April brings a sense of renewal as early spring showers wash away from the remnants of winter.
The fourth month of the year also brings a a pop of color following day after day of gray.
This is why the artists of Gallery 103 and the new 3 Rivers Art Gallery will be teaming up for a collaborative “April Art Affair” art show.
From 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, local artists will display paintings, jewelry, pottery, scratch art, sculptures, collages and drawings on the first floor of the Ho-Chunk Centre, 600 Fourth St.
“We are very excited because ‘April Art Affair’ will mark the first formal collaboration between Gallery 103 and 3 Rivers,” Lynn Nordsiden explained.
Nordsiden was one of the artists who founded 3 Rivers in late 2021.
Terri Parish McGaffin, an artist affiliated with the neighboring Gallery 103 for the past three years, said joint art shows will benefit both art galleries.
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“It will certainly bring more visitors to the Ho-Chunk Centre,” she noted.
Such foot traffic has been lagging due to COVID-19 concerns.
“For so long, people has been hesitant about going to art shows,” McGaffin said. “Perhaps, with COVID cases decreasing, the ‘April Art Affair’ will attract more attendees.”
That will certainly help 3 Rivers Art Gallery’s six artists as well as Gallery 103’s 18 artists.
“Artists need to have their work seen by the public,” McGaffin said. “Art shows are where art can be seen and purchased.”
The longtime chair of Morningside University’s art department, McGaffin is best known for her representational art.
Specifically, the now semi-retired educator studies photographs of bridges and structures, painstaking recreating the forms onto canvas.
Like McGaffin, Pauline Sensenig is a Gallery 103 artist who was also a former Morningside art professor.
“Terri uses photographs to recreate her art,” Sensenig said. “I do not.”
Indeed, Sensenig’s still life can include everything from furniture to wild life to, even, ingredients used to make a nice dinner.
“Anything can be art if you interpret it as such,” she said.
According to Sensenig, artists may see life differently than other people do.
“As least I think we’re more observant than people from other walks of life,” she allowed.
In fact, Sensenig was inspired to get into art by her grandfather, who was also an artist.
McGaffin, on the other hand, didn’t have artists in her family tree.
“I got into art because it was something I enjoyed doing,” she said. “It was as simple as that.”
For 3 Rivers’ Nordsiden, art began as a relaxing hobby.
“I spent my entire career as a pharmacist, which was a very regimented thing to do,” the wildlife artist explained. “Once I retired, I decided to concentrate on art, which is the most spontaneous and creative thing to do.”
Even more than that, Nordsiden got involved in Siouxland Artists, an organization in which artists can learn for one another through constructive criticism and feedback.
“Art can be a very isolating thing to do,” she acknowledged. “Through Siouxland Artists, we try to build a camaraderie in the art community.”
McGaffin said art galleries are also a great way for creative people to connect.
“While some of our Gallery 103 artist have studios in the gallery, many of us continue to produce art in a spare room or a garage or, perhaps, on a dining room table,” she explained. “As soon as dinner is over, the plates will go away and the art supplies return.”
Nevertheless, McGaffin said she also benefits from other artists.
“We see new artists who are using new forms, styles and techniques,” she said. “We figure, hey, that looks interesting, why not try it ourselves?”
“No matter how long you’ve been doing something, you can always try new approaches,” Sensenig added.
Increasingly, people are looking at art in a new way.
“In the Ho-Chunk, we have two entire galleries dedicated to art,” McGaffin said. “Across the street, we have the Sioux City Museum and, on the next block, we have Art SUX. Go around the corner and you’ll see Vangarde Arts.”
“That wasn’t the case a few years ago,” she continued. “Sioux City suddenly has an art community.”
What could be better than that? Oh yeah, a few more patrons at art shows would be nice.
“I think our ‘April Art Show’ will be just what people have been waiting for,” Sensenig said. “It should be a lot of fun.”