There will be a $10 charge to see "The Art Show," coming up July 30 and 31 at the Riviera Condominiums. Charging people to see private exhibits has always seemed weird to me — sort of like Dillard's charging a fee to shop. Then again, bars charge covers to see musical talent. So I asked Michelle Renee, artist and the publicity person for the show, for her thoughts about charging admission to an exhibit.
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Renee wrote that last fall, she was complaining to her friend Ray Wittenberg about the constant requests artists get to donate work to benefit auctions that folks have paid $100 to get into, and getting nothing in return — not even free press. "If you open the society pages the people who bought the art/tickets are featured, not the artists," she said in her e-mail.
They decided to propose to developer Jimmy Moses that he let them use a condo in the River Market tower for their exhibit space — they'd get free space and he'd get free advertising. He agreed.
"But being an artist and not selling a lot right now, we were broke as far as putting on a party." They settled on a $10 per night ticket. Everyone said, I spend that much on a cover and drinks at a bar."
This year, the group was able to make the same arrangement with the Riviera Condominums, which are new and trying to attract buyers.
"So basically, you are paying for seeing the condo, seeing the art, eating, drinking, socializing, listening to music and being in a drawing for a free piece of art," she said. A painting by Elizabeth Weber will be the prize in the drawing.
Artists and photographers in the show: Liz Noble, George Wittenberg, Theresa Smith, Weber, Emily Wood, Robert Bean, Spencer Jansen, Renee, Virmarie DePoyster, Kevin Kresse, Ray Wittenberg, Tod Crites and Kelly Edwards.
"The Art Show" starts at 7 p.m. July 30 and 6 p.m. July 31. A portion of the ticket price will go to the Our House shelter for its bus pass program.
I'll post more images of work you'll see in the show in the days to come.