Meadows and Harvey park trailer, open gallery in Highlands Village
August 7, 2005
Ever since Sam Harvey entered the Joanne Lyon Gallery, he has been thinking of opening a gallery of his own.”When I came to Aspen, in 1983, she had the most stellar gallery in town,” said Harvey, a New Orleans native and formally trained potter. “She sold ceramics and pots and paintings, and she was real welcoming and taught people about the stuff. It was a beautiful experience to look at and learn about the art. I’ve wanted to do a gallery ever since then.”Four years ago, Harvey finally got a gallery business rolling. He and fellow local ceramist Alleghany Meadows took an old Airstream trailer and converted it into a gallery-on-wheels, one which has staked a spot at the Aspen Saturday Market and been hauled each spring to arts fairs across the country. The peripatetic space has earned attention and taught its owners about the gallery business, but it didn’t keep Harvey and Meadows from thinking about a more typical gallery.Two months ago, the pair scouted out spots in downtown Aspen. “And lo and behold, we couldn’t afford one of those,” said Harvey.But word got out to the folks who control the real estate at Highlands Village, and Harvey and Meadows were given a tour of the space that had been occupied by the WildIze African art gallery. They resisted at first; Meadows claimed his summer was booked with activity. But finally they gave in to their dreams.
“We couldn’t say no,” said Meadows. “There’s so much potential here.”The Harvey/Meadows Gallery has its grand opening today, with a reception from 4 to 8 p.m. The opening will feature music by Guy Wells & Friends and works by some 24 artists, a handful of whom will be in attendance. Among the local artists represented are Sarah Ransford, Gerry Eskin and Sue Kolbe.Staying true to Harvey’s original inspiration, the Harvey/Meadows Gallery will be a diverse place, with plenty of prints on the walls. The bulk of the art, however, will be ceramics, including the utilitarian, primarily porcelain, work by Meadows, and the hand-built, coiled vessels made by Harvey.”It feels like there really is a need for this kind of gallery,” said Meadows. “We’re the only contemporary ceramic art gallery not only in Aspen, but in the region. You have to go to Santa Fe to find a gallery devoted to ceramics. Or San Francisco, Chicago, L.A., New York, Kansas City, Philadelphia.”The smattering of works already uncrated last week showed how broad the range could be in the ceramic field. There’s Tyler Lotz’s “Tendril,” a lime-green, curvilinear sculpture-like work; adjacent is a suitcase that suggest a ceramic cultural artifact, by Brook Levan. There are busts, candelabras, abstracts – and plenty of pots, bowls and cups.
The two gallerists say that the Airstream, dubbed Artstream – which will not be put on blocks anytime soon – has taught them much about the business end of the art business.”It’s on wheels,” said Meadows, “but it’s a similar kind of logistics. When we’d go on national tours, there would be 20 artists in the show. One thing Artstream has taught us is innovation, how innovation can get the attention of the public.”Harvey and Meadows are already scheming ideas to get people into the gallery. One idea is a food-and-chef event, with the meals served in functional ceramic pieces. They also want to attract people by deflating the idea that art is out of the reach of the commoner.”In our gallery, a cup is accessible,” said Harvey. “People see a cup and understand the use and can picture themselves using it. And they can see it’s $40 and see they can take it home.”He said a gallery affords another way for an artist to rub elbows with the world. “I’ve always wanted to show art as well as make it,” he said. “Because galleries are where artists show their ideas.”
“That’s where art interacts with the public,” added Meadows.And for the once-harried potters, who have become accustomed to finding parking places for their business, they can see what it’s like to run a gallery that occupies the same space each day.”Now we’ve finally come to harbor,” said Meadows.Stewart Oksenhorn’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org