Arts Talk

(PHOTO BY ELLIE BOGUE)

The art of risk

Lotus Gallery goes for the unexpected

By Bonnie Blackburn
One of the more interesting buildings in town is also the venue for some of the more interesting art galleries around. The Lotus Gallery is housed in a former warehouse/grocery store/post office at 1301 Lafayette St.

Gallery owner Vicki Salzbrun describes it as a “fill in the blank” gallery, meaning that she’s interested displaying the works of an eclectic assortment of artists.

“This year, we have more of the abstract, more texture and stencil,” works, Salzbrun said. “We’re unique. Different. More modern. My favorite part is finding new artists. I want us to be known as the gallery that takes the risk on the unknown artist.”

Small galleries are springing up all over Fort Wayne, Salzbrun noted, even inside tattoo parlors and hair salons. The Lotus Gallery also serves as a yoga studio, developed by former owner Kelly Metzger Kolterman. Salzbrun also teaches yoga and offers massage services along with gallery shows.

“I offered to buy it (from Kolterman) to keep the yoga studio going, then I got really excited because I had a gallery on my hands,” Salzbrun said.

Yoga practitioners are surrounded by art in the high-ceilinged, industrial-style brick structure, which features two free-standing curving walls where artists can display their works. So far, artists Karen Moriarty, Paul Rodriguez, Katrina Murray and others have graced the gallery walls. Most shows are four to six weeks long, but the gallery has hosted one-day shows like The Lotion Show, an exhibit of sculptures and paintings inspired by The Silversmiths’ tune, “Lotion Song.”

The gallery’s shows have been rewarding for artists as well, Salzbrun said.

“I think every artist has sold something,” she said. “And even if they didn’t sell, as long as people show up, that’s a success.”

The people who show up to exhibit openings tend to be of Salzbrun’s age (she’s 27). She said she’s interested in marketing art to the “Brass Rail” crowd, those who love underground music and avant garde events.

“My goal has been that I want an art gallery that I’d be comfortable in. Art galleries (openings) used to be a really fancy affair where you had to have a lot of money,” she said.

“I want to open it up to the younger crowd,” by offering “affordable art” for those who love art but don’t have a lot of disposable income.

“We have a lot of student (artists) coming out that have never had a show,” she added. “I want them to be seen. I like sticking my neck out for new artists.”

On July 14, the Lotus Gallery will team up with the Fort Wayne Women’s Bureau for the “Women’s Night of Shoes,” a kick-off for the Women’s Bureau’s “Walk a Mile In Her Shoes” annual walk.

“We’re going to have artists painting on shoes, on canvas and sculpture,” Salzbrun said.

The Ligonier native said she “dabbles’ in art herself, so she understands the pressures artists face in getting their work shown.

“I’ve appreciated art for a long time, but never in my wildest dreams did I ever think of owning a gallery,” she said.

Posted: Wed, 06/22/2011 - 1:58 pm
Last updated: Fri, 04/27/2012 - 8:24 am