Zumba: Shakin’ It like a Polaroid


The climate changed in the gallery Wednesday night, June 27th as about 20 people danced and sweated their hearts out! Ruth Stamper, local Zumba instructor, whooped and hollered surrounded by the fantastic ArtWorkers exhibit. Dance and movement are distinct art forms, worthy of a place and space in an art center. Bravo, Zumba-cisers! Thanks for filling the gallery with your energy!


Have you seen the FLAG lately?


Each day, the flag shelf installation in Spiva’s lobby is changing! Anyone can bring red, white, or blue non-returnable objects and place them on the corresponding shelves. What can you spot in this photo? Are some items more patriotic than others? What can you contribute to the flag?

Meet Hugh Merrill

What is your role in this exhibit? What kind of art do you make or support?  

As an artist I have explored my studio work deeply and simultaneously expanded my interest to create collaborative community-based works. Ken Ferguson, well-known American ceramist use to tell his students regarding their studio work to “dig their well deeper”. I have not only followed that advice but have also used my creative resources/opportunities to irrigate the creativity of others through teaching, community arts projects, writings and outreach to inner city youth for over 30 years. I started as a printmaker in 1976 and for over 14 years focused solely on producing black and white etchings informed by the light of Rembrandt. Today I do not know what I will produce next.

Is making stuff really work for you, or is it play? Why? Why even engage in the arts? 

All too many people believe the arts are a secondary activity, yet in my view they are of primary importance. When we attempt to understand our lives we do it by creating a story, an internal narrative, a judgment of values. And this is the beginning of making art. The unreal non-material world of feelings, judgments, thoughts and values is the consequential world that motivates our actions; this is also the world of making art. So art is serious business and it is play serious /play serious/play ………

What is your perception of the ArtWorkers exhibit and your involvement in it? 

My involvement is to produce opportunities for others to respond to.  This can be an image on the gallery wall or setting up a photo booth for others to have their pictures taken with the masks of different faces covering theirs. Art is only made/completed in relation to the interaction with the viewer.

Any advice for future ArtWorkers? 

Everyone is an artworker and everyone is an artist. There is large art, the elite realm of genius and there is the everyday experience of feeling, being and communicating through small creative gestures and actions that feed the resources of all art, high and low.





Create with Cage

Dr. Stacey Barelos, piano professor at MSSU, introduced the idea of the prepared piano. She passed around photos of a piano she herself had prepared and performed with; then participants created art from scraps of destroyed pianos and installed them on the gallery stage, all while listening to John Cage’s “Sonatas and Interludes” for prepared piano. Fantastic time for all ages!


June Third Thursday Events


Art Duel / Round 1
Artists Michael Strahan v. Margie Moss. One hour to respond visually to the poetry of Walt Whitman.


Art Duel / Round Two
Jason Stamper v. Sandra Conrad. Walt Whitman. See all of the artists finished pieces in Spiva’s lobby.


Sandra puts her hands up: “I surrender!” The Conrad family cheered her on during the duel.


The magical mbira music of local group Kufara was perfect on a lovely summer evening. Thank you!


Local artist educator Josie Mai facilitated a giant Liberty Bell community collage.


Spiva Board President Ann Leach instructs the kids on how to trace and cut their piece for the collage.


Entire families joined in the process. Bravo!