By MARTA HEPLER DRAHOS, firstname.lastname@example.org
TRAVERSE CITY — Laser light photography, paintings created with recycled house paint and a neon-flashing Game Boy. They're all part of the Grand Traverse Art Bomb at Right Brain Brewery.
The winter-long "community art festival" gives independent artists a chance to display and sell their work commission-free in a gallery setting, said co-creator and -organizer Ryan Walsh. It features about 40 artists who will bring up to 20 works each in exchange for a $25-$50 entry fee.
"We are pretty much transforming the entire Right Brain into an art gallery for three months," said Walsh, of Traverse City, who will bring his laser light photography.
The all-media show opens Saturday, Jan. 5, with a reception from 11 a.m. to close. The event features live music by nearly a dozen bands including Blake Elliot and the Robinson Affair, The Accidentals, Clint Weaner, E-Minor, Angela Josephine, Fauxgrass Quartet, G-Snacks, Rootstand and BloodShot Victory.
The reception is one of three planned for the show. Others include an Encore Reception on Feb. 2 and a Closing Reception on March 2.
Walsh said the show is a bigger, longer, more collaborative version of one that debuted in July 2011 at Ecco in downtown Traverse City.
"The last show was a one-day show the second day of (Traverse City) Film Festival," said Walsh, who partnered with friend Jennifer Haase to create the event. "We were pretty much brainstorming on how we can put an art show together because we wanted to do an art show.
"We're both artists and we wanted to have some kind of art show, but we knew the financial burden of hosting a show is fairly costly. So we wanted to have a way to cover our ground to at least break even, and involving the community was the key."
Enter Right Brain, a former cavernous warehouse on 16th Street that regularly displays art on its walls.
"The idea that he has is that it looks like a bomb goes off in the building and it explodes everywhere," said Leif Kolt, the brewery's "kickdog" and branding, events and marketing coordinator. "So there will be art all over.
"What appealed to us is the fact that it's a commission-free show," Kolt said. "This show is geared toward independent or lesser-known artists who don't necessarily have a chance to get into other galleries because of subject matter, the demographics of the gallery or just finances.
"This hopefully allows them to get their art out there in a format where the money goes directly to them. This is kind of our payback to artists."
Elk Rapids artist Savannah Burke will bring her mixed media work in acrylics, pastels, spray paint and recycled house paint. The semi-abstract paintings are created on hand-prepared painter's canvas and framed in recycled wood from old window and picture frames.
A junior in Northwestern Michigan College's visual communications program, Burke said she hopes the show will be a twice-annual, signature event for the area.
"I think it's a really big thing for Traverse City," Burke said. "Grand Rapids has ArtPrize and it's phenomenal. I hope this grows to that point someday."
Seamus Mulready is the youngest artist to participate, and will be displaying his photography. The 12-year-old will be on hand from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. Jan. 5.
The show runs daily through March 30 but is closed to minors after 9 p.m. Admission is free.
For more information, visit Grand Traverse Art Bomb on Facebook.