By Nikki Metzger
High Desert Daily
(Apple Valley)–One of the great things about the High Desert is that we have so many fun and interesting things to do – if you know where to look. If you enjoy art Eclipse Art Gallery across from Victor Valley College is a wonderful place to get your fill.
The gallery showcases artwork from local artists, including students from the college. It is staffed by student interns who are majoring in art and are learning what it takes to run a gallery, about the art itself and about the local artists with work on display.
Eclipse Gallery was founded by Joan Sowinski in June of 2010. “When I was at the college and we were working on art shows, it was difficult to hold the art shows or studio classes. It was not the right environment for art because you had to move the desks out, and you could only have the art show up for 1 day. So, I looked all over town for the best place for an art gallery. Would it be downtown? Would it be in a strip mall somewhere? Then I saw a place for rent right across the street from the college and I said ‘I’ll take it!’”
About once a month a new show opens and Eclipse Gallery holds a reception. “The receptions get between 80-200 people, usually held once a month on the opening night of the show. There’s a wide variety of people that come, from parents with elementary school kids, to skateboarder kids, to arty people from the city, to people that have never been to a gallery before. We usually have a band at the receptions. And they’re all local bands that are up and coming. Every once in a while we’ll have a spontaneous jam session with artists and the band. It’s a lot of fun!” Sowinski said.
There is an Events Calendar on the website http://eclipseag.com . The current show is Organic Beings and Reflections featuring artworks by Rachel Rodriquez and Ivonne Nava, 2 of the gallery’s interns.
“Next month is the Honors Art and Scholarship Show featuring work by VVC students. Instructors nominate 3 students from each class, for as many classes as they have. The nominated students then bring in 3 works and an essay. The winner will receive a scholarship – Eclipse Gallery put up $500 and the ASB put up $500. We are still seeking funds to go toward this scholarship from community members or businesses,” Sowinski added.
“The Awards ceremony is on April 23rd. The show opens April 20th and will run to May 14th. Some of the students from the college come over and view the gallery, sometimes with the instructor, and they talk about gallery practices, hanging, what you look for when you go gallery visiting, and how to behave in a gallery. Sometimes they write papers on works that they like, maybe work that they don’t understand, and then they discuss it in class,” Sowinski explained.
On the gallery’s website Joan talks about the June show “WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE WESTERN ART SHOW” with opening day and reception on June 4th. “Expect a really big celebration as the gallery will bring out the pioneer spirit and Bar-Bee-Que!”
“The western show features 2 photographers from here in the Valley that are very good. And then we’ll have local artists in that show also,” Sowinski explained.
Eclipse Gallery also hosts a monthly series called “Artist Speaks”. Joan elaborated, “The first speaker was Ben Johnston, he’s a fabulous photographer, plus he teaches psychology and a couple of other classes at the college. He talked about ‘The art and rhetoric of Ben Johnston’. He shared what got him interested in photography. It was so much fun having him here.”
The gallery is open Wed- Sat from 11:00am to 5:30pm on weekdays, and until 9:00pm on weekends. And they have so many things planned. Stop by their website http://eclipseag.com to see blog entries and the calendar of events. Or “Like” them on their Facebook page – just search for eclipse gallery to get their status updates