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Best Art Gallery 

click to enlarge First Street Gallery - PHOTO BY HEIDI WALTERS
  • photo by Heidi Walters
  • First Street Gallery

 Step into this cozy-airy space near the waterfront, and you’re drawn almost immediately to the airiest installation of all: Sondra Schwetman’s “Southern Vortices,” a dangling clump of lovely cylindrical banners made of silk and organza, steel and bronze hanging from the ceiling like virga, or suspended, evaporating rain. Indeed, her artist’s statements speaks of  “[s]omething regarded as drawing into the center all that surround it,” of late “summer vortices” in which “one feels a torpor as though waiting for rain.”

 Schwetman’s work is part of the current exhibit at Humboldt State University’s First Street Gallery, on First Street in Eureka, featuring work by HSU Art Department faculty and staff. Other artists’ work ranges from paintings to sculpture to jewelry, with themes wild and tame, master-tempered and experimental. And in this way, it’s not that different from other galleries. What’s different is that First Street Gallery is not just a display space for contemporary art. It’s a vibrant teaching and learning space, where students learn to curate and run a gallery as well as get to exhibit their work.

 Second Best But CLOSED: Accident Gallery (sniff)

 Proudest Answer: “My bathroom.”

 -- Heidi Walters

The Breakdown: First Street Art Gallery 17.1%, Accident Gallery 12.6%, Morris Graves 10.2%, Hunter Plaid Gallery 6.0%, Piante 5.1%, Voter Turnout: 27th.

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