Apr 272011

LOT open on Third Street

By Paul Brown

On the 500 block of Third Street next to the Pak-n-save, gray and non-descript upon first glance, sits a building with no sign and a beige painted aluminum gate. Once a month or so, around eight, the building comes alive, and the crowd spills onto the sidewalk.

The Land of Tomorrow gallery sprung up on the north side of town in early 2009. According to their website, LOT aims to “facilitate the making and showing of experimental work in the fields of art, design, and music.” The idea for the space was conceived by Drura Parrish and Dima Strakovsky, who hoped to fill an unrepresented hole on the Lexington Art scene. They wanted to provide Lexington with space to go and see art that did not include water color flowers or tired, saggy nudes, but rather, a place to see new artists sailing on untested waters.

If you haven’t ventured inside these doors yet, you may be surprised by the expanses of its walls or the identities of its company. Many of the artists featured in the space are regional, coming from Kentucky, Lexington, even the neighborhood itself–the likes of Charlie Williams and Jacob Isenhour, among others. The gallery, which has two locations (the second in Louisville), wants to emphasize its locality and showcase Kentucky artists as both pertinent and progressive members of the art community at large.

In the next year, LOT will be adapting its business model to a residency style program, with emphasis on community education and development. Previously the gallery has functioned more traditionally by focusing mainly on exhibiting work. With the new plan, it hopes to establish more connections with the community by having artists live and make work in them, while also serving as educators through workshops.

“Contemporary art and design are by definition and function international entities,” observes Dima Strakovsky, one of Land of Tomorrow’s founders.  “However, their power centers are concentrated in major metropolitan areas (New York, London, LA, Berlin, Beijing…) We wanted to create an experiment, a situation where we could tap into what is going on on the international level and facilitate dialog with what is going on here locally. If the world is flat, we got to take advantage of it.”

LOT's daily nutritional artistic supplements.

Strakovsky and the rest of the folks at LOT hope to establish Lexington, as well as Kentucky, as a place to be for experimental art and to facilitate the efforts of artists within these communities. With this in mind, the gallery plans to keep up communications with its residents after their stays, intending to help them sell and market themselves and their work. Thus perhaps the main goal of the gallery is to give artists the tools and knowledge to be successful in a place that has not been traditionally too friendly to non-conventional artists.

Lots of things are happening at LOT, and they want their neighborhood to be a part of it. Come in and see the shows, be on the lookout for workshops, come to drink and dance and talk about art. LOT’s Lexington location, at 537 E. Third Street, has very recently established regular hours (Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 2-4 P.M.), but it still does meetings by appointment if you’d like.

Come on down and give them a look-see.

LOT’s next showing will feature local artists Natalie Baxter, Will Doerting, Natasha Giles, Sarah Hahn, Nathan Hatch, Matt Matsubara, Colleen Toutant, and Melissa van Sandt.  It opens on April 29 with a reception from 7:00 to 11:00. Drop on by.

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