Auburn's emerging artistic community | Pinsker

By John Pinsker
For the Auburn Reporter

One Saturday recently, Mac and Scooter, the devilishly clever dachshund/beagle brothers, and I were sniffing our way down the new Division Street Promenade when we noticed that a new art gallery, Auburn Valley Creative Arts (AVCA), had opened next to the Auburn Area Chamber of Commerce.

We found this rather exciting since there is not usually much to see or do on the Promenade, other than getting a stylish haircut at Robin's, using one of the new sidewalk benches to rest our aching feet and paws.

We have been following AVCA's progress ever since their auction in November of 2010, designed to raise money for art-related activities. Since then, they have co-sponsored, along with the Auburn Downtown Association, two art walks and wine tastings. These events have attracted artists from throughout the valley and beyond. The auction proceeds have also funded the new gallery in which artists now have an opportunity to showcase their work.

The "boys" and I were welcomed by watercolor artist Conni Reinecke. She showed us around the facility, which consists of several rooms. Two of the smaller rooms double as meeting or class rooms.

Many artists have their works hanging on the wall, displaying a wide variety of art media. These works will be replaced every few months. Plans are in the works for at least one juried show each year.

I chatted with AVCA's co-chairperson, Lela Brugger. When I asked why this gallery was important, her eyes lit up and she said, "Art saves souls. Art is powerful. It speaks many languages; it is non-judgmental."

Much of the work on display gives proof to that: a landscape by East Indian Artist Douglas Ronser, which depicts, through an immigrant's eyes, a beautiful old barn in Auburn's farmlands; or Judy Ann Mathews, a vision-impaired photographer, who captures everyday objects with perspectives that two good eyes might not see; or young Stephen Ray, whose bizarre creature and landscapes reveal un underlying darkness.

Congratulations are due to AVCA for its new gallery and the City of Auburn for helping make it possible. The new promenade seems not so deserted any more. Mac, Scooter, and I just might meet you there.

Auburn resident John Pinsker is a retired public high school English teacher. Reach him at jonpin@aol.com

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