Sunday, April 18, 2010

Angst Gallery: 360 Biz of the Month

Angst: an acute but unspecific feeling of anxiety.
Gallery: the moment after.

When I first envisioned 360 Biz of the Month I imagined it as an opportunity to recognize start-ups creating awesome technology—the new stuff that gets you excited if only for its simplicity and cleverness.

April appeared with a couple of nominations, but the timing wasn't right for the interviewee or interviewer.

The second week of April rolled in, and all available resources focused on finishing taxes.

Foursquare Day, April 16, took the collective pent up tax anxiety and funneled it into a hashtag: #superswarmpdx. I headed toward Whiffies and cherry fried pie. All kinds of people and entertainment awaited, but no inspiration.

Does it have to be technology? I asked myself on the drive home. Or, can I change the 'rules?'

Rules are made to be broken, I decided, or at minimum to be enhanced.

So, it is with pleasure that 360 Convos announces Angst Gallery as April's 360 Biz of the Month. This honor is awarded for demonstrating that a small space on Main Street can change the landscape, if not the world.

It's not technology that drives the Angst Gallery but a community of creativity, environmentalism, and active loyalty to Southwest Washington.

Owner and Gallery Director, Leah Jackson, opened the gallery in 2008 after she curated a masterful Baby Boomers exhibit at the Clark County Historical Museum. Prior to that she co-founded and directed Sixth Street Gallery, a Southwest Washington artist co-op.

I met Leah Jackson when our kids were in grade school. I picked up my darling in a car, she picked up hers via bicycle. Jackson is an avid fan of green transportation and championed PARK(ing) Day in Vancouver, Washington. PARK(ing) Day is a global event that originated in San Francisco and temporarily transforms metered parking spots into temporary public parks.

Three years later, the City of Vancouver rewarded Jackson's efforts by capturing on-street parking for bicycles directly in front of her gallery (pictured above). Today, anyone who rides a bike to downtown Vancouver can park it on the street at 1015 Main Street, Vancouver, Washington 98660. The bicycle parking will be officially celebrated in June during Angst Gallery's annual "Bike Love" show. For this event fees are dropped and any bike related art is welcome to be juried for the June show.

Angst Gallery features unique offerings from traditional oil on canvas, pen and ink, watercolors, ceramics and jewelry to steel sculpture, mixed media, and fiber art. The gallery also hosts interns from Vancouver School of Arts and Academics. Their work included learning how to jury a show and they actually juried the April show.

The gallery promotes local poets such as Christopher Luna and offers gallery space off-hours to hold poetry workshops. The deadly duo, local mystery writers Carolyn J. Rose and Mike Nettleton, also found a spot in the gallery to sell their latest book, The Big Grabowski. The ancient upright invites keyboardists to finger the ivories and browse the gallery's collection of CD's and LP's from local musicians that litters its immense top.

Environmentalism carries over into every segment of gallery life. The gallery has in its collection a remarkable piece of wearable-recycled art. Jackson approached Sherry Mowatt, the Artistic Director of the Fort Vancouver Tapestry Project, to create her incredible idea: a form-fitting, sexy dress made out of recycled bicycle tires.

Seriously. Bicycle tires.

Leah Jackson wore it to the 2007 Bicycle Transportation Alliance Alice Awards Event, and it was also on view during the Clark County Fair that year.

Angst Gallery has infused itself into the economic success of the area. It was a founding member of LOCALS, Lower Columbia Alliance for Living Sustainably, best known for advocating diverting 10% of business expenditures into the local area. Angst Gallery also co-founded BikeMe! Vancouver. The front room on the gallery is home to a plethora of bicycle publications from many organizations. Most of the publications are free and available to all gallery visitors.

So, what's next for Angst Gallery and owner Leah Jackson? Well, that is a surprise, but it has her out front of the space next door scrubbing tile.

Angst Gallery
1015 Main Street
Vancouver, WA 98660

Vehicle (and bicycle) parking. First 20 minutes on meter FREE.

Open Wed-Sat Noon-5.
Open til 8pm on First Fridays.

View Larger Map

Angst Gallery:  Website
SW Washington Zest: 10 minute conversation with Leah Jackson
SW Washington Center for the Arts; Doc published Summer 2009
Art is in the eye of the beholder: Student interns at Angst Gallery
Bike Love event June 2009: Bike photo gallery
Leah Jackson: Director Angst Gallery

March 2010 
February 2010 Moment of silence for bankrupt newspapers
January 2010 Gist