CASA exhibit involves variety of artists

Cyan James

The work of 16 Ames area artists will be in the spotlight when the exhibit “CASA Artists: One House, Many Voices,” premieres in the Pioneer Room of the Memorial Union.

The gallery show is sponsored by the Student Union Board Forums and Fine Arts and will be on display Jan. 14—Feb. 22.

The exhibit comprises 44 pieces of art, done in a variety of mediums ranging from painting and pottery to origami and weaving.

Letitia Kenemer, exhibit curator, says she expects a positive response from the public in reaction to the show.

“It’s the first time CASA as an organization has been featured in an exhibit like this,” says Kenemer, Memorial Union arts program adviser.

CASA — Creative Artists Studio of Ames — is a group of about 30 artists meeting in the renovated basement of a building at 130 S. Sheldon Ave. The group is made up of artists ranging from beginners to professionals. A quarter of them are ISU professors and students.”CASA was founded in order to facilitate education in the arts, help emerging artists have studio space and provide us with a space for networking,” says Chris Cowan, CASA member.

Artists have personal studios but also share a common area for interaction, and hold formal and informal workshops that are sometimes open to the public, says Cowan, an exhibit organizer.

Cowan says she likes the possibilities a show can provide for both the artists and the viewing public.

“It occurred to me that it would be a wonderful opportunity for the public to understand what CASA is about and for the artists to showcase their work,” Cowan says.

Artists who wanted to participate in the show were given the chance to show their work through a jury process by their CASA peers, which provided helpful critiques and assisted in finding appropriate pieces.

Exhibitor Mary Weisgram concentrates on crafting her pottery with organic inspiration. She picks up leaves that help guide her as she paints glazes onto her pieces, and cuts sponges to mimic the markings of nuts and other forms.

“I call these my fossil series,” says Weisgram, mentioning the beauty she finds in fossils and in leaf tannins left on sidewalks after rain.

Weisgram’s pottery colleague Greg Lamont chose his pieces for the show based on the quality of their glazes. Lamont uses his extensive knowledge of chemistry, kilns and oxygen to predict how glazes will turn out. He also experiments with multi-glaze combinations on his artwork to achieve unique final results.

Lamont says the chance to work with artists from a wide variety of interests and skill levels is an example of what CASA is all about.

“It’s a good thing,” Lamont says. “Some people know us as individuals but don’t realize we’re part of a larger organization.”

What: “CASA Artists One House, Many Voices” art exhibit

Where: Memorial Union Pioneer Room

When: January 14 through February 22

Cost: Free