This year’s exhibit for the month of poetry has been even more popular among artists than last year’s exhibit at the Firehouse Art Center.
“Exquisite Connections: Month of Poetry” is an exhibition inspired by the connection between the written word and visual art that opens today through May 8 in the Firehouse’s south gallery. It will showcase the work of 10 pairs of artists and writers.
For the exhibit, the pairs decided who would create first and who would respond, often leading to unexpected results and pushing participants out of their comfort zone.
“More than half the artists have come to me when they dropped off their work like ‘This is totally not the kind of work I usually do, but it was really cool to be able to experiment,’” said Elaine Waterman, executive director at Firehouse. “It’s been fun.”
Waterman said more than half the artists who participated in last year’s exhibit came back to participate in this year’s. The slots for artists filled up almost immediately, and other visual artists tried writing instead.
Waterman also has an art piece in the exhibit, part of her collaboration with Riley Ann.
“It’s cool to collaborate with somebody,” she said. “You think about a theme, you think about a direction. You talk about your past work and from that comes something completely new.”
Grace Gutierrez, exhibit coordinator, explained that the Firehouse is often looking for opportunities to allow artists from various disciplines to experiment and collaborate.
“We’re always trying to do things that cross our programming,” Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez added that this year’s work has more sculpture and 3D elements than the 2021 exhibit.
As to why artists were so eager to participate in this exhibit, she thought it might have something to do with the sometimes undernourished desire of creatives to work with other creatives.
“I feel like collaboration is such an overlooked part of the art world,” Gutierrez said. “Maybe it’s like a trendy, local thing, but I think people crave collaboration. COVID really isolated us from each other. It offers this opportunity to come together and interact with another human and create a positive interaction with each other.”
The opening reception will be 6-9 p.m. today at the Firehouse. The reception will feature a live reading by the poets and writers along with music.