One house on Cedarwood Avenue is not like the others. The front room is devoid of furniture and instead uses its white and wood-panelled walls to display art from artists around the country.
Senior Anna Isaacson, a ceramics major, opened the Porch House Gallery in her home March 1, which she named for the large wooden porch out front, she said.
Porch House Gallery is something Isaacson has wanted to do for a long time, she said. Originally, she found an abandoned building that she pictured her art gallery being in, but then she began to imagine a different space for her gallery, Isaacson said.
Instead, Isaacson decided to have the Porch House Gallery in her house, she said. Her vision is to have a DIY space for artists. She wants Porch House Gallery to be a place where the community can come together to get connected, Isaacson said.
Isaacson grew up in Kansas City, Kansas and attended Westmont College, in Santa Barbara, California, for her first two years of college before coming to the UofA. Isaacson worked at Noah’s Ark, a whitewater rafting and adventure company in Colorado, during the summers where she taught rafting, rock climbing and backpack guiding. It was at Noah’s Ark that she met a lot of people who attended the UofA, Isaacson said. She heard about the UA ceramics program and made the decision to transfer to the UofA in the summer of 2017.
Isaacson’s UA mentor is Linda Lopez, an art and ceramics professor. Lopez taught Isaacson about the business of ceramics and what a life experience could look like with ceramics, Isaacson said.
“She opened my world to like, ‘you don’t have to just sit around and make pots. If you want to do that you can, but you could also open a gallery’,” Isaacson said.
Senior Payton Wiedner is majoring in ceramics and is in an advanced ceramics class with Isaacson, she said.
“I got to hear a little bit about the whole process of this whole gallery being born, which is so exciting,” Wiedner said.
Wiedner thinks that Isaacson has a cool space that has a lot of potential, Wiedner said.
Isaacson has wanted to be a part of the local art conversation for a long time, she said. She wants Porch House Gallery to be another platform that could showcase rising female artists and artists from out of town, Isaacson said. It is hard to be an artist and a woman, Isaacson said. The work in secondary markets, which are large art auctions, are normally done by men.
Isaacson raises money for Porch House Gallery by making and selling ceramic earrings. Prices of these earrings range from $15 to $30 and profits for lighting, hanging and shipping the art as well as for future exhibits, she said. She has sold about 70 earrings so far.
Isaacson wanted the Porch House Gallery opening to be a low-key event where people can hear DJ Coco play, eat cheese and talk about the art, she said.
The work of Phia Walla, an illustratrator, hung on one white wall, while the works of Sophie Roach, an illustrator, and Olivia Fredricks, a printmaker, hung against a dark wooden background. Isaacson spent the opening at the front door, greeting all who came and offering wine and cheese.
Attendees milled about the front room, reading the inscriptions on white placards and having conversations about the pieces. The opening of Porch House Gallery revealed that an art gallery can be anywhere, even in a house.
Sophomore Walter Ferguson, who is majoring in music, found out about the Porch House Gallery through word of mouth, as well as through seeing posts shared on social media about it, Ferguson said.
“I thought the opening was great,” Ferguson said. “It was super neat to see art displayed in an intimate space like that, I really enjoyed being able to experience the artists’ work in such a relaxed environment,” Ferguson said.
Walla was one of the featured artists at Friday’s opening and is an old friend of Isaacson, Walla said.
“I was very excited to be a part of this new gallery because not only could I display my work for the first time in that setting to new people but I could help her further her dream,” Walla said.
Walla thinks Porch House Gallery could be a place where up and coming artists just starting down their path can have a chance to interact with people and show their work to the world, she said.
Isaacson plans to put interviews of local artists on the Porch House Gallery website. Whitney Johnston Bell is a local painter who will have the first video interview.
After graduation, Isaacson recently decided that she will be moving to either the East Coast or the West Coast where she hopes to work in an art gallery. She would love to work with the high-end art market; however, she still has a heart for rising artists, especially women, Isaacson said. Isaacson plans on bringing Porch House Gallery with her wherever she ends up, she said.
Other popular art galleries in Fayetteville are Art Ventures, Terra Studios, and Heartwood Gallery. Porch House will continue to run on Cedarwood until the fall semester, Isaacson said.
Graphics for Porch House Gallery are the work of Courtney Lashar and photography for Porch House Gallery is the work of Jenna Blakeman.