According to Wikipedia, the traditional gift for a third-year anniversary is leather or glass, the flower is sunflower, and the gemstone is moonstone. That's all rather boring. Location Gallery Director Peter E. Roberts has a much more fitting third-year anniversary idea: Pink.
Roberts is celebrating the third-year anniversary of Location Gallery at Austin Hill Realty with an abundance of pink and a show made up of a wide sampling of artists who call Savannah home.
“It's not exactly a groundbreaking show,” says Roberts. “But it's a palette challenge to local artists. It's called 'Lush — A Celebration in Pink' and it's work in various shades of pink by local artists. Over 30 artists all in different mediums.”
Setting a standard
Location Gallery has become one of the premiere galleries in Savannah to showcase the work of local and regional artists. And Roberts has helped set a standard for professionalism in Savannah's art community, as his relationships with so many in the local art scene show. His partnership with Austin Hill has also helped set a standard in the way the gallery partners with a nonprofit for each exhibition and gives a portion of the proceeds of sales to that nonprofit. Lush will be no exception.
“We're kicking off women's month with Lush because it's our third-year anniversary and our nonprofit is the League of Women Voters Coastal Empire,” says Roberts. “I love that they're nonpartisan and they're all about voter education and informed voting and it's your civic duty and it all fits together! Plus, we're encouraging everyone to wear pink, so it's going to be a very beautiful night.”
After a March 1 opening, the show will be on view through March 29. The list of artists includes Stacie Jean Albano, Randy Akers, Sandra Jean Attales, Kelly Boehmer, Deneen Broxton-Knight, Angela Burson, Lennie Ciliento, Denise Duong, James Graham, Maggie Hayes, Rob Hessler, Bert John, Axelle Kieffer, Michael Mahaffey, Elena Madden, Tobia Makover, Rubi McGrory, Cora Ennis Morris, Bellamy Murphy, Tiffany Luper O'Brien, Melody Postma, Dana Richardson, Peter Erwin Roberts, Danielle Hughes Rose, Lisa Rosenmeier Kyriakos, Katherine Sandoz, Alexandro Santana, Shea Slemmer, Daniel E. Smith, June Stratton, Heather Szatmary, Calvin Woodum, Ben Tollefson, Troy Wandzel and Lisa D. Watson.
Local creatives' venue
As some of the participating artists can attest, Roberts’ reputation in Savannah is already legend.
“Peter has combined respect for the artist and the art of giving as part of the inspiration for Location Gallery,” says participating artist Smith. “By allowing local creatives a venue in which they can contribute to the needs of the many and maintain a reasonable income from their work, Peter has contributed greatly to the visibility and viability of the arts in Savannah.
"The former Savannah model of asking artists to donate work for a cause harmed the local art market by underselling galleries and artists without doing anything to help the artist to keep creating and was economically unsustainable. This was one of the concerns we all have been trying to address and Peter has made a success of it in his venue, as has Hospice Savannah with their art/donation structure. Working with Peter is a delight and an education!”
Participating artist O'Brien appreciates how Roberts challenges artists and also inspires them.
“Working with Peter is quite exciting as he thinks a lot in themes for the group shows,” says O'Brien. “As an artist, I know it keeps me interested in participating in them. Naturally there are some themes that I fall right into, such as this show and its color scheme. Then there are other shows that stretch you as an artist and that is quite challenging and fresh. Artists need to be jarred loose sometimes.
“Peter also has developed relationships with a wide variety of artists. I always love the shows at Location Gallery as I never know what I will see ... The walls in Location Gallery are always hip and inspiring. As a patron and artist I appreciate this. The vision, passion and excitement that Peter has for Location Gallery has made it a true treasure for the Savannah art scene.”
Longtime friend, collaborator and participating artist McGrory says Roberts deserves “a ton of accolades” for the work he's doing.
“Peter has such a generous vision of what the Savannah art scene could be,” says McGrory. “In an ARC lecture [recently], Amy Paige Condon asked us what the Savannah School is (vs Hudson Valley school, etc.). I have no idea, but I suspect that Peter does. In Peter's vision of Savannah art, there is room for lots of artists. He doesn't just focus on a select few, but brings people in from a wide variety of styles and viewpoints, not just the local A-listers. It's not all marsh and live oak oil paintings. The work he shows is professional, but has a lot more to say.
“I love how excited he gets about his ideas for shows, and his sense of humor,” McGrory says. “He takes what he does very seriously, he works his [rear end] off, but he's going to have a laugh and have fun with what he's doing. I think the word I want is passion. He's pretty passionate about creating a connection between Savannah artists and the people of the city. He wants people to be able to afford to hang art in their homes, he wants to show people there is so much more to the Savannah art scene. And he wants to give proper exposure to many talented Savannah artists ...
“I would be remiss not to say something about Austin Hill. The generous partnership between Austin Hill Realty and Location Gallery benefits everyone in Savannah. Not only do we get a rotating show of fresh local art, amazing opportunities for artists to display work, but the community benefits. Hill doesn't take any of the normal (50 percent) gallery profits, but donates them to a different local charity.”
Kristopher Monroe is a writer documenting the intersection of art and community. Contact him at email@example.com and follow on Twitter @savartscene.