It's a week before opening. There's scaffolding, men sweeping, cardboard boxes and no work hanging on the 8,900 square-foot warehouse-turned-gallery and exhibition space’s walls.
On Nov. 15, it will make its debut in "Reimagining Sarasota Chalk Artists Art," presented by the Sarasota Chalk Festival and Alfstad& Productions.
But, Sam Aflstad, the founder of the gallery, says its rough-around-the-edges quality is purposeful. He had the asbestos removed, smoothed the chipped pieces of what really was an old ice house's floor per the convenience of women in high heels, and had high-quality lighting installed specifically to display art. The rest of it is organic. He wants it reminiscent of the warehouse spaces in SoHo and Chelsea. And, in fact, believes the Rosemary District has the potential to develop into a leading art district with the same kind of energy as the New York City art districts.
In September, Sam Alfstad announced his plans to open The Ice House. He knew of Denise Kowal, founder of the Sarasota Chalk Festival, because of the caliber and clout her outdoor exhibition has in the contemporary art world. So he presented her with an idea: What if, in conjunction with the Chalk Festival, they present these chalk artists’ non-chalk art? Many of the international artists that come to Sarasota are artists of many mediums and not just chalk. He says Kowal loved the idea, it’s something she’s always wanted to happen but there was never a space to do so.
In addition to the opening event, Aflstad planned a full season of exhibitions, with three more local and international exhibits through March. He intends for The Ice House to run on a museum model — people will pay $10 for admission, but in addition to seeing the art they will also explore and learn about the art as they would at a museum. There’s an educational lecture room where artists can put context and develop dialogue about their work as well as a video projection room where looped footage will bring more awareness about the art.
You can see what the new space is all about in the first exhibition opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Nov. 14, at The Ice House, 1314 Tenth St. Tickets for the event are $100. Or, you can check it out from noon to 8 p.m. daily through Nov. 24 for $10. Call 366-6400 or visit Alfstadand.com for more information. Stay tuned to YourObserver.com for future news and announcements regarding The Ice House.
Learn a little more about The Ice House here.
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