SVA’s upcoming art show offers shades of blue

“Come listen to the Blues,” is SVA’s invitation to the public, “and see statewide sculpture as well.” The Sheboygan Visual Artists, 94 members strong, is hosting “Sculpture and Blues: Exercise for the Mind & Soul” this coming Final Friday, May 29, from 6 to 10 p.m., at EBCO Art- Works, 1201 Erie Ave. Free admission, free snacks, and free valet parking are included in the event.

For the first time ever this SVA Final Friday show includes artists who are not members of SVA. “Sculpture and Blues” features eighteen sculptors from around the state . from Milwaukee, Madison, Appleton, Oshkosh, Holland, Greendale, Kohler, Sheboygan, Sheboygan Falls, Cleveland, Adel, and Fredonia. SVA studio artists will exhibit art work on the gallery walls. Most of the art including the sculptures will be for sale. Live blues music by Michael Lee Ammons and the Water Street Hotshots on the main stage will take the energy up another notch. Later in the evening there will be a bit of a jam session.

The event, generously sponsored by HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital/ Prevea Behavioral Health, Mental Health America, and Aurora Healthcare will all participate in a mental wellness mini-fair happening in the SVA Art Factory space adjacent to the Main Gallery and will also include services provided by independent mental health providers such as Yurk Counselling. Visitors are encouraged to stop by the tables and catch up on the current services available in Sheboygan.

Overall, the sponsors expressed that they valued the opportunity to work with Sheboygan Visual Artists to further expand on the theme, “May is National Mental Health Awareness Month.” Art activities are important in the treatment of mental health conditions. Partnering with SVA provided an opportunity to the sponsors to reach out to the community thru an art venue. It was yet another way for them to spread awareness of treatments facilities in the Sheboygan area as well as to reduce the stigma that often accompanies mental health issues. Each sponsor will have time on the stage in the main gallery to give a brief overview of services while artist members and musicians will share personal stories as well.

The sculpture “Blue Note,” created by Steven M. Yankowski, Caroline, was discovered online, caught the attention of the event organizers and seemed a fitting image for the event. Yankowski generously allowed SVA to use the image as the emblem for the show and the actual work will be included in the exhibit along with a few large scale indoor outdoor pieces, one of which will be visible in front of EBCO Artworks on Erie Ave. the week prior to the May 29 event.

The sculptors, many of whom will be present that evening, have interesting stories to share and use varying materials for their work.

Viewers can expect to see “recycled and repurposed materials” in the work of C. Kai Marquardt, for example. Marquardt--who began with a degree from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Architecture and Urban Planning and now owns Flowquest Design/Built in Milwaukee--uses what some people might consider junk as his “primary sculptural medium . . . in an effort to promote sustainability, and to comalso bat the ever growing problem of accumulating waste.”

Each of her sculptures, says Amy Mietzel, “incorporates fiber, reflective writing, and painting on panels.” Meitzel, whose “lifetime love of art began with a cigar box full of crayons in her grandmother’s basement,” has taught art for over twenty years. She was instrumental in creating a “monumental billboard project through Dane Arts in Madison called ‘Honoring Imagination,’ which showcased middle school visual art on billboards” around the city. She’s also behind Bare Knuckle Arts, “a small independent art center with a big heart.” Mietzel says of her sculptures, “These recent mixed media pieces are simple but rich, celebratory but sad, and powerful yet quiet.”

Milwaukee Sculptor, Bilhenry Walker will be exhibiting several new pieces of light and steel. Walker owns a gallery in the Milwaukee area and his work in many corporate and private collections.

Among the exhibits will be a 3-D printer demo along with a full-sized replica of a human brain, printed by Dan Kelly, which will be offered to the highest bidder in a silent auction.

Featured at the opening reception of Sculpture and Blues will be music by “The Water Street Hotshots” the traditional string blues band of Michael Lee Ammons. The Water Street Hotshots have performed at places like Milwaukee’s Summerfest and the International Blues Challenge held in Memphis. One reviewer wrote, “These guys have the blues and it is our good fortune that they do. The Hot Shots are a talented bunch of fellows who bring a depth of musicality to the proceedings. Recommended listening,” another confessed, “Their CD ‘This Will Bring You Back’ made me want to visit Sheboygan.”

The art show in the Main Gallery at EBCO ArtWorks, the blues music, and the mental wellness mini-fair are free to the public and include free hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. Proceeds from the silent auction will support future SVA programming.

“Sculpture and Blues,” exhibit will continue through June 14 in the SVA Gallery on 12th and Erie open to the public Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visual Artist, Inc. is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Donations are appreciated.

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