Whether because of a lack of discipline or simply a tin ear, many of us have a great appreciation for music, yet have never mastered an instrument. For those whose creative forte is more visual than musical, this year’s Art From Scrap (AFS) Assemblage Art Show is an opportunity to create a masterpiece from a musical instrument-no sight reading required.
What Will They Create? is the sixth in a series of juried assemblage shows open to tri-county artists age 18 and older, both professional and amateur. The designated theme this year is musical instruments, and participants are challenged to create a piece of assemblage art that incorporates musical objects and instrument parts. Past shows have seen cigar boxes, old books, and aluminum film canisters repurposed as art supplies. Though all entries share an overarching theme, the variety of resulting artwork is a testament to the ingenuity of each artist.
Once participants sign up at AFS’s Cota Street Reuse Store, the fun begins. Entrants select from the store’s stock of scrapped musical instrument parts, choosing to incorporate into their work whichever piece most inspires them. Among the troves of donated treasures are baby violins in disrepair, piano keys and felt hammers, and brass fittings from trumpets and trombones. After gleaning an instrument part from the pile, artists can choose up to five additional items from the store’s barrels, combining these with elements sourced from elsewhere to fabricate a three-dimensional work of art. Selected artwork will be on view at the AFS Gallery from August 10 through September 15, and is available for sale to the public throughout the show via an ongoing silent auction. Artists receive 50 percent of the proceeds; the rest goes to support AFS programs. A panel of judges, among them City Councilmember Helene Schneider and gallery owner Edward Cella, will award cash prizes for the most imaginative transformation of the scavenged materials.
Art enthusiasts are invited to attend the show’s closing reception on Saturday, September 15, from 5-8 p.m. In addition to the awards and silent auction, a live auction offers patrons the opportunity to bid on the perennially popular Artist’s Studio Tours and Dinner Packages, in which the lucky winner is treated to a special evening of wining and dining with local artists. Each package includes a tour of the artist’s studio, possibly involving a collaborative art project, as well as wine, dinner, and conversations with the artist. This year, bidders will vie for dinner at Arigato with Dug Uyesaka; dining with Ron Robertson at his home; dinner at Aldo’s with Tony Askew; and dinner prepared by Chef Tina Wilson at Barbara McIntyre’s house. A tour of the Bermant Collection, paired with a wine tasting, is a new addition to this year’s live auction. The Laguna Blanca Blue Grass Band will contribute their musical stylings to the festivities, and in the spirit of combining music with repurposing, “bang on some junk” youth drum line Boom Chaka will create some infectious percussion rhythms. Irrepressible photographer Bob DeBris brings his outrageous brand of fun to the event, with props and costumes with which guests can dress up to pose for Polaroids against a specially created tableau relating to the musical theme.
The entry fee for artists is $10, and the show and reception are free. “For people who haven’t shown traditionally, this is a fun, no-pressure way to do it,” explained Artistic Director Holly Mackay. And for people who love art, music, and supporting an innovative organization dedicated to breathing new life into old objects, AFS offers a whimsical opportunity to harmonize all three.