Without art galleries up in full swing, ably hosting in-person exhibit openings, artists are finding other outlets to make sure their work reaches an audience. In the case of alumni from No Boundaries International Art Colony (NBIAC) and its board members, that looks like a drive-through exhibit and sale, set up in the yards of Wilmington’s Chestnut Heights neighborhood. On Saturday, May 30, from 5-7 p.m. (rain date: May 31), folks will be able to shop through various artist displays set up on North 15th Street in the 100 block, between Princess and Chestnut streets.
“Logistically, artists will be assigned to a yard and are invited to bring anything they need for setup,” says board member Sarah Rushing Doss (winner of encore’s Best Female Artist 2020). Doss says artists have been batting around numerous ideas for showing their works, from easels to wooden stakes with picture-hanging hooks to clotheslines and beyond.
“There will be ample space between artists, and anyone interested in coming to see the show is invited to drive, bike or walk by,” she clarifies.
Artists will include NBIAC founder Pam Toll, former colony participants Jonathan Summit, Mark Weber, Nathan Verwey, Todd Carignan and Harry Taylor, as well as former NBIAC student intern Lori Scalamoni, plus Eddie Toll, Cass Baes and Trey Moore. “We are still selecting work from past NBIAC participants to round out the exhibition,” Doss says.
Nathan Ryan Verwey, known for his vibrant street/graffiti art, will show eight pieces of varying size. This will include the 18-inch-by-24-inch “Waiting on a Ship” ($400).
“I had come off a very intense year and was being heavily influenced by watercolor and the exploring of subtraction, both in my figures, as well as my painting style as a whole,” he explains of the watercolor. “I was also working on the subject of not wanting to speak at times. I think being so close to the ocean and the wide-open space very much informed my work.”
Verwey will show a mix of work created at No Boundaries and in his home studio. The UNCW art-school grad praises his time on Bald Head Island, working with other artists during No Boundaries’ November retreat. The immersive experience of being around a fine-art, creative hive mind was a first for him.
“It freed me up to work in new ways, allowing me to see things in a new light and get feedback from people whose work strongly resonates with me,” he explains. “It felt like being part of a dream family.”
Pam Toll is the No Boundaries family matriarch, having founded the colony in 1998. She also founded the artist co-op on 5th Avenue, ACME Art Studios, in 1991. Both continue to thrive and inspire visual artists along on their journeys.
The UNCW professor looks at the gift of time and fellowship at NBIAC as true inspiration for artistic freedom and bonded camaraderie. She will have three to five pieces for sale this Saturday.
“‘Medicine’ is part of a minimal drawing series made on square pieces of paper,” Toll says of the piece that will retail for $150. “I drew first and stained with pigment. Then I was guided by what I saw when laying in line and found objects.”
Todd Carignan will showcase a dozen oil paintings: a mish-mash of colony work and other pieces churned out as part of his career as a full-time artist.
“No Boundaries was a great experience, where we were free to be as creative as we wished—to experience the creative processes of artists from so many different walks of life using so many different materials,” Carignan praises. “Everyone was so motivated, and that combined energy was really inspiring.”
One of the pieces Carignan will sell for $200, “Spring Drive,” is a 6-inch-by-8-inch oil painting on wrapped canvas. “It was painted using a small palette knife,” he explains.
All artists at Saturday’s show are required to wear masks and maintain social distance. They also are encouraged to use no-contact sales methods, like Venmo, PayPal or CashApp. Partial proceeds from artists’ sales will go to No Boundaries, Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard and Good Shepherd Center.
“Just as food banks and shelters support our community, we also believe the arts provide critical support to folks, especially during times of crisis,” Doss adds.
To add to the event, Nick Laudadio and Carlos Kase, a.k.a. Nerve Truck, will play live music and photographer Harry Taylor will set up an area to do 4-inch-by-5-inch Tintype portraits for $50 each. The road will remain open to through traffic for those wanting to drive by the show, and walk-through traffic will be kept to the sidewalks.
“Since so many galleries, restaurants, breweries, etc., have been shuttered, our local artists have not had normal opportunities for sales,” Doss adds. “This exhibition offers a chance to make up for some of those losses.”