7-9 p.m. today
  • Admission: Free, and open to the public
(This is my Undercurrents column for PanamaCity.com and The News Herald for Friday, March 1.)


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