The art gallery will present eight new exhibitions this school year
An unwavering presence and creative hub, the James Kaneko Gallery at American River College has cultivated a sense of community among artists and art lovers since the 1980s.
The COVID-19 pandemic has done its best to sideline the arts community at ARC, but this school year there are eight in-house art exhibits planned, compared to just three on-campus exhibits last year. putting the gallery back on its post-pandemic feet, according to Patricia Wood, director of the Kaneko Gallery, art professor and head of the art department at ARC.
According to Wood, there has been a gradual increase to the current number of eight in-house shows and one scheduled online show this year.
“We were slowly returning to in-person exhibits and trying to reschedule some of the exhibits that were unfortunately canceled due to COVID-19,” Wood said.
The gallery kicked off the school year with the ARC Faculty Art Exhibition, which ran until September 15. ARC and Stanford alumnus, Omar Thor Arason’s “The Uncertainty Principle” exhibit follows. It opened on September 19 and will run until October 14. Rounding out the semester will be the work of award-winning fiber artist and ARC alumnus Penny Hanscom, whose exhibition titled “Hanging on a Thread” runs from October 17 through November. 10. Finally, the gallery will present the watercolors of Gabriel Garbow, an artist from San Francisco. His show titled “Wreckage and Reveries” will air from November 14 to December 15.
Named after James Kaneko, a former ARC ceramics teacher, the gallery serves the ARC and the wider art community in a variety of ways.
“From time to time we may have an event or conference that is part of or related to the exhibit,” Wood said. “Many artist conferences and several workshops were led by the exhibiting artists.”
The art gallery management program uses the site, giving students hands-on experience in organizing exhibitions, while student interns prepare online exhibitions, update the gallery’s website and receive guests at the gallery reception.
One such intern this semester is Ayana Gaines, who says she is interested in pursuing an art education.
“We’re trying to build community here, and art should be fun. I like sharing that with people, especially little kids,” Gaines said. “It’s been a pretty positive experience so far. ”
And then there’s the weird cigarette vending machine turned gallery art. This purveyor of beauty and sophistication accepts $10 tokens and, with the pull of a handle, hands out miniature cigarette-pack-sized creations by students, faculty, and regional artists in the arts community.
The old cigarette pack dispenser comes from a hair salon in Memphis, Tennessee and was renovated by an ARC sculpting teacher.
Wood says the rehabilitated relic has been temporarily moved from the main space for repairs, but don’t worry, it’s just out back, smoking.