Raising dough with pie

Fundraiser to help gallery add pottery studio, pie kitchen

Posted: Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Canvas Community Art Studio & Gallery hopes its "Dance For Pie" fundraiser on Friday night is a big step toward raising a final $100,000 to complete the popular downtown arts center.

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The staff wants to add a pottery studio, a take-out pie kitchen and new plumbing and electrical wiring in early 2008.

The Anchorage nonprofit Rasmuson Foundation has pledged $107,000, contingent on The Canvas raising a matching amount.

"It would be nice to complete the space and be able to focus on programming and supporting the artists in the community," program developer MK MacNaughton said.

Know and go

• What: "Dance For Pie."

• When: 7:30-10 p.m. Friday.

• Where: The Canvas Community Art Studio & Gallery, at REACH, 223 Seward St.

• Entertainment: Doug and Friends, Rumbachicas, Heat Rise, a pie walk, pies and drinks to sample, an auction, emcee Collette Costa.

• Admission: $15-$25, on a sliding scale, includes free slice of pie. Further donations accepted at the door.

Tickets: Pie in the Sky, Hearthside Books or The Canvas.

• For more information: Call586-1750 or visit www.canvasarts.org.

The space has proven to be popular. This summer, the studio drew an average of 20 to 100 people per week for its first full run of courses. For a list of offerings, visit www.canvasarts.org.

"We have classes through December, and they're incredibly diverse," MacNaughton said. "We're lucky to have wonderful artists throughout the community sharing their skills, everything from Polaroid transfer to felted slippers."

The gallery is booked through 2008.

"It's been a nice venue for local artists," MacNaughton said. "Some of the work coming up is exciting and innovative."

Andrea Mogil, proprietor of Pie In The Sky in the Merchants Wharf, plans to move her business into The Canvas once the kitchen is complete.

The take-out pie and coffee kitchen will have an attached cafe. The kitchen will employ some REACH clients, MacNaughton said.

The gallery will have full gallery-style lighting, and all the lights in the studio will be replaced.

The pottery studio will include six to eight wheels and a kiln. The kiln means an extensive electrical upgrade is necessary.

The upgrades include refurbishing the panels for the entire REACH building. New plumbing is also needed for the kitchen and the pottery studio.

The staff anticipates hosting a full schedule of classes once the pottery studio and kiln are complete.

"We've had more interest in that than just about anything," Director Annie Geselle said. "We have four classes right now that are very popular with REACH clients, but we can't open it to the public until this pottery studio is built."

The large multi-purpose studio space has been used by a variety of arts organizations, including Juneau Jazz & Classics, CrossSound and the Juneau Lyric Opera.

Last Saturday, a sold-out crowd of 120 attended the Juneau-Douglas Little Theatre's "24 Hour Miracle" and two dozen more had to be turned away at the door.

An adaptation of "True West" is planned for the near future.

"We're hoping this can continue to be an arts space for everybody," Geselle said.

"It's worked tremendously to promote inclusion," she said. "Just (Wednesday), (KTOO program director) Jeff Brown walked in with a pocketful of balloons. It's worked tremendously to promote inclusion of that nature. It's been really fun ... I think if we weren't identified as a community art studio, people wouldn't walk in and interact with the clients. The students here really love that interaction."

The staff considered cutting out the pie kitchen to trim expenses, but Rasmuson encouraged the facility to complete the full project.

Another fundraiser - a sit-down East Indian dinner and fine arts auction - is tentatively planned for Dec. 8. Geselle and MacNaughton also plan to continue to look for matching grants to raise money.

• Korry Keeker can be reached at 523-2268 or korry.keeker@juneauempire.com.

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