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Creating a Platform for Breakthrough Artists: FiveMyles Gallery

By Elisha Neubauer

FiveMyles Gallery first appeared on the art scene in as a non-profit organization in 1999 with a mission to garner public interest in the innovative arts and draw focus to under-represented artists. The gallery worked hard to establish a connection to the community- attempting to engage them through direct participation in the arts. The gallery has now become a fixture in the area, and was awarded an OBIE award for "presenting magnificent contemporary works that fully engage the folks in the neighborhood," only one year after opening its doors to the public.

FiveMyles receives funding state, city and private foundations, with the goal of promoting public interest in innovative art. Although they do work with more recognizable artists on occasion, FiveMyles strives to exhibit lesser-known- but not less talented- artists. Hanne Tierney, Director of the Gallery, says, "We don't only exhibit under-represented artists, but it certainly presents a challenge to find exciting and interesting work that has not been seen much by the public. It's probably a gambler's satisfaction for having taken a risk and won. Exposing the work of an under-represented artist to the public has the added satisfaction of affirming a talented artist and to encouraging him or her to continue working."

When it comes to reaching out to the community, Tierney states they have a firm open-door policy. "Kids come into the gallery after school for homework help and to use our computers, we only hire local residents for all maintenance and repair work, and in return the community has accepted FiveMyles as part of its essential social fabric," remarks Tierney.

One of the most well known, and loved, events hosted by the gallery is perhaps the St. John's Place Onstage. Now in its sixteenth year, this iconic event showcases local talent right in the community. The sidewalk in front of the gallery hosts a communal barbecue and performances, including music, dance, comedy and spoken word. "The highlight every year is the young girls. They rehearse their dance during the summer in the gallery and then perform for delight and pride of the neighborhood," says Tierney.

During the summer months and gaps in exhibitions, the gallery hosts a series entitled The Space Program. This program allows anyone to utilize the space during a period when it would be otherwise empty, free of charge. Tierney speaks highly of this program, saying, "In a city where space is unaffordable to most young artists, we consider this an essential service. This program has become so much sought after that we have become quite over scheduled."

If you are an artist looking to show your work, a filmmaker in need of a screening location, a performance artist requiring a space, or merely an art lover ? find your way over to FiveMyles Gallery. You are sure to find something to spark your interest and love of the arts within their walls. There is always something to see or do at FiveMyles, and their door is always open.

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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