"The Long Center has always, of course, been known as a performing arts center," says Gallery 701 curator Philip Rogers. "And they began to think ... that they wanted to introduce the visual arts." Rogers came on board and, after some recommended renovations to make the space more visual-art-friendly, began putting up art shows.
"One of the things that was stressed to me by the Long Center and by the funding entity was that they wanted to have it as much a community space as possible," Rogers says. "So each show has all been artists from the Austin area, and that will always be the case."
"Living for the City" is Gallery 701's fourth show, and will "be centered more on the community than ever" in Roger's view. For this exhibition, he's gathered works from many of Austin's established visual artists (including graffiti artist Sloak One, Ethan Azarian, Rachael Wolfson Smith, Dennis Darling, George Krause, Valerie Chaussonnet, Sam Hurt, Noel Kamus, and others) and paired their works with works from the artists of two Austin non-profit art programs, Art from the Streets and Community First Village. Those programs both focus on giving an artistic outlet to the city's homeless population.
"We really opened it up to the artist to present whatever their vision of the city is," Rogers says. "And one of the interesting things I've found so far in reviewing the artwork from the Art from the Streets artists is that I was expecting maybe a darker view... of the city. But pretty much overwhelmingly, the images have been positive and [with] very bright colors."