KINGMAN – Pat Evans received entries from as far away as Vichy, France, for last year’s debut 6x6 on Route 66 canvas art show that benefits Kingman Center for the Arts studio and gallery, though most of the 437 pieces came from talented local artists.
The fundraiser netted nearly $5,000 for the nonprofit Beale Street Theater organization last year, and gallery manager Evans is hoping to raise at least that amount again this year.
The funds help pay expenses at the art gallery, which is expanding its presence with classes, recitals, magic shows and ballroom dancing, all to benefit restoration efforts for the historic Beale Street Theater.
The first phase of the renovation is estimated to cost $200,000, with full restoration targeted at $800,000 to $1 million.
The 6-inch-by-6-inch canvases are available for purchase for $5 at the Kingman Center for the Arts gallery, 208 E. Beale St., and at the Powerhouse Visitor Center, 120 W. Andy Devine Ave. They’re due back at the gallery by Sept. 8. The show runs Sept. 28-Oct. 27.
Evans said last year’s fundraiser and art show was received with “awe and enthusiasm.” People were hit with the “wow” factor as soon as they walked into the gallery, she said.
Among the featured artists were Doris Lightwine, Sara Peterson, Paul VerBurg, Steve Kocher, Karin Goudy, and Greta and Joe Warren.
“What amazed me is the variety of creativity,” Evans said. “Over 400 artworks and no repeats. Each one was a delight. It was truly a treasure hunt.”
Of particular note were a stained-glass frog panel lighted from the back, a welded metal mountainscape with pine trees, a crochet snake, a sculpted clay dragon, a tooled leather panel, a sculpture made out of Crayons with the canvas as a base, and lots of Route 66-themed images.
About two dozen of the pieces were sold for $20 each, which makes it easy for people to afford an original piece of art and support the arts community, Evans said. Others were sold at live and silent auctions.
The show was open during Andy Devine Days, so a lot of tourists stopped in and purchased art, she added. Some of the leftover tiles are still for sale and on display in the gallery restroom.
“What I find so humbling is that so many artists were willing to create an original piece of art – most donating $5 to receive a blank canvas – and then donate that art to us so we could raise funds,” the volunteer gallery manager said.
Cheryl Thomas, a Kingman artist who teaches in Yucca, stopped into the gallery Wednesday to pick up a stack of canvases for her students.
“What I think is so wonderful about the 6x6 show is that it is open to all ages in the community,” she said. “It is a great way to support KCA and build the arts in our town.”
Family-friendly artwork using the 6-inch square canvas can include paintings, mosaic, fabric, collage, sculpture, a recipe, poem or even a packet of seeds from your garden, Evans said.
Kingman Center for the Arts and Beale Street Theater can only be successful if the community participates, Evans said. It received support from the City of Kingman Tourism Department and Blick Art Materials that sponsored some canvases.
Kingman Center for the Arts was founded in 2016 by a group of volunteers committed to promoting visual and performing arts in the community. A big part of the plan is to renovate Beale Street Theater into a home for a local acting troupe and other performing arts.
The group has grown to nearly 300 volunteers, producing and performing two to four plays a year along with other entertainment.
Another important component is the art gallery has monthly shows with a broad scope of visual art, ethnic and cultural diversity, and promotes all levels of artistic ability.