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New gallery show features Auburn's young artists

'30 & Under' shows through July 28
By: Krissi Khokhobashvili, Journal features editor
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Behold the power of Facebook.

PlacerArts’ newest art show is the result of a call to artists that took place completely over the Internet – via emails and social media posts.

The call was answered. The walls of The Arts Building Gallery are lined with 75 works by 29 artists, all under age 30.

“30 & Under” is curated by Elora Milby, Rachelle Lerude and Linda Green (the only exception to the “under 30” show requirement, Lerude pointed out with a smile). Milby, 19, is the program specialist for PlacerArts and Lerude, 24, is an intern and design student at College of Marin.

Angela Tahti, executive director of PlacerArts, said the intent of the show was that it be “completely stimulated by that age group.” To that end, she selected the curators and set them free to develop the show.

“I said, ‘OK, you guys come up with the plan and launch the call for artists completely in the way that you communicate at this age, electronically.”

Milby said she’s had positive responses by people perusing the show, expressing their enthusiasm to see what the area’s younger artists have to offer.

“I have gotten a couple of jokes that there should be a '50 and Over' show next,” she laughed.

Lerude, whose contributions to the multimedia show include a light fixture made out of zip-ties, said “30 & Under” showcases young artists from the Auburn area and throughout Northern California.

“Especially in Auburn, a smaller town, there’s a really strong older art crowd that’s at least advertised, or seen, or known,” she said.

“We wanted to see what the younger guys would bring in,” Milby added.

They brought in plenty, with media ranging from paintings and ceramics to furniture, jewelry and photography. The only criteria for showing besides the age requirement was that the art must be finished, ready to hang and able to fit through the doors.

Derek Smithson, 25, an Auburn artist, has several wooden tables on display in the center of the gallery, all made from wood from the area. It’s recycled, too – one table is made out of recycled redwood tank wood from his parents’ property.

“I really like it because it’s a 30-and-under show, so it was really relevant to my age group,” Smithson said, when asked what attracted him to the show. “And it’s just a platform to be able to show my work, which is really cool.”

Tahti said she couldn’t be more pleased with the way the show turned out, and has had positive re-sponses from gallery visitors.

“What has been really nice is that interplay of the public,” she said. “There have been many younger people coming in to look at it, and parents and grandparents coming in to see the work. It’s just a completely different vibe.”

In a time when arts organizations are suffering from a lack of participation in governance and program development by the emerging generation, Tahti added, it’s important to find ways for young people to be actively involved.

Oil and acrylic painter Linda Hao, 28, of Auburn, said she heard about the show via email and was intrigued.

“The fact that they try to gather young artists together to showcase their talents, and their points of view as artists” was what drew her to the show, she said. “I think that’s really great, because I feel like the younger artists, we have a lot to offer and we have a lot more modern and different views from the already established older artists. Of course they’re all good, and we learn from them, but I feel that we can bring a lot more different things to the table.”

Reach Krissi Khokhobashvili at krissik@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter, @AuburnJournalAE.

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“30 & Under”

What: Showing of artwork by artists under age 30

Where: The Arts Building Gallery, 808 Lincoln Way, Auburn

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, noon to 4 Saturday through July 28

Info: www.placerarts.org