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Art in Common

February 23, 2008 - Emily Dimov-Gottshall
This was our first time attending a meeting of Art in Common, which is an independent group of local artists that meets once a month at various locations. It was an interesting night with guest speaker, Richard Bargdill, giving a talk on his book “An Artist's Thought Book”. Bargdill teaches Psychology at St. Francis and is the president of The Ebensburg Area Art Alliance. Bargdill gave a slide show of the various works he has created. I think his point of view stems from the from the “Shock Art” movement.  Most of the pieces have some element which promotes a visceral feeling, pleasant or unpleasant.

Personally, I found his work’s strength lies in the use of material; most of it is made from reused or salvaged objects repurposed to explore some subject he is interested in. Most of Bargdill’s work has a strong environmental message; use what you have and don’t be afraid of creating something that veers off the mainstream.

One thing that did surprise me was the way the meeting had more of a “college” club feel to it rather than a mingling of artists. We did have to cut our time short as it was extremely cold (7 degrees outside) and we didn’t want to neglect our baby sitter and kids.

The meeting took place at the Church in the Middle of the Block on 5th Ave and has a very theatrical feel with a stage and various props about. Jon and I have been there a few times before and you never really know what to expect when you arrive. The Church in the Middle of the Block is not actually a church but an art studio and community center. The downstairs room is redone in an eclectic Egyptian theme with various studio spaces.  All in all, an interesting evening. The next meeting is going to be at the Altoona Library on the 11th in March at 7pm. It will be more of a question/answer with the public invited to participate as there will be a new show of Art in Common’s work there which runs for the month of March.

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