SUMMERVILLE — Just over two years after the Public Works Art Center opened, it will host a string quartet from the Summerville Orchestra in its “SPARK” exhibit on September 24.
“A Musical SPARK” is the first in a series of free concerts the organizations are hosting at the PWAC at 135 W. Richardson Ave. The orchestra’s string quartet will play selections from Tchaikovsky’s “Children’s Album” and PIXAR music, to name a few, and visitors can listen while browsing the visual arts on display, making it an “arts-mersive” experience.
As two of the biggest artistic players in the Summerville area, it was time for a collaboration between PWAC and the orchestra, said Jana Riley, executive director of the art center. And they specifically wanted to team up for something open and accessible to the general public.
“You look at the art, you listen to the music, and you’re kind of taken on a journey through the heart of our community,” Riley said.
Wojciech Milewski, the conductor of Summerville Orchestra, said he is looking for ways to collaborate with other arts organizations in the area. Part of the orchestra played at an event at the art center in 2021, which gave him the idea of forming some kind of partnership with them, preferably in the form of a series of music by bedroom.
“We all agree that there needs to be some kind of artistic collaboration in this space,” Milewski said. “There’s nothing better than when the arts come together to tell a story, and the merging of art and music just made too much sense to all of us.”
They paired the first concert with the SPARK exhibition, an annual exhibition of art by members of the community. Riley said the center picks a theme — this year’s was “growth” — and accepts each piece submitted. There’s a small fee ($20 for adults, $5 for children) that helps raise money for the PWAC, but Riley said the center often waives it for those in need, making it a “true community art exhibition“. This year, more than 150 pieces are exhibited from September 23 to November 4.
“You’ll have a (one-person) person who just started painting last week next to someone who’s been doing it for 70 years, you know, and they’re treated exactly the same,” he said. she declared.
Milewski said the quartet’s musical selections were inspired by the exhibit’s youth component.
“I hope music and art can have some kind of dialogue,” he said.
Riley said she often feels like a lot of people don’t think art — especially visual art or traditional orchestral music — is for them, either because they think they’re talented or competent enough to engage in it, either because the experience of visiting a gallery or attending a concert is too expensive.
She hopes the concert series will show people that’s not the case.
“This is for you,” she said. “The arts are for everyone. The arts should be inclusive and accessible to everyone.”
The orchestra and the PWAC are planning future concerts in the same style for December 17, February 25 and May 6. Each concert lasts from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and tickets are available on the Summerville Orchestra website.