Art Permeates Everything Here

  • Post published:December 19, 2021

It’s REAL: a Note from the Publisher

by Zida Borcich

“Cloud Garden” by Miriam Davis

Art is an integral part of life here on the coast. It permeates, reflects, and influences everything: the culture, the politics, the environment, our hearts and eyes. Interacting and planning for our “Three Letterpress Printers Walk into a Shed” show at Partners Gallery next month with my two friends, Theresa Whitehill and Felicia Rice, has been a tonic for my soul and a dazzle for my heart and a whole teaching moment for my consciousness. The two are purely artists and in the same moment, incredibly creative and organized businesswomen. We are mainly used to working by ourselves, though of course, the nature of our work brings us in close contact and collaboration with clients, but it’s not common, for me at least, to have to come to consensus with other designer/collaborators, and that has been my practice this month, bringing me right up against the theme of my last month’s column about Duality, aka Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?
Write about dichotomies, and The Universe delivers.

I was in Colusa on a birding trip this month with a flock of my best friends, and on my last night there, Theresa, Felicia, and I got on Zoom call together and had a mosh pit design-a-thon on the shared screen. It was so exciting, I could hardly go to sleep later. Yet we didn’t agree on every little thing. Good thing one of us turned out to be a skilled mediator who was able to lead us deftly to a mutually satisfying compromise. I just want to let you know that it IS possible to get a bipartisan deal through, not just in the highest echelons of government, but in a tiny village, between friends.
In a larger context, we three are working out the details of the exhibit of letterpress work with the twelve artist-members of Partners Gallery, veteran collaborators who similarly do their individual work alone yet have been sharing gallery space and decision-making for twenty-two years. Meeting with the “tribe of individuals” about how the gallery will look in January and February, pulling the story together, choosing among gorgeous and astonishing images, sending out last-minute HELP! messages and getting instant responses have all provided insight into the complexities of cooperation. Along the way, working with these powerful women who have dedicated their lives to making meaningful art has amplified my already huge awe and respect for what artists do in this world.

‘Calico,’ photograph by Joe Bridgman

And then, on a more macro scale, this surprising new entity, BAM! Book Arts Mendocino, also sprang up out of our September story about the three letterpress printers. A coast-wide Arts of the Book “thing”—it’s not exactly a festival yet—has swept up all kinds of other artists and craftspeople who want to participate.
Who knows where all this may lead? Art matters. Really.