As an artist herself, and longtime proponent of the arts, Jocelyn Mathewes is always looking to highlight the work of other artists.
After speaking to her artist friends about a “crazy idea” and letting it “simmer for a while,” Mathewes, surprised by the positive feedback she got, decided to bring her idea to life. After a test run last month, Mathewes will welcome local artist Jason Flack and the Boone Street Market to her virtual art gallery — a gallery that’s hosted in her dining room.
“We’ve got to make our own opportunities,” Mathewes said, adding that the gallery is a way for artists to bring attention to their work and, potentially, help them make up sales they’ve lost out on due to the pandemic.
A Boston-area transplant who moved to the Tri-Cities in 2012, Mathewes said she was “excited to arrive here and sort of discover there’s hidden gold in these hills,” and said she wanted to show off “this tiny little corner of Tennessee” that has “a lot going for us.”
“It’s like, there’s an amazing bunch of creative people and an amazing bunch of food people and I want other people to be excited about it,” Mathewes said. “I like encouraging and highlighting the things we do really well and that’s part of what gets me.”
Flack, whom the Press highlighted as a featured artist last October, said he’s been waiting to do a collaboration with Mathewes, someone he called a good friend.
“It’s just an all around cool thing, I love it — I’m honored,” Flack said. “It’s a very, from my perspective, it’s a very inviting, welcoming thing to say ‘bring your art into my home and I’ll show it off.’
“That’s not to say it’s an intimate process, but it’s a closeness that’s very welcoming, very inviting from artist to artist.”
As part of the virtual gallery, Mathewes will interview Flack about his work on Instagram and give a tour of the gallery on Facebook Live. Those who tune in to the livestream will be able to ask questions, and the videos will be posted online afterward.
“That’s what it’s about,” Flack said, “starting a trend.”
Mathewes said it’s fun to get together and discuss art with other creators, and rhetorically asked “what’s more fun than nerding out about your favorite thing? Or even talking about important ideas?
“That’s the stuff we need to make space for and this is the way to do it,” Mathewes said.
And, since the “show” takes place inside of her dining room, Mathewes said it was only fitting she invited local artisans to join in on the showcase — hence the name “EAT/ART Space.”
This week, Boone Street Market in Jonesborough will be featured, an opportunity the store’s marketing and events manager, Margie Kendall, said she appreciated.
“Finding new and unique ways to teach local food and highlight local farmers is what we’re all about these days,” Kendall said. “The local food is just so beautiful and I think it just goes hand-in-hand to take locally grown and curated food products and pair them with local arts.”
You can learn more about the gallery and future shows, as well as purchase art, at https://www.eatart.space/. Flack’s art will be on sale Aug. 6-12, with his interview going live at 6 p.m. on Aug. 6. The virtual tour will begin at 6:30 p.m. Any artists interested in participating in a future event can email email@example.com.