The Arts Learning Center
Robert (Bob) Page is a local resident with a gift for capturing the emotional capacity of a landscape via realism in his oil paintings. He has been holding a paintbrush since his childhood, when he first started helping his father create watercolor renderings of architectural projects. Over the last three years, Bob has amassed a lifetime's worth of memories into paintings expressing his love of Alaska.
Prior to January of 2012, not a single one of them had seen the wall of a gallery. Bob decided to answer the call for “Closet Artists” by The Co-Op Arts Learning Center and put a few pieces forward for consideration in their open community exhibit. He has since hosted solo exhibits in businesses across the city and launched his career as a professional artist.
The Third Annual Closet Artists show in The Arts Learning Center (renamed from The Co-Op Arts Learning Center) in the Co-Op Plaza on Second Avenue will open on First Friday in January 2013, showcasing works from 50+ artists in a half dozen mediums. The concept behind Closet Artists is that Fairbanks is rife with artistic talent, but many amateur visual artists find it difficult to convince a gallery to host their first exhibit.
On First Friday, The Arts Learning Center will feature a higher concentration of new and never-before-seen talent than any other gallery is able or willing to host. Bringing new artists into the fold benefits the individual artists, and is also good for the community at large.
Nikki Kinne, Owner of The Arts Learning Center, encouraged Bob to submit a few of his paintings for last year's show.
“I really hadn't shown at all prior to that. I thought it was a great opportunity just to get my bearings,” Bob says of the 2012 show. “(I wanted to) hear comments and especially from people that I knew that I wanted to see my work and get some feedback from them. That was really the provocation. I just wanted to see if I had something that people thought was worthwhile.”
In 2013, three cash prizes of $100 each will be awarded for Peoples' C
hoice, Associates' Choice,
hoice, Associates' Choice,and Owners' Choice at The Arts Learning Center. Many pieces will be for sale at the discretion of the artist. Bob says exhibiting for the first time was a true joy after years of keeping his work under wraps and painting primarily for personal satisfaction with no outlet or road map to share his talent.
“It’s amazing,” Bob recalls. “It was hard because I felt real proud of (the paintings), of course, but I didn't think anybody else would want to look at them. I’d had friends over and they had said they liked them but I thought they were just being nice.”
Bob works in drafting by day for PDC Engineers, Inc. and lives in North Pole. He allows himself to take creative license in painting landscapes from Interior Alaska and the Kenai Peninsula, and is often surprised by the imaginative renderings of realistic scenes that appear on canvas before him.
Bob says Closet Artists was the catalyst he needed to launch his artistic career in earnest.
“I think they got it right- there was some beautiful work down there from people who generally hadn't shown before,” Bob says of Closet Artists. “It kind of gave me a kick in the butt because from there I went down to the Morris Thompson Cultural & Visitors Center and showed probably close to thirty pieces.”
In addition, Bob also exhibited at Sipping Streams Tea Company in 2012 and was asked by Risse Greenhouse to be the featured artist for their final show of the summer.
“I was real grateful,” Bob summarizes. “It’s one heck of an opportunity for a nobody.”
You can find more details on Bob's work at his website. The Arts Learning Center maintains a list of upcoming classes on their website. The Closet Artists exhibit will open from 5:00-8:00PM on Friday, January 4th and remain in the gallery for viewing throughout the month.
*Painting by Robert Page.
Friday, January 4th from 5:00-8:00PM
The Arts Learning Center
535 Second Avenue, Suite 202