Pedestrians on South Ninth Street were treated to a colorful array of landscapes and abstracts Friday evening, all courtesy of plain old sidewalk chalk and some enterprising local artists. Long-time professional artist Paul Jackson hovered on hands and knees over what looked in its early stages to be a sunset scene, bathing the sidewalk in front of the Columbia Art League in stunning oranges, pinks and corals.
Nearby, Mary O’Brien, recent Hickman graduate and the recipient of this year’s Art League scholarship, carefully blended pastels with her chalk to capture the movement of a large fish navigating the pavement.
“Events like this bring art to the people,” said Diana Moxon, executive director of the Art League. She means it quite literally, as passers-by stop dead to admire the work being created in their path as part of Friday’s installment of Artrageous.
Artrageous is a quarterly event that kicked off this April, and is an extension of the gallery crawls that have been taking place in Columbia since 2001. Artrageous is free and open to the public, and the many participating downtown galleries and businesses offer extended hours and, often, tasty appetizers. Last year the event drew a crowed of about 500.
This quarter drew more of the same impressive turnout, and inspired some participating galleries to blend their altruistic tendencies with their work.
Jill Flinn, who spoke about her work on display at Bluestem Missouri Crafts, said she draws much of her artistic inspiration from the work she does helping to place abandoned animals in loving homes. Many of the animals she has taken in have become characters in her art due to their memorable antics.
“I get so much inspiration from their interactions,” Flinn said
The newly opened Spare Parts Gallery debuted a new show entitled “Gimme Shelter” on Friday and opted to donate 10 percent of its sales to The Shelter for victims of domestic violence.
“We thought we could spread our altruistic wings and give back a bit,” said Lisa Bartlett during a rare lull in the gallery’s buzzing conversation.
Poppy’s Deborah McCormick said she hoped that over time Artrageous Fridays might help Columbians develop an appreciation for the art in their own backyard.
“It could broaden someone’s knowledge or awaken someone’s interest. It’s an opportunity to see things they would otherwise not have an opportunity to see,” she said.
The next Artrageous Friday is set for October 26. For more information, go to artrageousfridays.com.