Two Downtown Art Galleries Celebrate Opening Reception For ‘Colonize’ Exhibit

Alive and thriving, the arts are celebrated in downtown Jamestown.

Dozens of area residents gathered in two art galleries on Friday evening to celebrate the opening reception for an exhibit that features more than 50 artists from the U.S. and Europe.

Entitled “Colonize,” the exhibit covers a wide range of mediums and subjects. Yet among the swath of stimuli a deeply personal experience lies dormant and patient for the eager heart.

According to Debra Eck, Jamestown artist, Essex, England native and coordinator for the “Colonize” exhibit, the project was created to bring awareness to SCIBase, which is a collaborative project between BasementArtsProjects, Leeds and SCI, a collective based in Liverpool, England.

“I think it’s interesting to see change from the last show (Women Create) to this show,” Eck said. “The space looks urban and contemporary now. People are still coming out, and it’s really exciting to see that there is a market for that kind of thing if you want to keep doing it.”

Dr. Lillian Vitanza Ney called the exhibit delicate, but personal and intimate in nature.

The “Colonize” exhibit will be on display from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday until April 25. The exhibit has been split into two unique portions, one of which is located at the 3rd on 3rd Gallery, 116 E. Third St. in Jamestown. The other portion is located on the third floor of the Dykeman-Young Gallery, 100 E. Second St. in Jamestown.

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Julie Dodd, one of the 30 guest artists featured in the “Colonize” exhibit, has a piece entitled “Foreign Bodies” on display at the Dykeman-Young Gallery. According to the artist’s description accompanying the piece, “Foreign Bodies” explores some of the diseases spread during the colonization of North America, and how the diseases themselves colonize areas of the human body. The piece exhumes a certain charm that embodies the exhibit as a whole – art serves as a pathogen.

Dodd’s contribution is just one piece of a living mosaic. The collective expression of 51 artists is featured in “Colonize,” 21 of which are members of SCIBase and 30 who were contributors of the Kickstarter campaign that helped fund the exhibit.

Eight of the 21 European artists made their way across a vast expanse of water to reach the United States in order to participate in the opening reception for the exhibit. Some had never before stepped ashore, while others were all too familiar with the landscape. Yet, all agreed that the support of the Jamestown community was significantly impressive. The eight featured at the reception include: Eck, Bruce Davies, Kimbal Quist Bumstead, Wendy Williams, Jean McEwan, Davies, Michael Borkowsky, David Cotton, Susanne Torstensson and Elena Thomas.

“It’s amazing,” McEwan said. “I’ve been here for a week now, and I’ve just been completely overwhelmed by friendly people as well as how active the arts community is. I’ve met a ton of artists already, and now I feel like I’ve got friends here. There’s so much going on for it being such a small community.”

Michael Dykeman, of the Dykeman-Young Gallery, was ecstatic about the turnout for the opening reception. Dozens of area residents who represented nearly every generation streamed through the gallery with an eagerness to absorb the magic billowing from within. The infectious energy swelling from artist and creation was impossible to ignore.

“This has been a word of mouth kind of thing over the past few months, and as it got closer people were really curious – so it’s been a great turnout,” Dykeman said. “I like the exhibit a lot, but it’s a little different from what people here are probably used to as far as the type of art and the size of it. Here we’re used to big splash, and this is kind of small and thought provoking.”


Eck first exhibited with SCIBase during an international arts fair in Stockholm, Sweden, and has continued to work with the group since then. One of the artists in the group, Davies, has a gallery in England, and he and Eck had discussed the idea of creating an exchange – not just for art, but for the artists themselves. The desire for reciprocation and to create a mutually beneficial connection resulted in “Colonize.”

“I think it’s really important to be able to see the bigger picture – especially for students,” Eck said. “I’m actually going to take students over there with me during the summer, and we’re going to spend a month working.”

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