What can be better than gallery gasps and giggles with God on a Saturday night?
Those reactions, and more, were all part of the Trail Arts Council’s opening season in the Greater Trail Community Centre on the weekend.
The evening began with a grand re-opening at the VISAC Gallery with “Dimensions of Colour,” then carried two floors up to the Bailey Theatre with “God is a Scottish Drag Queen,” a one-man show performed by Canadian comedian Mike Delamonte.
A steady stream of guests first dropped into the VISAC to take in the multi-artist exhibit described as “exploring the bounds of space and hue,” featuring large scale pieces by Rossland’s Brad Waring, upcycled wood mosaics by Brian Kalbfleisch of Nelson, an abstract piece by Sarah Elizabeth and a series of watercolours by Jamie Davis.
The showcase runs until Oct. 21, however, there were a few colourful one-night surprises thrown into the mix – use of the human body as canvas with fleeting wearable art pieces by VISAC director and artist Kristen Renn.
It was those two models, Kai Kafrissen as Decadence and Becca Jean as Outlying, that had visitors doing a double take, taking in a breath or letting out a laugh, once guests realized the statues were in fact, “real.”
Decadence was almost fully saturated with colour and pomp, suggesting the embodiment of confidence and welcoming attention in a noble “peacocking” manner. Outlying, on the other hand, was a curious inward piece of Renn’s. Appearing marble-like, the statue was a “watcher” from the sidelines, not one who lives in the view of others, she explained.
“When creating the concept for these pieces I knew I wanted to have two ‘statues’ and I didn’t just want two statues that just generally fit the theme of the exhibit,” Renn said. “I wanted to give more to viewers than just a ‘painted person,’ I wanted each ‘piece/statue’ to convey one half of an overall artistic concept with the exhibit theme in mind.
“So each piece, only to live for that one night, was to convey one side of the same coin – they would not exist without each other, for they represent the balance of spectrum.”
Besides showcasing new local art, there was another eye-catching changeover in the downtown gallery.
“During the summer VISAC Gallery & Art Centre secured granting to move forward with some much needed and anticipated upgrades,” said Renn. “The largest part of the project being all new lighting throughout the gallery and work spaces.
“Contractors, building staff, and VISAC volunteers have been hard at work the past few months and it sure has paid off .. we waited for the completion of the projects to open with a bang on Oct 1.”
This season’s line up is diverse, and includes a solo-photography show by local artist Richard Soltice and in the new year, an exhibit by Kootenay visual artist, Stephanie Kellett.
The VISAC strives to support and display many types of artists and give the local community the opportunity to see a variety of exhibits, Renn added.
“Come celebrate, enjoy, participate, and feel a part of your local arts community.”
Following the gallery opening, the crowd ushered upstairs for the first performance in The Bailey’s E2 series.
Donned in a floral “power suit” and brunette bob, comedian Mike Delamonte kept the audience in stitches as “God” opined about everything from fandom and Spanx to religion and pop culture.
Whether it was the new online ticketing system or the catchy show name, “God” turned out way better than expected, says guest services manager Nadine Tremblay.
Usually the E2 series is held in the Muriel Griffiths room, which fits up to 100 patrons.
But on Saturday, Delamonte’s show sold 245 tickets and was performed on the main stage.
“I needed to sell more than that (100 tickets) to break even and I think it’s fair to say we did,” Tremblay exclaimed. “Online ticketing sales are, for the most part, going great. Patrons are making use of the service, it’s a little early to tell, but I think sales have increased as a result.”
Kinks are still being worked out, she cautions.
“From our side of things the learning curve is high, the installation and training was complicated – new technology is awesome but it is just that, new. So it makes everything we do a new process and that process affects everything … but only for a short while, I hope.”
With stellar shows expected to bring out large crowds, the arts council is taking on another ambitious project in the new year – one that will allow people to mix and mingle during intermissions.
“Bar and lounge renovations begin in