The Ely Art Bank is currently showcasing artists in an exhibition running all summer long. After months on display, the art show ends with a reception on October 14, 2023 where awards will be given and artists will be recognized. The theme of this current feature is aptly titled “Where the World Met and Became One.”
“The theme of it allows the artist to tell a story with their art,” said Virginia Terry, founder of the Ely Renaissance Society and curator of the Ely Art Bank and Garnet Mercantile.
Virginia is a proud Ely native. She founded the Ely Renaissance Society in August of 1999 in hopes of reestablishing downtown Ely as a place to be. A nonprofit organization, the Society consists of volunteers and is interested in two main aspects: art and history.
“We have such a wonderful history here, because they brought in these workers from all over the world,” Virginia says. “And so here they came in from all different countries. They lived in this little tiny mining camp that is out of everybody’s reach almost, so they had to get along.”
This story coined the phrase “Where the World Met and Became One” and establishes a baseline to much of the Renaissance Society’s work. Whether it be in the first murals that appeared in Ely’s downtown, or in the group’s Renaissance Village, the message is always present.
In the Renaissance Village’s case, the story is told through its several houses. Each house represents a different ethnic group that came and helped build the area. Descendants of these families who still live here have even donated their original furniture, pictures, or clothes. For this reason and many others, “Where the World Met and Became One” is the perfect theme of this summer’s art exhibition.
The Ely Art Bank is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Everyone is encouraged to come in and not only view the art, but also vote on it. A total of 21 works make up this summer’s gallery. Each piece has a corresponding number, visitors write that number on a post-it note, and then place their choice in a pig shaped jar. Votes are counted at the end of every month.
“I will say the month of July, almost every piece of art came out with almost the same number,” said Virginia. “So people are really taking a lot of time to study the art pieces and what tells a story to them.”
The end of July saw a total of 110 votes.
Not only are these works able to be viewed, much of the artwork is also for sale. Simply inquire about the artwork to Virginia or another volunteer.
The awards reception in October is intended to honor all the participating artists. It will also be where First, Second, Third, Fourth, and People’s Choice Awards will be announced.
Earlier this summer, five independent judges were chosen to pick their favorite pieces of art. Their choices determined the placement of the top four displays.
“These are people that know art,” Virginia said. “There are people we’ve used sometimes in the past, sometimes different, but they were all individuals. So they didn’t have to go by what anybody else thought and they didn’t have to agree.”
October 14th’s award reception at the Ely Art Bank takes place at 4:00 p.m. and will include appetizers, drinks, and the introduction of each artist. The event is also the same day as the annular solar eclipse that will sweep across the county and makes it officially a part of the Ring of Fire Festival.
An annular solar eclipse is when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth. Such an eclipse raced across the western U.S. back in 2012. This year, the path for a perfect “Ring of Fire” is here in White Pine County. Taking advantage of what is sure to be a major event, a Ring of Fire Festival is set to take place with a long list of goings-on countywide.
Visit the Ely Art Bank Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., view and vote for your favorite work of art, and have your calendar marked on Oct. 14, 2023 at 4:00 p.m. for an Awards Recognition Reception dedicated to the amazing artists.