By Myki Jones
The Art Base in Basalt opened their annual fundraiser, “10×10 Name Unseen,” with events on Aug. 6 and Aug. 7. The silent auction continues through Aug. 21 and will be followed by a grand opening celebration for The Art Base’s new location in Basalt. The Art Base opened their gallery back up in May of this year and this auction event is “the most important fundraiser of the year,” according to The Art Base Executive Director Skye Skinner.
The event is made possible through collaboration with many local artists, donating over 100 unique pieces to the auction. Both well-known and up-and-coming, each artist contributed a 10 inch by 10 inch canvas with their signature hidden on the back. The artists remain completely anonymous until the auction’s conclusion, with bidding open both online and in-person. Winning bidders will be announced at the grand opening celebration.
As a nonprofit arts organization, The Art Base relies on fundraising and donations to keep bringing the joys and stories of art to the community. Their new home, also known as the Three Bears Building, is located in the heart of historic downtown Basalt. The property was purchased in November of 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. “2020 was a ‘year from hell’ for a lot of people,” stated Skinner, “but it ended up being ‘a heaven’ for us as we were able to buy this building and have a permanent home for The Art Base. We are thankful and excited to share our new home with the public.”
The building provides more opportunity for The Art Base’s programs by providing space for both exhibiting artwork and educational opportunities. The building includes increased facility space, a 1,400 square foot gallery space, a 700 square foot adult education classroom and an 800 square foot youth classroom.
At the onset of the pandemic, The Art Base started a “take home” program where they began giving out free art kits to community members. These kits consisted of brown paper bags full of art supplies for people to use or create with at home, while in-person education activities were halted for the community. Skinner stated about the kits, “It’s been such a huge success that we plan to continue it into the future.” Since the launch of this new program, 3,500 art kits have been distributed to the community.
The art kits can be picked up for free during “Sunday Crafternoons,” a parent/child education program that happens in conjunction with Basalt’s Sunday Market, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every week. As stated on The Art Base website, for the safety of visitors and staff, the program allows only 10 participants per week.
The other education programs are available to both youth and adults. These include youth programs like summer art camps, after-school art for elementary and middle schoolers and parent/child workshops. For the adults, there are several workshops offered throughout the year with hands-on and diverse subjects to learn about. The two upcoming adult workshops will be “Colored Pencils: Mixing Colors Layer by Layer” with Susan Rubin, starting on Aug. 27. Another upcoming class is “Week of Watercolor” with Sarah Peterson starting Oct.4 through Oct. 8.
The Young Adult Creativity Club, founded in 2017, is another educational program offered for free by The Art Base.
The exhibition currently on display is “Complete Fragments” by artist James Surls, which features drawings that were completed by Surls during his twenty-day water fast. “Complete Fragments” will be on view until Monday, Sept. 27.
“The North Gallery” is The Art Base’s first group exhibition in their new building and will be on view until Aug. 31, This exhibit features work from artists who have previously collaborated with The Art Base throughout their 25-year run. The show includes paintings, photography, collage, and much more.
For additional information about the exhibitions, inquiries, and applications for the educational programs, event schedules, to make a donation or bid on artwork, or to sign up for their newsletter, visit theartbase.org or stop in at their location at 174 Midland Avenue. Their business hours are Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday/Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, The Art Base is open in conjunction with the Basalt Sunday Market, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Learn more at theartbase.org