‘MAP Gallery’ plots a course for all mediums

Music, art, poetry just the beginning for downtown venue
By: Paul Cambra, Features Editor
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MAP Agency
Music • Art • Poetry
Gold Country Mall, 1039 High St., Auburn
Gallery hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, or by appointment.
Phone: (916) 346-0955

The art of Kainan Becker
Opening reception: 6-9 p.m. Saturday. Show runs through Feb.23

Artists work in many mediums. For Pierre Butler, his first palette was a plate, his early creations of the culinary sort.
“I searched many ways to find my artistic pill,” Butler said. “Nothing worked until I got into the food industry. I had a passion for cooking and it opened doors to the art world.”
Now Butler, 48, is opening his own doors, so to speak, to artists of all avenues at the MAP Gallery in Downtown Auburn.
“I try to stay homegrown when scheduling shows,” Butler said. “I try to choose up and coming artists that have not been seen or heard very much.”
The gallery will not be limited to two-dimensional art. Butler, who is a ceramic sculptor and slam poet in addition to being a licensed chef, wants to include music, food and performance art as well.
“We’ll do tastings and food pairings,” Butler said, “Every opening reception will incorporate music, be it live or a deejay. We’ll host private affairs, intimate acoustic sets. I want to keep doors open for anyone artistically and incorporate any one or more of the arts at any given time. MAP is designed to create an atmosphere for artists to survive.”
MAP gallery’s mission is to “interweave exhibitions, performances, collections and educational programs to excite, challenge and illuminate our visitors and to provide insight into the creative process of the artist.”
Butler himself is involved in the education end of things, teaching ceramic classes to local youth in the Arts Building Gallery on Lincoln Way, where he is also an artist in residence.
Angela Tahti, executive director of PlacerArts, said Butler brings a very diverse perspective to the local art scene and works well with people of all ages.
“Young people especially relate to him,” she said. “He’s just so easy going.”
She thinks MAP gallery will provide a venue and a forum for artists who are finding it difficult to place their work or have their work seen.
“They’re mostly underground artists or unknown artists, many are self taught, but some are trained,” she said. “This venue will be a good two way street for the artist and the public.”
Tahti believes we saw the genesis of this in last year’s Placer Arts show “Writing on the Wall,” a completely graffiti-based show with nine artists, with Butler, who coordinated the show, among them.
“The public was so open to this, bringing what is usually done in the middle of the night in darkness into the light of day – from outdoors to indoor – and providing public access to it,” Tahti said. “The conversation that began from the public – people of all ages and the artists – Map Gallery will really take that dialogue forward and I’m really, really excited about that.”
Butler credits Gold Country Mall owner Talat Hussain for grabbing a hold of his vision and helping him make it happen.
“She was gracious enough to be supportive of this venture,” he said.
The gallery’s tagline - “Artist working for artist” – he best explains via a sports analogy.
“The best football coaches are ex-players,” he said. “Who better to promote and showcase art than former – or current – artists.”
PlacerArts publicist Karen Killebrew welcomes another showcase for the wide variety of talent in the area.
“It helps make Auburn and Placer County a destination for people who love art,” Killebrew said. “Pierre is such a multi-talented artist – potter, poet, musician – I have a lot of faith that whatever he does will be stimulating and an asset to the community.”
Beginning tomorrow, the gallery will welcome the work of abstract painter Kainan Becker for the first show of 2013. Exhibits typically run four to six weeks and the venue is booked solid through December.