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It’s not unusual to walk past a store or gallery window featuring art on display. But it is unusual to walk by a storefront with a lot of human activity going on in the window -- artists creating -- themselves and their work the exhibit.
Several Oregon State University students and faculty recently participated in the 2016 Window on Art project, a community arts engagement program showcasing the process and creation of art in a setting that is easily accessible to the public.
The shoe retailer Footwise in downtown Corvallis, Oregon, has for a long time donated its large window display area on the corner of Third Street and Madison Avenue to artists, guilds and non-profit organizations to promote events and display work. In 2014, Corvallis artist Jeff Hess applied for the window with the idea of something different -- a live exhibit showing the creative process.
With help from Arts Center Curator Hester Coucke and OSU Art Instructor Julia Bradshaw, Hess collected proposals from artists representing a broad range of ideas and mediums. In the project's first year, 15 artists were selected to exhibit.
The second Window on Art took place over a five week period this April and May. According to the event’s website, this time the number of artists was reduced in order to allow each a longer exhibit time, giving the community more access to each display.
Tanner Henderson, a senior pursuing the B.S. in fine arts, and Francisco Morales, a senior pursuing the B.F.A. in visual arts, collaborated on a painting project that blended the two artists' distinctive styles. For six days, they worked in the window individually and side by side.
“Typically the visual arts is a solitary practice and we, as artists, thought the Window on Art project would be a perfect opportunity for us to finally explore that in a live space,” Morales said.
“The other reason we decided to collaborate in this form is that when two artists come together they bring with them philosophies on the creative process that must be navigated. Confronting these barriers to making creative work is something is very important and should be addressed and shared,” Henderson said.
Morales said he hoped the project might demystify the process of creating artwork. And, he said, from the artist perspective, it was interesting to work in a completely exposed environment.
Madelaine Corbin, a senior in applied visual arts with a minor in art history, also participated in the Window on Art. But she used the space in a different way. As the fourth and final part of her “SHOWROOM” series, she created a living room or sitting room atmosphere within the space.
SHOWROOM, she said, explores the notion of display and the perceived public and private worlds in which displays exist.
“SHOWROOM IV examined the hidden and constructed lifestyle by placing that life on display. What happens when a private life is placed in public context?” Corbin said.
Over the course of 12 days, Corbin spoke with random viewers and scheduled guests. People outside of the window could call up a website on their cellular devices, listen in, or participate on the conversation. A bench was provided on the sidewalk outside of the window for observers.
In all, the 2016 Window on Art featured five exhibits, each running for a week or more. For more information on this project, including photos and video or to follow for information on next year’s event, go to windowonart.net.
Top photo: Francisco Morales and Tanner Henderson by Julia Bradshow
Above right: SAC Director Lee Ann Garrison with Madelaine Corbin by Erin Sneller