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Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011 07:19 pm

Third Thursday phenomenon


Artwork on display at a recent Third Thursday Art Show.

Close to a year ago area artist Mike Mayosky extended his longtime outreach of art to the public by inviting other artists to display works in a free-for-all party of sorts that functioned as a downtown art show/music concert event. As one might imagine, it went over quite well and Mayosky had another and another, each one a success for presenting art, visual and aural, to the Springfield community.

After awhile the term Third Thursday designated the show and soon became an underground code for a hip night on the town every third Thursday of the month. Mayosky hosted the original event at Bar None then moved it to the Hickox House above Norb Andy’s for a good run last summer. After Norb’s underwent an ownership change, the loosely connected group of artists found a welcome home at Café Andiamo!, utilizing the downstairs area known as Charley’s Club. For the December holiday show Mayosky rented the top of the Hilton, where one might say, Springfield art reached lofty heights in presentation.

A few months back the itinerant artist (it says so on his business card) temporarily relocated to Grand Rapids, Mich., to participate in a group city art project, yet still helps from long distance to keep Third Thursday going. Without the steadying hand of the originator on location, the freewheeling collective of rotating artists has learned to deal with the many issues that arise from organizing, coordinating and promoting an event with the magnitude and complexity of the ever-expanding Third Thursday Art Show.

According to local multi-media artist/musician/activist Ted Keylon, a longtime friend of Mayosky and original Third Thursday participant, pulling off the nearly impromptu shows induce a combination of frustration, elation and satisfaction.

“We realize things as we go along and hammer out differences every day,” says Keylon. “It’s kind of like anarchy and it’s kind of free, like it’s on its own.”

When I attended a few shows at Norb’s last summer the feeling is like, something is happening here, but it’s not identifiable or classifiable, hardly describable and barely tangible. Third Thursday often gets defined by what it is not, rather that what it is. More than likely artists asked and scheduled to be there do show and that is the preferable mode, but the improvisational possibilities created by the looseness of the event adds a touch of excitement and an air of intrigue not normally associated with standard art shows.

“Musicians just started showing up to play too,” says Keylon. “Sometimes more than one would be playing at the same time so I tried to coordinate times to avoid that at later shows.”

While Keylon helps schedule the several musicians who come to play each event, Mandy Magill coordinates arranging places for everyone to display and keeping the host venue in order. Ryan Sponsler, the third main organizer in a purposefully leaderless group, covers promotion and several other issues. By all standards the group remains a relatively loose yet tightly functioning cooperative, walking the line between rigid rules of organization and rambling ways of artistic impulse.

“Barnabus (Helmy) at Andiamo gave us a home base and we’re going stay there for awhile, though some people like the idea of having it at a different venue each month,” says Keylon. “That appeals to my sense of anarchy but being in the same spot has its advantages.”

All ages are invited to attend the event and show art for that matter (under 18 need parental permission). There is no entrance charge and the art works are for sale. For more information check out http://www.thirdthursdayartshow.com or better yet stop by at Café Andiamo!, Jan. 20 from 5 p.m. to midnight and see what’s going on on a Third Thursday.

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.


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