gmhTODAY 04 gmhToday Sep Oct 2015 - Page 97

Gilroy Arts Alliance: Supporting Imagination, Creativity, Art and Downtown Gilroy Written & Photographed By Laura Wrede The definition of art to many is a painting on the wall behind the couch that matches the decor. In reality the world of art goes far beyond a 2D painting. Creative media influence nearly every aspect of our society; from the patterns on our clothes, the painting on our cars, graphics and photos on our tech screens and product packaging designs, tattoos, cartoons, jewelry, dishes, desserts, shoes. . . the list is endless. It all relies on imaginative people creating some kind of visual art. Then there are the performing arts such as dance, theater, and music. These too are woven into the fabric of our society to such depths that to remove its imaginative influence from our daily lives would leave us naked sitting on the floor of a concrete gray world filled with silence staring at blank walls. Often unrecognized, mistakenly considered fluff in places of education and government budgets, and many times working behind the scenes, artists imagine and create, saturating our lives with all the inspired elements we enjoy, and assume to be normal in any society. In Gilroy, one organization understands the importance of actively showcasing, supporting, and reminding our community of the vital nature of the arts: The Gilroy Arts Alliance (GAA). The GAA is a volunteer organization that works year-round to introduce a small sampling of the artistic talent who live in this community, and offers support to local artistic endeavors. They operate out of the Gilroy Interim Center for the Arts in downtown Gilroy on the corner of Monterey and Seventh Streets in the refurbished Salvation Army building. It sits as a placeholder for the future 35,000 sf. multi-use performance and visual arts center on the city-owned 2.5 acres. The GAA describes itself as a “culmination of years of work by a dedicated group of volunteer community members” … a merger of two arts organizations in Gilroy. The original organization, Theater Angels Art League, was one of the oldest nonprofit organizations in our community, founded in the early 1970s, originally in support of the local drama organization that grew into South Valley Civic Theater.” Desiring to represent a more comprehensive selection of our community’s visual and performing arts, in 2012 Theater Angels blended into the Gilroy Arts Alliance and now stands as a nonprofit organization housed in the Interim Center for the Arts, acting as the Center’s management. The GAA supports a variety of art in Gilroy, recognizing that art is far more than a painting on the wall. While they do offer a diverse mixture of 2D and 3D art media shows each year, they also feature works in theater, music, dance, and movies. The GAA has been actively involved with this summer’s Fifth Street Live (free) concerts downtown, the Gilroy Arts and Wine festival, Divo and Divas annual fundraiser, Movie Night on the Green, local arts programs for both children and adults, art scholarships, and STAR Arts Education. The GAA is run by a group of volunteer Board members who have worked for years to make the presence of an art center a reality in Gilroy. It’s their expertise that has kept this vision alive. Only one person maintains a paid contract-basis position — the operations manager, Kevin Heath, who is a cross between a pit bull, long distance runner, marketing guru, and comic relief genius when it comes to his dedication to the GAAs mission. One person who stands as a stalwart pillar of volunteerism for the GAA and the Center, according to Kevin Heath, is Beth Dewey. She “has been with us since day one. She keeps the Center open on Tuesday and Wednesday, and has spent countless hours working at the Center. And I mean working…scrubbing floors, gluing baseboard, weeding, mopping, greeting guests, working GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015 gmhtoday.com 97 Gilroy Arts Alliance: Supporting Imagination, Creativity, Art and Downtown Gilroy Written & Photographed By Laura Wrede T he definition of art to many is a painting on the wall behind the couch that matches the decor. In reality the world of art goes far beyond a 2D painting. Creative media influence nearly every aspect of our society; from the patterns on our clothes, the painting on our cars, graphics and photos on our tech screens and product packaging designs, tattoos, cartoons, jewelry, dishes, desserts, shoes. . . the list is endless. It all relies on imaginative people creating some kind of visual art. Then there are the performing arts such as dance, theater, and music. These too are woven into the fabric of our society to such depths that to remove its imaginative influ- ence from our daily lives would leave us naked sitting on the floor of a concrete gray world filled with silence staring at blank walls. 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