Any culturenaut worth their liberal arts degree knows that the premiere gallery experience to be had in the wilds of West Marin is at Gallery Route One (GRO) in Point Reyes Station. As with any arts organization, GRO has weathered its share of trials since its inception in the early ’80s, so even a curveball like the Covid-19 pandemic will still result in a hit for the organization. How? GRO learned long ago to think outside, inside and generally within and without the proverbial box.
Don’t let all those prepositions fool you—this ain’t no Dr. Seuss book. It’s The Box Show, the Marin gallery’s popular annual exhibit, auction and fundraiser.
Since 1991, GRO has annually distributed 150 identically-sized wooden boxes to 150 artists with the proviso that they create something awesome within two months. The breadth of creativity that comes back is staggering. Nearly every form of artistic expression is represented—from painting and sculpture to multimedia works that defy easy categorization.
The wooden boxes themselves are about the size of a small valise, a typewriter case or a portable record player. Size doesn’t matter, however, as artists augment and play with the three-dimensional canvas as they see fit.
This year promises the same wow-factor despite—and perhaps even partly because of—the pandemic. Four hundred artists each vied for one of the 150 boxes, according to the gallery’s resident doyenne of the arts, the single-monikered artist and impresario Vickisa.
“Four hundred folks sign up for the lottery every year to take a spot,” she says. “They just put their name in, in the hopes that somebody will drop out and they’ll get a slot.”
As in years past, the boxes will be auctioned off as a fundraiser for the gallery’s outreach programs, including the Latino Photography Project, the Artists in the Schools Program, as well as exhibitions in the Project Space addressing environmental, immigration and myriad other social justice issues.
Box art fans are encouraged to participate in a silent auction via the Givi app (downloadable for Apple and Android devices, link at the gallery’s website) during the show’s six-week run. In-person bidder viewings can also be scheduled online or the public can attend a live auction at 2pm, Sept. 12 at the parking area adjacent to the gallery. The bidding is being processed digitally so bidders who can’t be personally present can still participate.
“Each week the gallery will also provide videos of different thematic sections of the exhibit, with additional artist-provided information, ideas and details about the intention behind the creation of specific works,” explains Vickisa. These weekly “docent tours” are available online, as is a complete exhibit tour via video (see website info below). “People are just passionate about it,” she adds.
The Box Show runs through Sept. 12. To book a viewing appointment on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, register to bid or donate, visit www.galleryrouteone.org. Additional information at facebook.com/galleryrouteone and @galleryrouteone.