Voices X September 6 – October 4, 2014

Call To Artists 2014

January 5, 2014alevasseurNews

Voices X—Make Your Mark

Call to Artists Open to all artists 18 years or older to submit for jury selection
Deadline for submission: March 1, 2014

Voices X, the Midwest’s premier art event, is now inviting artists to submit for their annual juried show. The Voices X gallery is a raw15,000 sq ft urban warehouse space  – ideally suited for the transformative art experience, which includes installations, video, two- and three-dimensional art.

Voices X, the anniversary exhibit of Voices from the Warehouse, is a month-long art exhibit and cultural event located in a re-purposed industrial warehouse within Dubuque, Iowa’s Historic Millwork District. Voices from the Warehouse is a grass-roots art movement wrought by distinctive artists and like-minded advocates.

Voices X is pleased to support the artists by offering a $300 stipend to each artist selected for the show, which will take place September 6 through October 4, 2014. Prizes have been increased for this anniversary event to $2,500 Best in Show cash prize, with $1,000 and $500 for place and show.

Artists are responsible for all costs, equipment and labor necessary for the delivery and removal of the work and assume all risk and damage to the work before and during installation as well as during and after removal.  All work will be fully insured for the duration of the Voices show.

Please adhere to these guidelines when submitting your proposal. Those entries that do not comply will not be considered.

  • A completed Voices from the Warehouse 2014 application including a 500-word, detailed explanation of the work you would like to submit and why it is appropriate for this show.
  • Send between 5 to 10 images of the specific work or sketches of your idea.
  • Photographs should be high resolution (300 dpi) and saved as jpegs (.jpg). If files are too large, send email request for a file drop location.
  • Include an artist statement and resume
  • Provide a valuation for the piece or pieces being considered for submission, for insurance purposes.
  • Voices will retain a 30% commission on any artwork sold.

Please send entries to: Janice Roerig-Blong, Exhibition Coordinator artists@voicesgallery.org

Important dates:
March 1         Entry postmark deadline

April 15          Notification of selected works
August 10-16 Delivery window for accepted work
Sept. 6           Opening Night Reception (artists are strongly encouraged to attend)
Oct. 4             Exhibition Closes
Oct. 20           Art must be removed from exhibit

Voices Speaks Presents Anis Mojgani

September 11, 2013alevasseurNews

“I always try to allow for new discoveries to happen to myself onstage when I’m performing work,” said spoken word performer Anis Mojgani, who will appear at Voices Gallery on Saturday, September 28, 2013, at 7 p.m.as part of  Voices Speaks. “For me, poetry is a tool to explore and discuss the things inside of me that I don’t always necessarily have the words for, and it’s the attempt for me to put them into words.”

An unconventional poet who uses compelling imagery to engage the audience, Mojgani’s work originates in personal narrative and moves toward the universal.“A lot of [my] stories are intended to leave audience members, hopefully, with a rejuvenated sense of self-empowerment and self-worth, leave them with the confidence and assurance that their lives have meaning and purpose,”he said.

“I spend a lot of time working on the words of it, and when I get up onstage, I try to allow myself to be open with myself in order to receive the work the way in which I hope my audience receives it, so that the things that I’m doing, which are coming from a sincere place, are also able to be delivered to somebody in a sincere and organic fashion.”

Pieces that Resonate

Written in free verse with keen attention to spoken rhythm, his poems share glimpses of reminiscence and pose meaningful questions to the listener. “I tend to start with myself simply because that’s what I know of. I’m a big believer that art becomes more universal by artists becoming more specific and personal, and sharing that personal aspect with others.”

“If I try to focus on something that is either a sincere feeling that I personally have or a specific incident or situation that I’ve experienced, and try to give that to other people, and what it means to me, then usually there’s something in that that triggers a recognition of theirs, or a memory of theirs, something specific to their life, and they’re able to experience what I’ve given to them more fully.”

A poem called “Sock Hop,” for instance, that is told from a first-person vantage point, contains symbols and metaphors from a specific period of his life. Although to some listeners, it may be a story about somebody else, he asserted, “It’s me, and it’s mine.”

At Voices Gallery,Mojgani will perform pieces to include audience favorites such as “Come Closer,” and “Here Am I.” His other work that resonates with audiences includes “Shake the Dust,” “Rock Out,” “For Those Who Can Still Ride in Airplanes,” and “Here Am I,” written 10-15 years ago. Examples of recently created poems are “This Is How She Makes Me Feel,” written about his wife,“Milos,” and “In My Library There Are 17 Books.”

The Creative Process

Mojgani describes his creative process as “a balance of discovering things and then shaping things. I try to allow myself to just create, and allow for whatever is going to come out of me to come out of me when I’m writing. As I go along on this exploration and discovery of trying to see and figure out what’s inside of me and what I feel like saying at that given moment, something might pop out of what I’ve written down that connects with me, or I might notice a pattern and follow that pattern. From that point, I just sort of follow the work as it comes out of me.”

“After that, I take whatever I’ve written, and if it’s something that I’m curious about, that I’m interested in exploring further, that’s when I start shaping things, whittling things down, adding more, moving sentences or words around. That’s where the work happens, in the shaping and the editing of it. That’s basically how I tend to work.”

Background and Accomplishments

Mojgani earned a BFA in Sequential Art (comic books) from Savannah College of Art and Design, with graduate training in performing arts. His achievements include twice winning the National Poetry Slam championship, and his poems have appeared in numerous publications and anthologies. His most recently published collection is titled “Songs from Under the River” (Write Bloody Publishing, 2013), and contains “a smorgasbord of early and new work.”

His success as a spoken word performer came at the brink of finishing his graduate thesis. “It was right at that juncture where I started having the opportunity to do what I do now professionally. It was this tossup: am I going to focus on this paper and be done with it, or take a leap forward and take a chance at what I’ve been moving toward over the last five years? I went with the jump toward doing poetry. So I don’t have the piece of paper.”

Following his passion, Mojgani has been making a living as a professional poet for 7½ years, averaging 3-4 months out of the year on the road doing shows and performances, primarily at colleges and universities. He spends “the rest of the time at home, trying to stay diligent on writing, while balancing the business aspect of what I do.” He plans to travel in early 2014 to teach at a school in China.

Traveling Toward Success

“There are certain things that I believe to be true about the world around us,” said Mojgani, about the journey to success. “That it supports us in our endeavors, that when we decide to take steps toward manifesting the things that will bring us happiness….If we take steps to manifest that into reality, the world around bends with us and gives us support. If we believe in that and we believe in ourselves, then we can’t fail.”

We keep moving forward even though obstacles may seem to block our way,he said. “Sometimes there are lessons to be learned and jewels to be given from these failures, from these missteps, from these challenges. What we might see as a failure on that road towards a perceived success is really something that puts us in line with a new journey, a new step, a new path. Even those times when we’re stumbling I think we’re still moving forward on a path.”

You are invited to hear Anis Mojgani perform from his work at Voices Gallery on Saturday, September 28, 2013, at 7 p.m. This Voices Speaks event is free and open to the public and is made possible through a partnership with Loras College and through arts funding from Humanities Iowa and City of Dubuque.The evening begins with an Open Mic showcase featuring local spoken word talent. Poets are invited to bring one short piece to read and sign up for the Open Mic at the door.  Musical guest Saba, hip hop artist from Chicago, will close out the night. To learn more about Anis Mojgani, visit his website at thepianofarm.com.

Voices Speaks events are designed to engage the community in word-based performance art celebrating the written and spoken word. Voices Speaks expands the range of Voices from the Warehouse 9: Follow Your Voice, a progressive, month-long visual art exhibition and cultural event in Dubuque’s Historic Millwork District, from September 7 to October 4, 2013. For the latest news and events, follow Voices from the Warehouse on Facebook at www.facebook.com/voicesgallery.

Contributed by Pamela Brandt – Pamela@creativedubuque.com

More information on Voices Event page

Sincere Connection

September 6, 2013alevasseurNews

follow voice opening  copyThe organizers of this year’s Voices show have chosen well from the forty-plus artists who answered their call for entries. The artwork is sincere, professional and speaks to big issues in a variety of ways. And, just as importantly, it holds up in the overbearing context of the warehouse space, with its patched-up floor and huge, battered pillars.  The building, and the neighborhood around it, is in transition between the world of 19th century industry and a new paradigm of urban housing and 21st century commerce. The exhibition is a play on this dialogue.

Brian Murer’s wood sculptures of tractors and guns, beautifully crafted of plywood and OSB, are the standout pieces in the show. Like giant toys, they mock our obsession with firearms and machines, at the same time that they recall the lumber industry that once thrived here, and the gun industry that built so many similar industrial towns in the U.S. His black satellite, suspended from the ceiling and beaming down on a wooden half grapefruit on the floor, is less successful. The paint obscures the craftsmanship, and the meaning seems forced.

Alexis Sixela, a French artist who spent several weeks making his artwork directly on the warehouse wall, creates the most obvious dialogue with the space. By turning the letters of the word “exploration” into abstract and sculptural elements, including a freestanding ‘I’, he eliminates the separation between the artwork and the gallery. 

The works of Randy Richmond, Corinna Button and Jason Scott seem almost destined to be shown in the dusty gloom of this gallery. Richmond’s lineup of small photographs, especially his recreations of 19th century “cartes de visite,” and the mahogany rocking chair he has set before them, evoke the sensation of looking back into a pre-technicolor world of black, white and brown, which he livens by inserting surreal touches, like a lighted taxidermy case of caribou set on the edge of a forest. His newer photographs of trees in floodwater, however, are more straightforward and poetic, and evoke the precious, watery light of 19th century photographs.

Corinna Button’s large portraits of high-collared women, with their complex surfaces and color schemes of brown and grey, painted on unstretched canvas, also bring a Victorian sensibility to the gallery.  The women’s heads perch on their high collars as if about to tumble down, along with the social structure they represent.

In the back corner of the gallery, Jason Scott has installed a whole hardware store full of carefully machined sculptures. Beautifully made, with elaborate pedestals and fixtures attaching them to the wall, their shiny industrial esthetic contrasts with the brick walls around them. The sheer number of works, and their uniform size, makes it a bit difficult to focus on one single piece, leaving the installation feeling decorative, despite the skill involved in the work.

The warehouse space, so unlike the “white box” in which contemporary art is often seen, makes us more aware of the physicality of the works on view. Megan Kalmes’ large, thinly painted images of bathers are especially fragile seen in this setting. Her figures, seen in or through water, are pushed to the very edge of nothingness, almost disappearing in a mist of paint.

Trish Feldman-Jansen, on the other hand, emphasizes physicality by making images of her own body directly on a scanner, then printing them large and suspending them between sheets of glass in the gallery. Here again, the contrast of the extreme intimacy of the images with the rawness of the space gives the work added impact.

While her work is landscape based, Ellen Hartmann Henkels’ large pastels on wood carry a feeling of body language not unlike that of Feldman-Jansen’s scans—and the physicality and size of the pieces fits this environment. Perhaps in the third work that the artist plans to create over the course of the exhibition, she will dispense with the landscape references altogether, following Georgia O’Keeffe’s direction into landscapes of the mind!

Marcellous Lovelace, on the other hand, presents humble cartoon-like paintings based in his childhood in South Chicago. Painted on scraps of canvas or old lumber, with drips of spray paint and collage elements, his work is most interesting when he focuses on detailed depictions of the faces, as in a small portrait against a yellow background.

The pale porcelain and crisp white fabric of Monica Balc’s figurative sculptures, and their underlying themes of infancy and motherhood, also stand out in the space. The most intriguing pieces, such as the mother with a baby encased in gauze like a cocoon on her back, convey an ominous feeling despite the crisp, clean whiteness of the cloth.

In her mixed media and ceramic installation, Angela Dieffenbach takes on a huge and very timely subject—the intersection of medicine, food and technology, as exemplified by the use of pig parasites to treat human diseases. It’s a tall order for an artist, but her pig rears, secreting little coils of clay onto a conveyor belt, and the string of sausages leading directly from the meat grinder to a disembodied head, open a dialogue about our increasingly complex relationship with our nature.

Against the industrial backdrop of the gallery, three artists have given us installations focused on broader world issues. Erica Fiero’s beautiful photographs from world travels, presented on lightboxes mounted on black walls, with humble stone cairns set along the floor, remind us of the magical world that exists outside our borders.

Stephen Crompton’s videos of “mall walkers” striding endlessly through the unearthly environment of deserted shopping malls show us a world even more surreal—and more unsettling—than Fiero’s images from India and Africa.

Stephanie Failmezger creates an installation of beautifully tiled pillars, set below a canopy of shining metal discs, each with a penny in its center. While the artist intends the pillars to represent the greed of the modern economy and its effect on the common man, her sense of color and surface contradicts her intention. This seems more like the setting for a joyous dance.

The ninth incarnation of Voices does the space, and the artists, proud, with a thought provoking selection of very professional work, and a mix of artists from nearby and faraway that merit attention now and into the future, wherever that may lead.

Contributed by
Tim Schiffer
Executive Director of the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa

Voices Speaks presents Iowa authors Mary Swander and Kevin Koch

September 3, 2013alevasseurNews

Voices Speaks presents Iowa authors Mary Swander and Kevin KochDriftless_Koch_Image

The midwestern landscape and the people who inhabit it will be spotlighted when Iowa author and poet laureate Mary Swander shares her work at Voices Gallery on Friday, September 27.One of a series of spoken word performances, this Voices Speaks event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 7 p.m.

The evening will open with a reading by Dubuque author Kevin Koch from his book, “The Driftless Land: Spirit of Place in the Upper Mississippi Valley” a collection of essays describing the wooded bluffs, prairies and savannahs, wetlands and riverways of this region,retelling its haunting Native American and natural history. The reading by Mary_Swander_NEW headshotKoch, professor of English at Loras College, will be accompanied by original music by another Loras College faculty member, musician and composer Robert Dunn. Doors open at 7p.m.

A Midwestern Favorite
Iowa poet laureate Mary Swander’s poetry and prose has been widely published. Titles include “Farmscape,” “The Girls on the Roof,” “The Desert Pilgrim,” “Out of This World,” “Driving the Body Back,” and “Parsnips in the Snow,” in addition to poems and theatrical productions.

“I work in all genres – poetry, nonfiction, and drama,” Swander said. Her astute but gentle portrayal of characters both human and animal, along with her insight about culture, nature, recovery, health, and the ironies of the human condition,all make her work delightful for the reader and the listener. She teaches creative writing at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

Because the genuineness found in Swander’s dialogue, description, and characterization marks her as a favorite amidst midwestern authors,this is not her first visit to Dubuque. In recognition of her literary achievements, she was appointed poet laureate of the state of Iowa in 2009 by Iowa governor Chet Culver, and re-appointed in 2011 by Terry Branstad.Those who have heard her read before will recall her special inter-weaving of life with fiction, to create poetic narratives that both compel and entertain.

Within the unique environs of the Voices Gallery exhibition, for this Voices Speaks appearance, Swander will choose passages from “The Girls on the Roof,”“Driving the Body Back,”and “Out of This World,”as well as from her chapbooks and other work. In a trademark folksy style, she plans to accompany her spoken word performance on the banjo.

The Real Work of Writing
“Writing is like hard work,” Swander admitted, speaking from her home in a former Amish schoolhouse in central Iowa’s Amish country. She recognizes the tremendous effort put forth by writers and authors. “You have people who think that you do it for the fun of it, but it’s actually my career, and there’s a lot of study and work that goes into it in the first place. And then you have to have the discipline to write it and revise it and send it out for publication. There’s a lot to it.”

Swander has written about topics such as Mississippi river flooding, the experience of Hmong immigrants,life among the Amish, gardening, faith, and health. With deep convictions about the value of living close to the land in a sustainable manner, she also co-founded the Ames-based group, AgArts, “an organization to explore the intersection of art and agriculture.”

Because of her demure but compelling storytelling and effective use of language, Swander’s spoken word presentation at Voices Speaks is sure to please the audience. One of her recent works, “The Girls on the Roof,”is a colorful tale of characters stranded on a rooftop during a flood,taking the form of a poetic novellain free verse. Swander said, “I’ve always been of the orientation that poetry should be read aloud, that you should pay attention to all the auditory devices and techniques, like rhythm, assonance, alliteration, rhyme, anything that will delight the ear.”

In addition to practicing the craft of writing, she mentors and teaches other writers along with future writing teacher sat Iowa State.To learn more about Iowa author Mary Swander, find her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/mswander, or visit maryswander.com.

Following the reading, please join us in the Voices Speak Easy for a performance by Iowa City folk musician Sam Knutson of The Iowa Opera House Project. To learn more, visit www.facebook.com/TheIowaOperaHouseProject. This musical performance is free and open to the public.

Voices Speaks events are designed to engage the community in word-based performance art celebrating the written and spoken word. Voices Speaks expands the range of Voices from the Warehouse 9: Follow Your Voice, a progressive, month-long visual art exhibition and cultural event in Dubuque’s Historic Millwork District, from September 7 to October 4, 2013. For the latest news and events, follow Voices from the Warehouse on Facebook at www.facebook.com/voicesgallery.

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Contributed by Pamela Brandt – Pamela@creativedubuque.com

Voices Speaks: Galen’s Jazz Flute Quartet

August 29, 2013alevasseurNews

Voices Speaks: Galen’s Jazz Flute Quartetgalen

Spoken word performances by students from area colleges will be showcased when Voices Speaks hosts jazz flautist Galen in an interactive performance on Friday, September 13, 2013, at Voices Gallery, 10th and Jackson Streets, Dubuque, Iowa.The event is free and open to the public, with doors opening at 7 p.m.

“It’s going to be a hodge-podge, a mix and blend of compositions. We’ll do some music trivia where I’ll give away some prizes,” said Galen, from his home in Florida. “I will have three other musicians with me, a piano player, a bassist, and a drummer. That will be, of course, a flute quartet. They’re going to be there, putting it down along with me, and we’re going to have a good time.”

“We’re going to play what we feel.When we get up on the bandstand, we’ll do probably a mix and blend of what they know and what feels good with them, and what I know. This’ll be the first time we’ve ever worked together. They come highly recommended, and we’re going to have some fun.”

A talented flautist who followed his passion for jazz into a career, Galen recorded the album “In the Tradition” in 1999 and also appears on the recordings of other artists. He gives musical lectures at up to 150 colleges per year and has visited the tri-state area in the past, although this will be his first time at Voices.One of his areas of expertise is women in jazz, highlighting great women in music and inspiring women in the audience to keep pushing toward excellence.

Audience members at this Voices Speaks event will enjoy the opportunity to view art in the Voices Gallery and listen to spoken word performances by area college students, to a sensuous backdrop of jazz.

“Jazz is like the most favorite thing in this world you ever wanted to do, wrapped in a nice warm blanket,” said Galen. “It’s like morning dew. It’s like getting up in the morning and hearing the sound of the symphony of the birds. It’s like being hugged and caressed. It’s the most beautiful feeling on the planet. Good, good music when it’s played by great people who have the feeling of executing it, Jazz is life. Jazz is a story. It’s essence, the very essence of people…. Jazz is.”

This Voices Speaks event is made possible with arts funding from Humanities Iowa, City of Dubuque, and Loras College.To learn more about jazz flautist Galen visit his website at www.flutejuice.com.

Voices Speaks events are designed to engage the community in word-based performance art celebrating the written and spoken word. Voices Speaks expands the range of Voices from the Warehouse 9: Follow Your Voice, a progressive, month-long visual art exhibition and cultural event in Dubuque’s Historic Millwork District, from September 7 to October 4, 2013. For the latest news and events, follow Voices from the Warehouse on Facebook at www.facebook.com/voicesgallery.

Contributed by Pamela Brandt – Pamela@creativedubuque.com

This event is sponsored by Humanities Iowa, the City of Dubuque, and Loras College

Voices from Warehouse Opens for 9th year!

August 21, 2013alevasseurNews

Voices from the Warehouse District, Dubuque’s annual progressive arts show, will open for its ninth year on Saturday, September 7. 

The show takes place over a four-week period in the lower level of the Wilmac Building, at the corner of 10th and Jackson Streets in the Historic Millwork District.  The 15,000 square foot warehouse space will be transformed into a unique, world class art gallery and unique performance venue.

The Opening Reception will be the first opportunity for the public to see the works from 16 local, national and international artists who were chosen to display their work at this year’s show. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. and there is a $10 admission fee at the door.

In honor of the opening, the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra will bring a chamber ensemble to perform a reduced version of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. Never has a musical piece evoked so much controversy. Stravinsky used strange and modern sounds to depict ancient pagan rituals shattering all expectations. Over 100 years later, the piece is still shockingly modern.

“This is one of my all time favorite pieces. I’ve always dreamed of conducting it,” said William Intriligator, Dubuque Symphony Orchestra music director and conductor. “It is so incredibly full of life and in a primal way helped to create the idea of modern music. The raw energy and revolutionary spirit of Rite of Spring is perfect for Voices.”

Other events which will take place throughout September include:

Viewing of selections from the Tom and Kitty Stoner video collection – 6 pm, September 8

Galen – an interactive jazz performance – 7 pm, September 13

Art Slam – a timed painting competition – 8 pm, September 21

Mary Swander, Iowa Poet Laureate – 7 pm, September 27

Anis Mojgani, National Poetry Slam Champion – 7 pm, September 28

Click here for a full listing of events

Gene Tully, who is the founder and director of Voices from the Warehouse District, says that the show began as an experiment in contemporary art.


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10th and Jackson Street
Dubuque, Iowa

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