Arts: Box art

Unlimited creativity defines annual Gallery Route One show

133 THE FAMILY Betty Woolfolk

By Lily O’Brien

Although all of the art is centered around the idea of using a box, thinking “outside the box” is a basic requirement at Gallery Route One’s annual Box Show in Point Reyes Station. The show, now in its 18th year and running from August 5 through September 18, is so popular that the only way for artists to get in is by lottery.

The rules of the show are simple, and imagination and creativity have no limits: Each chosen artist is given a box, either assembled or unassembled, to create whatever he or she wants—as long as “some” part of the box is used in the finished piece. Using anything and everything to adorn the boxes, artists include intricate dioramas, towering sculptures, glow-in-the-dark-mobiles, bizarre contraptions, paintings and boxes within boxes within boxes, among other things. Themes are whimsical, wacky, beautiful, strange, playful, poignant, thought-provoking and inspiring, and each has a personality all its own.

Every artist needs to get out of their comfort zone, and this is a perfect opportunity to do that,” says Raoul Spiegel, a local artist who has been in the show for around seven years, and who makes wearable art from feathers, leather and beads.

The idea for the Box Show came from one of the gallery founders, Nick Corcoran. Corcoran handmade all of the pine boxes for the first show, a fundraiser, in 1998. But the show was such a hit that it continued. And Corcoran kept making the boxes—150 of them, for many of those years.

At the end of the show, a closing party is thrown, and final bids for each box are made; the highest bidders take home the prizes, and proceeds support Gallery Route One’s exhibitions and community outreach programs.

This year’s Box Show will be dedicated to Betty Woolfolk, former executive director of the gallery and Box Show manager, who passed away on June 29. Toni Littlejohn, chairman of the gallery’s Board of Directors, has stepped in to help manage the show. “Betty loved the gallery,” Littlejohn says by phone. “She was just so dedicated … she really wanted to make it for the Box Show.

“A lot of people this year are making boxes that are dedicated to Betty’s memory,” she continues. “I feel her—she’s around. I don’t feel like she’s left yet.”

The Box Show; August 5 through September 18 at Gallery Route One, 11101 Highway One, Ste. 1101, Point Reyes Station; 415/663-1347; Opening reception: Sunday, Aug 7, 3-5pm; closing party/auction: Sun, Sept 18, 2pm.

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