BY SUE KOLSTAD
This September the Vine Arts Center will be celebrating its reopening with a Member Show, dedication and thank you to our supporters.
The Vine arts Center had been closed for a few months due to COVID when, on May 29, 2020, sparks from the burning Hexagon Bar found their way to the Ivy Building for the Arts and a fire started on the roof. Some neighbors who live a block away saw the beginning of the fire and came to help and alert any tenants still in the building. A crew of neighbors and tenants worked on the roof trying to contain the flames. Eventually the fire department was able to get there and began to fight the fire. Most of the building, including several studios and the Vine Arts Center, was severely damaged. It has taken until this summer for the building to be repaired to a point where tenants could return. We owe thanks to those neighbors for their help two years ago.
We also thank the Lake Street Council, whose support has been instrumental in our ability to reopen.
We are finishing the work to bring the gallery back to usable condition and plan to have a Member Show starting Sept. 17-18 as part of the LoLa Art Crawl. This will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days, and others in the building will also have their spaces open.
The following week, on Sept. 24 from 6 to 9 p.m., we will celebrate our return and dedicate the spaces to three important people in our development. We will be dedicating the Vine Arts Center to the memory of Howard Gelb, a World War II veteran, prominent attorney, real estate developer and patron of the arts, without whose generosity and support the Vine Arts Center would not exist. He transformed the Flour City Ornamental Iron Works building into the Ivy Building for the Arts and this vibrant arts center. The small gallery will be dedicated in memory of Mark D. Roberts, a founding member of the Vine Arts Center. Mark was a pioneer gallerist, mixed media artist and beloved mentor. He championed and helped legitimize photography in the fine art world. Mark considered himself first and foremost a photographer, working in black and white photography and alternative processes. And the shop will be dedicated to the memory of Mary Stiff, artist and founding Vine Arts Center board member and treasurer, who worked tirelessly to make the gallery and store a success. Mary was a jewelry maker, painter and choral singer who derived her inspiration from her travels.
We currently have an open call for art to support our fundraiser for Soup For You in the Seward neighborhood which provides free lunches every weekday and free groceries once a week. You can check our Facebook page or vineartscenter.org for more information. The show and sale of this art will be Nov. 19 in person at the gallery and online.
Join us as we honor those who made us who we are, celebrate our ability to fight off fire and rebuild, and explore what the future has to offer.