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Published: Thursday, 9/13/2007

Artomatic sets the stage for gallery tours, performance art, and music

BY TAHREE LANE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

This weekend's Artomatic 419 Lite is built by artsy types for people who enjoy being around the buzz of creativity.

Did we mention it's free?

It begins with workshops for artists and a trade show at the Main Branch of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library today.

Tomorrow night's Meet & Greet VI is a continuous bus loop from 7 to 10 p.m., shuttling between 10 galleries in and near downtown. The hub will be the Maumee Bay Brewing Company, with stops at the Schmidt/Messenger gallery-studio, Secor Gallery, Parkwood Gallery, the University of Toledo's Center for the Visual Arts, Paula Brown Gallery, 20 North, Space 237, Brenda's Chocolate Shop, and the Collingwood Arts Center. It does not include the Artomatic exhibit in Fort Industry Square, because organizers wanted to focus the Meet & Greet on existing galleries.

Some galleries will offer refreshments.

Saturday and Sunday, the action centers on the Artomatic 419 Lite exhibition in the Fort Industry Square block of buildings. With an estimated 200 artists showing a wide range of work, bands playing on two stages, showings of the film Two Toledos, and poetry readings, the family-friendly event will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Much of the space, which houses Murphy's Place jazz club at its north end, is vacant; portions of all levels will be occupied this weekend with a single entrance on Water Street, says Dustin Hostetler of the sponsoring organization, the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo. The kitchen at Murphy's Place will be open extended hours.

Artists were asked to submit proposals outlining something funny or interesting that they'd always wanted to do but never had the spaceo. Those proposals helped shape their thoughts about how to present their work, giving this show more direction than last September's Artomatic 419, which had an impromptu feel. That first Artomatic 419, patterned after an event in Washington, drew an estimated 5,000 people over four Saturdays.

Also beneficial to artists was having a deadline, notes Margaret Lockwood-Lass, co-chairman of Artomatic's visual art committee.

Displayed will be mainstream arts - painting, sculpture, photography - as well as installations, graffiti, computer, and audio-visual pieces.

One room, graced with chandelier and fireplace, was the ideal location for Crafting a Perfect Dinner Party with Decorative Diplomacy, says Ms. Lockwood-Lass, Stephanie Rozene and Jennifer Locke used frivolity to set Laura Bush's dinner table for various heads of state; the tableware and menus are tailored to the wealth or deficit of each leader's country.

Toledo Remanufactured, by Amy Fidler and Jenn Stucker, includes the work of a dozen graphic artists and students. The room is fashioned to look like a graphic design studio; one wall is covered with collage-like work; another with tiles of design elements.

In Lovers & Fighters, John Walz juxtaposes photographs of wrestling and boxing matches with weddings.

"A lot of artists have their own rooms or spaces. There were a lot of offices," says Ms. Lockwood-Lass.

She created an environment with a Victorian feel - a rug on the floor, quilts and old clothing spilling out of trunks, family photographs. "It's sort of reinforcing images. It adds to your experience."

Jessica Crawford's Through the Looking Glass is four painted windows with stands that the viewer walks through.

Melissa Harding's photographs of her deceased daughter, Michaela Harding, is in a room with the child's wheelchair, quilt, and teddy bear.

In addition, several organizations are showing the work of their members, including Prizm, Owens Community College, and Bowling Green State University, which has three groups. including a class that made experimental cameras and has turned a little room into a pinhole camera.

Also Saturday, dozens of artists will open their studios to the public from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., including some buildings used by many artists, such as the Secor Studios, Olive Street Studios, and the Collingwood Arts Center.

Visitors can join Meet & Greet VI at the Maumee Bay Brewing Company, 27 Broadway St., or at any of the locations on the shuttle-bus tour. Artomatic 419 Lite will be at Fort Industry Square, 124 North Summit St. between Monroe and Jefferson streets Saturday (11 a.m. to 11 p.m.) and Sunday (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.). Entrance is the Water Street door facing the river, just north of the center of the block. A complete schedule of events, performances, and a map of artist studios is at www.artomatic419.org. Additional information from the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo: 419-254-2787.

Contact Tahree Lane at:

tlane@theblade.com

or 419-724-6075.



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