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Boxy is beautiful in new PlacerArts show

PlacerArts celebrates fourth annual show
By: Loryll Nicolaisen, Journal Features Editor
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Give unassuming boxes out to artists and you’ll be blown away with what happens. The Arts Building Gallery’s “Outside the Box” is a PlacerArts fundraiser in its fourth year. PlacerArts handed over 100 wooden boxes to regional artists, giving them two months to create something extraordinary from a seemingly simple shape. “Anything goes,” Angela Tahti, PlacerArts executive director, said of the finished products. “The rules are to use the box in any way and that the original work must fit through the front door of The Arts Building and be ready to hand or stand for public display in The Arts Building Gallery.” The shape and the dimensions of the box has changed over the years — last year artists worked with 9-inch plywood cubes, and this year they got to deal with five-sided boxes that were 15 inches in height and width with a 3-inch diameter. The finished products are now up for auction. Silent bids started Thursday night during the Auburn Art Walk, and continue up until May 14, when the Live Auction Gala is scheduled. Tahti said the Outside the Box committee aimed for more regional participation this year. Those who’ve participated in the past were invited back, but notable artists from the Sacramento region and San Francisco area were also contacted. The show has always been popular, and there is always a wait list for boxes, Tahti said. This year’s list was longer than last year’s, she said. It’s always a delight when artists bring back their creations. “Once again, there is a wide-range of submissions realistic and abstract, from whimsical wall hangings to functional furniture and gallant garden sculpture,” Tahti said. “From Robin Rice’s sardonic ‘House of Cards’ to Nancy Hakula’s poetic ‘After the Quake,’ each artist has taken the same simple box to a new and unexpected place.” First-timer Linda Roberts-Pierce has had her eye on the Outside the Box project for a couple years. “I really like the idea of taking a box, taking a look at the piece and not even looking at it as a box,” she said. When Roberts-Pierce, co-owner of Sierra Moon Goldsmiths, finally got her hands on a box this year she teamed up with the Old Town shop’s former owners Jan and Gary Lord to create what she calls “Shanghai Tin-Type,” an artistic tribute to Auburn’s Shanghai Bar and Restaurant and its original owner Charles Yue. “I started deciding I wanted to do something reminiscent of the Shanghai,” Roberts-Pierce said of the 100-plus-year-old Old Town destination, which closed in 2005. “I had these old ceiling tiles, these old tin tiles.” Roberts-Pierce assembled tile pieces to form a sort of collage atop wood from the box. “It’s little bit of history of Auburn, and I was real happy with the finished piece,” she said. Anyone happy with Roberts-Pierce’s finished piece, or any other Outside the Box creation, can bid on work as part of a silent auction that continues until the show’s gala, which takes place on May 14 at the Arts Building Gallery. The top silent auction bid for each piece serves as a starting auction price during the gala, called by professional auctioneer Dan Macon. “These artists have given of their hearts and imaginations to provide joy and provoke thought and raise needed funds in support of PlacerArts’ public programs,” Tahti said. __________ In the Know What: Outside the Box show, a fundraiser benefitting PlacerArts When: Exhibit open through May 14 Where: Arts Building Gallery, 808 Lincoln Way, Downtown Auburn Good to know: Silent-auction bidding on Outside the Box creations is open now through May 14. The show concludes with a gala and live auction from 7-11 p.m. May 14 at the Arts Building Gallery Info: (530) 885-5670, www.placerarts.org