One of the most beneficial and interesting aspects of a place like the Independent Media Center is that it exists in a constant state of evolution . It is always adapting to meet the needs and desires of the community for which it was created. In its twenty-four month history, the IMC has been home to a newspaper , a radio show, a concert venue, a library, and a site for political meetings, among other uses. In its newest incarnation, the IMC will be home to an art gallery.
Holding monthly shows, it will be the newest addition to the thriving fine-arts community in Urbana-Champaign. It is meant to be a forum for all artists, including those who may not have access to the larger galleries, as well as already established and even nationally recognized members of the arts community.
Jason Pitzl-Waters, a local fine artist and member of the IMC, has been organizing the campaign to create a permanent gallery space at the IMC. After asking himself, ” Why are some of these really talented artists not having shows and why isn’t anyone doing anything about it?”, he decided that he would attempt to facilitate this project. He brought his proposal to the IMC Steering Committee, where it was accepted, and since then Pitzl-Waters has been spearheading work sessions to shape the middle room of the IMC building into a space suitable for this type of project.
While the IMC does work by consensus, this project is Pitzl-Waters’s brainchild . He has been actively seeking out artists and booking shows for the upcoming months. He has also tried to make clear that there is a vision behind this project. He is attempting to make fine art more accessible and less intimidating to the general audience. “The main point that you have to remember as an artist,” he says, “is that art is made for an audience. The moment we begin to forget that, we’ve failed as artists.” Which means that this will not be your typical urban art gallery. “If you’ve ever done a tour of galleries in Chicago, for example, you wind up in these cold, stark, imposing edifices. The kind of place where the person behind the counter will give you the once over and decide that since you’re not a millionaire and you aren’t going to spend thousands on art today, you’re not even worth acknowledging,” he says. “I want this to be the antithesis of that. I’m sick of drinking bad white wine and going to cheesy art shows.”
The gallery opening will definitely not have that type of atmosphere. Taking place on October 17, it will be a benefit for the space, hoping to recoup money used for materials to get the room ready for the first show. “It’s going to be more of a party. We ‘ll have bands playing, maybe some food, and definitely some really cool art.” The first show will feature work by Pitzl-Waters himself and will be called “Tarot Visions”. Much of the work has been inspired from the imagery found on tarot cards, those mystical and often misunderstood tools of fortunetellers. “Tarot cards use images with really broad symbology. I’m using this framework in my paintings to convey my own ideas about the concepts that are brought up through the cards. Also, I try to feminize some of the ideas that are usually portrayed with males. Women have gotten a bum rap, especially when dealing with this range of topics. In my work, I’m making women the focus. These are, in my mind, strong women that are encompassing these huge concepts.” His medium is oil on board and/or canvas.
“Tarot Visions” begins October 15 at the Independent Media Center; located at 218 West Main Street in Urbana. For more information, call the IMC at (217) 344 -8820 or go to the IMC gallery website at http://www.gallery.ucimc.org.
Alex took 7 years after high school to “travel, work and experience life in what is so incorrectly referred to as the real world.” He decided to continue his education when he realized that he could not make a living doing anything that involved brain power without a college degree. He decided on the U of I due to its academic reputation and surrounding artistic/creative scene. Alex is a journalism major.