“I don’t like the idea of supporting the arts,” says Priscilla Smith, executive director of Eyedrum Art and Music Gallery. “I like the idea of participating in the arts. It takes the elitism out of it.”
Sometimes literally. Grace Thornton, for instance, will create a habitat in the gallery and invite the audience into her “home “on February 13. Her Whitesnake Girl Hosts an Evening Affair is part of Eyedrum’s Premier Premiere: A Movement Series, running through February 15. It is the first Eyedrum program to highlight dance, movement and physical theater (which blends dance, acrobatics and aerials).
Onur Topal-Sumer and Jennifer Tarrazi-Scully, CORE Performance Company’s production coordinator, will perform an abridged version of Our Better Selves?, which uses dance and visual art to explore various stages of womanhood (on February 12 to 15).
Other featured artists include visual artist Crystal Monds; dancers Joy Peace, Hez Stalcup, Rachael L. Shaw and Nadya Zeitlin; and performance artists Erin Palovick, Jared Kelley and Jessica Anderson. There will be a discussion after the performances on February 14.
“Part of Eyedrum’s mission is to eliminate the burden of finding and paying high costs for independent artists to show their work,” says Topal-Sumer, board member and cochair of the performance committee.
The series takes place in its newish home at 88 Forsyth Street downtown. After losing its longtime facility near Oakland Cemetery in 2010, the 18-year-old organization shuttled between several locations before taking over a row of four abandoned storefronts in April. They were rather a mess, and a dedicated group of board members and volunteers has been working since then to get the spaces ready to host performances and exhibits.
Eyedrum, which won a three-year SEED grant ($10,000 per year) from the Rauschenberg Foundation in 2012, has big plans for its space. Smith envisions a café and lounge area for visitors, a stage for musical performances and rooftop art installations.
Tickets are $8 and proceeds will be split among the performing artists.