Special Exhibit

Paintings inspired by The Fire Tour by

Barb Whitney

September 7 – 19, 2021
Tuesday – Friday, 3pm to 6pm
Saturday and Sunday, 2pm to 5pm
Special Artist-in-Residence Day: Saturday, September 18, 2pm-5pm

The Williamston Theatre’s audio historical walking tour, The Fire Tour, is the inspiration for this set of work by Michigan artist Barb Whitney. The exhibit is in the front lobby of the Theatre, and is free and open to the public. There will be complimentary handmade watercolor notecards for visitors. Selected works will be available for purchase. Please note that masks are required to be worn in the Williamston Theatre building.

Barb Whitney is a visual artist, arts educator, and executive director for Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center. Of note, Whitney serves as adjunct faculty for Michigan State University and recently co-chaired the Mayor’s Arts & Culture Commission in Lansing. Among accolades, she participated in ArtPrize as an artist for multiple years, received the Michigan Art Education Association’s Distinguished Service Award in 2019, and served as a grant panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts’ emergency funding in 2020. For more about Barb Whitney, visit barbwhitneyart.com, and for more about Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center, visit lansingartgallery.org.

Barb Whitney
Artist’s Statement

I re-cultivated my studio art practice during the pandemic based on The Fire Tour. These mixed media pieces are rooted in emotion: my sense of abstracted reality as I explored Williamston’s history and immersed myself in the concept of fire.

I’m a practicing visual artist, an educator, and an arts administrator. My training is academic; however, I make work in a highly intuitive painting process.

In the studio for this project, I actively pursued the concepts of time, fire, memory, and history. I often painted several works concurrently. Each piece begins with a dark, charcoal-black ground and becomes increasingly layered with paint. Most works have between 5 and 30 layers. They are each a thematic means to the emotional end exploring infinite color studies with the play of light and shadow.

I hope you feel the fire, and I hope you enjoy learning about Williamston’s history through The Fire Tour. Understanding our history helps us create a better future. For your purposes, I’ve also included complimentary Fire Tour-inspired watercolor notecard. Please take a moment to reflect, then pay it forward. Send it to a loved one with a memorya piece of your shared history. 

Thanks to the crews at The Williamston Theatre and the Arts Council of Greater Lansing for their support. Special thanks to The Williamston Theatre’s John Lepard for writing and producing The Fire Tour. To Executive Director Emily Sutton-Smith: thank you for the inspiration. You’re a lodestar in all facets of my creative practice.

My artistic journey is fostered by loved ones, colleagues and teachers. Jon Whitney helped make artwork for The Fire Tour possible (despite a global pandemic) with spontaneous critiques and endless support. I’ll be forever grateful.

The Fire Tour Exhibit is made possible with support from an Artist in the Community Grant from the Arts Council of Greater Lansing.

The WT Gallery

The Williamston Theatre Gallery was established during our first Season in 2006 with a clear mission – to showcase the work of Michigan artists and give them an opportunity to sell their work for a fair price. Work featured in the gallery is sometimes thematically related to the work featured on our stage, and a portion of the sales comes back to benefit the Williamston Theatre. Visit our gallery whenever you come to the Williamston Theatre, as the exhibits change with each production. Thank you for being lovers of art.

The WT Gallery in the rear lobby of the building is currently closed.

Gallery Exhibition Space
The Williamston Theatre Gallery is located in the rear lobby of the Theatre. The rear lobby is also the location of the public restrooms, so most patrons visiting the Theatre go through the Gallery. The Gallery exhibition space is approximately 432 square feet with 65 running feet of wall space. The track lighting in the room is only minimally adjustable. Mounting of pieces can be directly into drywall with nails, or hung on a track system. We cannot accommodate sculpture unless it can be hung on the wall.

Artwork exhibited is not required to be for sale. If the artwork is for sale, the artist must determine the retail price. Payment will be made directly from the purchaser to the artist. The artist is then required to pay the Theatre a 30% commission on the sale. Artists whose work is exhibited in the Gallery are required to sign a contract with the Theatre.

Artists who are interested in having their work exhibited in the Gallery should contact Executive Director John Lepard at john at williamstontheatre.org.

Click here to download a sample of our WT Gallery Artist Contract: wt-gallery-artist-contract