Arts Talk


Promoting art and artist

Continuum brings IPFW vision downtown

By Bonnie Blackburn
The quest for an arts-centric downtown moved one step closer last year with the opening of Continuum, an art gallery sponsored by Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne. Al Martin has been the director since the gallery opened in July 2010.

The gallery “has actually done pretty well for starting off here downtown,” Martin said. “We have had a pretty good turn out.”

Continuum is located next door to J. K. O’Donnell’s, the Irish pub on Wayne Street near One Summit Square. Its roots stretch to another Irishman, Charles O’Connor, IPFW’s dean of the School of Visual and Performing Arts.

“He had a vision of a gallery downtown,” Martin said. “The purpose of the gallery is to try to bring people downtown and to get everyone involved in the arts.”

“Not only do our IPFW students and alumni exhibit at Continuum, but we also exhibit work from other emerging artists from the area and hopefully from around the world,” O’Connor said. “We have an artist from China exhibiting in the gallery in November (named) Xu-Zheng He. He does watercolor paintings. We’re expanding to bring in artists from around the region and the world. One of the exciting things we’ll be doing will be exhibiting work from students who attend other colleges. It really is a community outreach project.”

“It’s open to anyone who is an artist and wants to see their art exhibited,” Martin said.

The three-floor gallery features the main exhibit space on the first floor, while the basement features multimedia art installations. The second floor holds art for sale on consignment. (Check it out yourself as part of the Trolley Tour Sept. 22.)

“We try to change up the installations” in the basement, Martin said. Sculptor Sayaka Ganz will be featured in September in the installation gallery, he said.

“A lot of places around town don’t want to do (installations). We’re trying to set this gallery apart” from galleries that feature static art, he said. He believes the installation gallery is one of Continuum’s main draws for art fans who visit it.

“When you go downstairs it’s like being (drawn) into a different environment. You let your mind and body decide where to go,” he said.

The installation gallery lets artists think creatively about their exhibits, Martin said.

“When most artists come in, (other) galleries tell them (the limitations). We tell them to go for it,” Martin said. “They get ecstatic because they have the freedom to create what they want to create.”

Martin, a ceramic artist himself, said he’s enjoyed being a part of Continuum’s mission.

“That’s what this gallery is all about: promoting the art and the artist.”

Posted: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 2:50 pm
Last updated: Wed, 05/23/2012 - 3:14 pm