Leaving an impression

Artists' plans for travel leave a hole

Posted: Thursday, August 23, 2007


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  "Fading" Watercolor by Pam Mersch

"Bishop's Beach" Watercolor by Rube Tikka

On its Web site, the Triumvirate Theatre declares a loss and celebration: "The Triumvirate is losing two of its most valuable volunteers, watercolorists Pam Mersch and Rube Tikka."

When Rosie Reeder, volunteer coordinator for the theater's bookstore, thinks of volunteers like Tikka and Mersch, she thinks "core."

"That's the first word I think of as they've been so consistent and flexible. They both will fill in for people, they'll work their regular shift, they'll work an extra shift. They just really believe in the whole concept that we are there for, which is the art," Reeder said.

Triumvirate operates a bookstore, theater and gallery space that works almost as a cooperative. Volunteers staff the bookstore and receive an insider's view of the organization's workings.

"It's really cool because I have not a creative bone in my body, but when there's an auction or a show, it's like we're on the inside because we get to sell tickets and go to the performances and all that kind of thing. It's really fun," Reeder said.


"Fading" Watercolor by Pam Mersch

Artists who are looking for an opportunity to show their work can exchange volunteer hours for the chance to hang their work. In order to show, an artist must be willing to commit to at least one three-hour shift a week. Volunteers like Tikka and Mersch will be difficult to replace, though, Reeder said.

"That's the part that I find interesting, because they're there to promote visual art, but they're so interested in helping the kids find books and helping other people find books that they want," she said, "Really, only about a third of our volunteers are artists. The rest are people like myself that are just really interested in moving the concept forward. They're there to promote the whole concept of the theater and the bookstore and the art gallery."

Reeder said the theater is always looking for new, willing people. Tikka and Mersch's departure draws attention to the nature of volunteerism there.

"We do need some more volunteers. Not just because they're leaving, but it's just a volatile kind of thing. People come and go they go to work, and retire and go do other things so we always need more volunteers. And they don't have to be an artist," she said.

But it's nice to have artists.

"It's pretty sad that we're losing (Mersch and Tikka) at the same time. They're kind of the majority of our art," said Chris Jenness, one of the Triumvirate's founding members and another artist who contributes to the gallery.

To thank the two for the their service, the Triumvirate is hosting a gala art auction, with live and silent auctions, at 6:30 p.m. Friday. There will be more than 30 paintings ranging from still life to abstracts to landscapes available for purchase. All of the pieces currently are hanging in the theater.

"I like to use a lot of color. My paintings have a lot of color in them," said Tikka of his work.

"I haven't done too much painting on Alaska. I have a few pieces there, but I'm interested in painting all sorts of different stuff. Street scenes in different countries ... I have at least half a dozen of those," Tikka said.

"All the paintings there are a result of my travels South Africa, the Netherlands, England, Mexico, Argentina, Spain various places from the paintings that will be in the show are all from my travels."

Tikka is heading south to warmer temperatures: New Mexico.

"It's one of the things he's known for," Jenness said. "He and his wife, Ellie, are known to travel."

Mersch, who also is known for her strong use of color in her paintings, will be traveling, as well, but a tad bit further than New Mexico. She and her husband, Steve, are heading to England, where Steve plans to do veterinary work.

An artists' reception for Tikka and Mersch with refreshments will begin at 6 p.m. Friday.

All proceeds will be split between the artists and the theater, to support arts in the community.

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