munity is a project of a ginger group called Betzalel Arts. They are local artists in the community, supported by the Calgary JCC, who have come up with a plan to showcase what their fellow artists are doing and to generally promote awareness of art in the community.
If you have been to the Calgary JCC lately you will have noticed the handsome new display in the common area. It is the plan to rotate local art on a continuing basis; the exceptions being when there are major events such as the UJA campaign and others which need the display space.
Betzalel Arts is just a start-up organization, but it has lofty plans for the future. Founded through the initiative of artist Louise Blank, among the ideas they are
looking at include an annual Arts Week festival, displaying art at other community venues, perhaps even renting or leasing art to private homes and businesses, and other ideas that artists in the group may come up with.
“Our main goal is to bring art back to the Jewish community and to better connect artists to the community and artists with each other,” Louise Blank said in an interview.
Louise Blank is a writer by training, both technical and freelance, and has a fair bit of business experience. She wants to use that experience, and her own enjoyment as a painter, to build a long-lasting organization that will not only make the community more aware of art, but to promote the well-being of artists.
Through the website www.betzalelarts.com she wants to encourage artists to share information and ideas about how to promote themselves more professionally, how to work together to maximize their opportunities as artists, and how to better make art a part of regular life in the community.
“There are a lot of things we can do together as artists to promote our work,” she says. “For example, we could host a business breakfast and display artists work, or arrange dinner parties in various homes where a group of artists might bring some of their paintings.”
Betzalel Arts also wants to encourage local artists to grow. This could include holding professional workshops, hosting artists retreats, and meetings on issues specific to artists. Eight artists have already signed up as members and several others are interested. Membership will be structured to encourage participation by entry level artists and those who are already on the professional level, meaning they have exhibited previously.
The website Betzalel Arts is developing will allow artists to have their own page to display their art and talk about it with the public. This solution has two advantages in that the public can experience the work of variety of artists in the same electronic
location, and it saves artists from the work and expense of maintaining their own
“We will have an online submission process to manage the website,” says Mali
Docktor, one of the organizers behind Betzalel Arts. “By bringing artists together it definitely works to their advantage because it can be hard work and costly to mount and curate your own shows.” She says Betzalel Arts, with the support of the
Calgary JCC, will definitely provide more frequent and more cost effective exhibi-tions for local artists.
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