In the past several years, Rena Brouwer has collected awards statewide for her signature loose watercolor style.
While Brouwer's paintings get much attention, the behind-the-scenes work she has done has been essential in the growth of the downtown Lafayette Gallery Walks. She helped organize exhibits and events first with the Lafayette Renaissance Academy and has stayed in the renovated building at 635 Ferry St., as a founding artist in the Ferry Street Studios.
But Friday's Walk, the second of 2009, will be Brouwer's last as a host. She will be moving her studio into the Opera House of Contemporary Art in Delphi. The historic building also will feature fellow watercolorist Terry Lacy and photographer Alan McConnell.
"It's just a great opportunity," said Brouwer of the Delphi studio closer to her rural Carroll County home. Ferry Street Studios will continue without Brouwer.
Brouwer and the rest of the Ferry Street Studios artists will show their latest work and those
attending the gallery walk will get to see how the artists work. The studios are one of 22 participating venues in downtown Lafayette-West Lafayette. The walk goes from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday.
Brouwer said she hopes to participate in future walks as a featured artist. She is still a member of Lala Gallery, 609 Main St.
On Friday, Brouwer will be showing her new spring outdoor pieces.
This gallery walk is the "spring" edition. Tetia Lee, Tippecanoe Arts Federation director and gallery walk organizer, said the walks have gone to a seasonal plan with a total of four walks, each representing a season.
"This is the first year we're doing four," Lee said. "I've lived and worked in communities where they did gallery walks all year and they always seems to be really well-received. Here, business owners have told me they wished we did them every month. This is our first attempt to do it year 'round."
The "winter" walk came in January on one of the coldest days of the year. Still, TAF drew more than 250 people, Lala was filled the entire time and new West Lafayette gallery walk venues had strong crowds, Lee reported. Starbucks and Evan Todd Salon & Day Spa are returning for Friday's walk with fabric work by Brigid Manning-Hamilton and bead pieces by Linda Elmore, respectively.
TAF, 638 North St., will be a hot spot again with the opening of three new shows. The Wabash Valley Watercolor Society will have its annual juried exhibit while potters Diane Gee and Gail Johnston will show new work in the exhibit "Sights and Sounds of Nature: Vessels of Clay." Photography newcomer Velu makes his TAF debut with dramatic outdoor images in "Nature Exposures."
Lafayette pastel artist Ron Burgess has been a part of Gallery Walks in the past as part of Wabash Artists Alliance shows at TAF. Friday will be his first gallery walk on his own. He will be showing new landscapes at Duncan Hall, 619 Ferry St. Included is "Sand Road," a piece that earned him second in the pastel division of the New Harmony Paint Out with the Indiana Plein Air Painters.
Burgess said he decided on Duncan Hall after board members checked out a recent open house and sale at his home studio and gallery. He is looking forward to making his gallery walk solo debut. Burgess is following fellow Indiana Plein Air Painter Jeff Klinker who had a solo show at Duncan during the September 2008 Gallery Walk.
So far, Burgess has heard from numerous people who are expected to attend this warmer gallery walk.
"These are good for downtown," Burgess said. "I'm hoping to do these on a regular basis."