From hobbyist to pro

 

Square One: A New Beginning

Stutz Art Space

Through March 28

 

The Stutz Artists Association, a group of artists who hold in common maintaining studio spaces at the Stutz Business Center downtown, have been organizing themselves more and more officially over the years — first forming the aforementioned association and hosting a wildly popular spring open house, then adding a holiday event and underwriting an artist residency. The association, now about 70 artists strong, has recognized both the power of numbers and the power of buzz, and its latest group effort is an attempt to attract even more comers to the altar of art.

With the opening of its Stutz Art Space, Stutz artists now have a venue (outside of their studios) in which to show their art as a collective, or in the context of a collective (many of the artists have outside gallery representation as well). The gallery space, not sprawling but nicely appointed with low-key white walls and well-placed track lighting, is more than that: In an adjoining kitchen, Stutz artists can simply hang out, and connected to this is a generously equipped studio space where Stutz artists have been teaching classes since January.

“As our first show we wanted to show off our artists,” Stutz Artists Association President Jerry Points says. To this end, artists were offered 16-by-16-inch Masonite panels on which to create a work of art. The continuity of the images makes up for the inconsistency in quality, which isn’t noticeable from a distance, and hardly troubling for the professionalism of the display and the unapologetic presentation of the work.

From full-time professionals (such as Points) to weekenders, the show is surprisingly strong. In terms of sensibilities, if generalities can be made, it is reminiscent of the Hoosier Salon, geared towards the big three: landscapes, portraits and still lifes. A few hardier souls took on the challenge of the size restriction to create sculpture — Michael Swolsky connected variously sized squares of copper, brass and steel to comprise a 16-by-16 square, and Biagio Azarelli managed to contain a bronze figure, with the help of a frame by Vincent Davis (who, incidentally, made the gallery’s fine reception desk).

What makes this gallery among the most unique in the city isn’t the art; rather, it’s the fact that artists receive 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of the art. And with the departure of Pivot Gallery, the Stutz is now the only official gallery in the building. Strength in numbers indeed.

Square One: A New Beginning is on view at the Stutz Art Space, 212 W. 10th St., B110, through March 28. Gallery hours: Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. or by appointment. Call 317-503-6240 or visit www.stutzartists.com for more information.

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