QUEEN OF ARTS: Celebrating Local Creative Spirit
BY STEPHANIE WILLIAMS
Slightly off the beaten path of Fairport’s main stroll, Outside the Box Gallery provides an eclectic selection of paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and more by a collective of independent local artists. Located in The Box Factory office building overlooking the Erie Canal, the gallery houses an abundance of works from decorative figurines to printed scarves suitable for gift giving. Recently opened in November, the gallery’s members have developed a myriad of creative ways to partner with fellow community entrepreneurs and inviting the public to think outside their own proverbial boxes.
Chicago native Nancy Radzik, currently residing in Ontario, realized her lifelong dream of opening a gallery following the close of a gallery in Pittsford she frequently exhibited at. With the help of her fellow full-time artists – many of whom had had some association with the well-connected and active artist – they transformed a small suite in The Box Factory into a new dimension of creativity. Brimming with variety and walls nearly covered with painting and sculpture, it’s clear it won’t be long until the co-op will need a larger space.
Why did these artists choose Fairport over Park Avenue or the South Wedge? “Fairport residents support their local businesses,” says Radzik. She also notes the large amount of foot traffic throughout the warmer seasons as an attraction.
“Most of our work’s subject matter centers around nature,” explains Ms. Radzik. From watercolors and sculpture to cards and mixed media, the gallery is a hub celebrating local creativity on all levels. Interestingly enough, when sorting through the co-op’s works to display, there was one particular orb that seemed to jump from artist to artist. “The Moon Wall came about quite by accident,” notes co-op member Ann Bavis. “It seemed like almost every artist had a moon-themed work of art.”
The gallery’s desire to reach out to the community beyond themselves will become evident throughout this year, with previous exhibitions including “Once Upon A Dumpster,” in which 14 artists submitted pieces using repurposed materials including denim jeans and sleeping bag linings.
“The Once Upon a Dumpster exhibit evolved out of a desire to have some artwork in the gallery made out of recycled materials,” says Radzik. “It was a huge success.”
Most recently, the gallery hosted and exhibit called “Purse-sonalities,” a collection of vintage handbags altered into imaginative sculptures by the co-op and community artists. The exhibit featured handbags from all walks of life, altered in a variety of ways attempting to encompass the identity of the unknown previous owner.
The gallery hopes to reach out to the community throughout the year with a number of other special events including participating in Fairport Canal Days, a juried exhibition comprised solely of works by college students, and organizing an artsy scavenger hunt. Additionally, community artists interested in becoming a part of the Outside the Box co-op are welcome to submit their own work for inclusion in the gallery.
Outside the Box Gallery is located at The Box Factory building in Fairport.