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Moving On 

Final Arts Alive! for Accident Gallery and other pre-holiday happenings

click to enlarge The Last Hipster visits the Shanty (2025) - SPRAY PAINT ON ACRYLIC WITH PHOTOGRAPH BY ANANDA OLIVERI
  • Spray paint on acrylic with photograph by Ananda Oliveri
  • The Last Hipster visits the Shanty (2025)

Ouch! It saddens me to begin with unhappy tidings my first time writing Art Beat, but the Accident Galley is on its way out. Co-owners Phyllis Barba and Matthew Ananda Oliveri supplied the details.

"Foremost," said Matthew, "we would like to say to all of our friends and the public that closing the gallery was a personal decision based on our need for more time to pursue our individual art careers." Both Phyllis and Matthew are working artists and are raising a 5-year-old daughter.

"Yes, it was kind of an ‘accident' that we stayed in Eureka," said Phyllis. "When we first came to Eureka from Chicago in August 1999, I was planning on taking a furniture-making course at CR, but the program was then being offered only in Fort Bragg and we preferred to stay In Eureka."

Matthew said, "Getting to know the art scene in 2000, we realized that there were very few places to show art that were not also retail stores, and not many opportunities for artists who were just starting out. We wanted to be part of the art community, but we weren't fired up about any one group or scene. None of the venues seemed perfect for us or for many of the artists that we knew. So we decided to do it ourselves."

Phyllis and Matthew found an empty room that could be used as a makeshift gallery for Arts Alive!, which was just getting started, and invited 10 or 15 friends to show their work. They did about a year in phantom galleries in several empty stores and also created a miniature show in its own tent.

In 2004, with other partners, they created the current gallery at 210 C Street.

The gallery was never a co-op but a membership. "Frankly, we were a bit wistful that we had created for others the kind of situation we wanted for ourselves: a place to show without all the maintenance and scheduling, and trying to make it work financially," said Matthew.

"All in all, it's been a wonderful six years," said Phyllis. "The closing is bittersweet but we are really excited about what's next."

Several of the gallery's artists, including Matthew and Phyllis, already have shows planned at other venues. "We've worked out an arrangement to keep the art store, selling spray paint and supplies; the gallery space will be the new home of The Works music store with added features," said Matthew. (According to Works owner Larry Glass, plans includes a magazine rack tentatively curated by Northtown Books, DVD rentals from La Dolce Video and a stage for live music and DJs.)

"We want to give a big shout out to all the members and to all the guest artists who have participated in our invitational shows," said Matthew. "Many, like Georgia Long, and Seth and Liesl Smith, have been with us since the beginning."

For this last Arts Alive! show 14 members will be showing, and with typical panache, there will be live music plus DJ Soiree and a light show by Onhell. I can't think of a better time to support these artists. Find out if they still have that piece you always wanted. Buy it. Get their email and website addresses. Offer them shows! See you there.

The noted artist Randy Spicer will fill Piante Galley with his latest paintings for the month of December. You may be familiar with his mural work around town, most prominently the one on the wall of the parking lot of the Arkley Center, fondly known as "Satchmo."

Randy is passionate about his love of this area, and the landscapes he will be showing are a brilliant testament to his skill in communicating that love. "I don't strive for a theme in a show but it just happens that most of these paintings have water in them," said Spicer. Most of the paintings are of local places within minutes of Eureka. Randy's formidable mastery of color will take you to these familiar places and leave you with a renewed appreciation of their beauty and grandeur. Guaranteed.

December Arts Alive! is traditionally the time when each participating gallery business and organization features affordable art and encourages your financial support. Check the complete listings here in the Journal.

Some highlights:

First Street Gallery: Annual Holiday Invitational (a fund-raiser) featuring the works of more than a dozen ceramic artists plus painters and printmakers.

Morris Graves Museum: Humboldt Arts Council (HAC) celebrates the 10th anniversary of the museum with a HAC members' juried show, a raffle of a Graves' print (7:30 p.m.) and more -- save room for birthday cake.

The annual Card Show at Robert's Humboldt Carpet Showroom (2nd and G streets) and next door, Nancy Flemming at Art Center Frame Shop.

C Street Studios (above the Accident Gallery): The annual holiday sale runs Dec. 4 and 5 featuring works by the resident artists and guests, Regina Case and John King.

The Eureka/Arcata/Humboldt art scene is so rich and varied that a single column can't hope to do it justice. My hope is for more writers and more stories about the arts in our future. What do you think? Make your voice heard. Send your comments to the Journal. Happy art-filled holidays!

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Richard W. Evans

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