We are Arkansas artists Kat Wilson and Sarah Leflar who are opening Bottle Rocket Gallery in Fayetteville, Arkansas. A non-profit gallery, Bottle Rocket will show artists from outside Arkansas whose work can be described as controversial, confrontational or in some way challenging for the viewer. The mission of Bottle Rocket Gallery is simple - to create access for people in Northwest Arkansas to see the work of artists whose work, although important, would not otherwise be shown in this area.
Each Bottle Rocket show will begin with a festive opening at which the artist is present. Artists will be invited to give a talk at the University of Arkansas Fine Arts Department during their stay in the area. A cash stipend of $1000 will be provided, in order to make it possible for individuals to travel to our location, which is somewhat out of the ordinary exhibition circuit for many talented emerging artists.
WHY ARE WE USING KICKSTARTER?
We're Kickstarting the project so we can raise money for these stipends. We think that this funding will represent a new way to help young artists with the considerable financial burdens created by the desire to widely show their work. We need your donations to provide a $1000 travel and installation stipend for each of the 5 artists that we plan to bring in this year, as well as for printing and publicity costs associated with each show. The total that we must raise is $6500. This money, divided by 5, will pay the stipend, kickstarter fees, and printing and publicity expenses.
CAN WE REALLY SUCCEED ON $6500?
You might ask if we have planned well enough to be able to offer a year's programming of 5 artists on the extremely limited budget of $6500. Luckily, we are in an almost unique position of being able to donate most of the real expenses associated with Bottle Rocket. We are donating our curatorial and organizational time. Kat has extensive experience as a curator, and Sarah is an ex-lawyer who can write and moniter the legal and accounting structure of the project. We are donating the beautiful gallery space for the shows, and the charming guest house for the artists. Kat is donating her valuable skills as a successful working photographer. Another person involved with the project, Emily Lawson, is donating her expertise as a caterer to create wonderful openings. Finally, we have an awesome intern, Brittany Wulf, who has enthusiastically embraced this project as her own and has already been a huge asset as we start up.
AN INTERESTING BIT OF HISTORY
An interesting historical note is that Bottle Rocket Gallery will be housed in a building designed and built by Ozark craftsman Robert Runyan on the grounds of Gayeta Lodge, a home built and occupied by Arkansas writer Charles Joseph Finger in the early part of the 20th century. During his lifetime, Finger, a Newbery prize-winning author and avowed socialist, put great effort into bringing interesting intellectuals and artists from outside the area to stay at Gayeta and meet and talk with Fayettevillians. The tradition will continue via Bottle Rocket Gallery.
FRIEND US ON FACEBOOK
Both Kat ("Kat Wilson") and Sarah ("Sarah Leflar") are on facebook. Bottle Rocket Gallery has its own page too. Check us out!
Risks and challenges
We have been surprised and delighted by the interest that people in our networks have shown in this project. Everyone we've talked with has expressed great enthusiasm for this idea. We have also had a lot of interest from artists who want to show here. Although Northwest Arkansas, with its colleges and universities, and, now, even a major museum, has been quite successful at promoting itself as an arts destination" there is still no venue for work that is deliberately difficult for the viewer. Certain political and social themes are underplayed. New media are underrepresented. Our challenge is to maintain the enthusiasm that our colleagues, friends and family are showing for this project by finding top-level work, funding it, and bringing in people to see it.
Our risk is that we fall down on the job, and lose enthusiasm ourselves for making BRG what we want it to be. We promise, we won't do that! We have been talking together about this project for over a year, and our energy has only increased as we've started to make it become a reality.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)