Holyoke art gallery showcasing ‘Uncommon Goods – String Holders’

Nov 15 2017

“Uncommon Goods – String Holders” will be on display at the Race Street Gallery, located at 80 Race Street in Holyoke from Nov. 18 through Dec. 17.

The local arts scene knows Dean Nimmer well.

The visual artist, longtime fixture within Holyoke’s creative district – and champion of self-described “wacko ideas” – will treat visitors to the Race Street Gallery’s newest display, “Uncommon Goods – String Holders,” Nov. 18 through Dec. 17.

According to Nimmer, known to some under the pseudonym “Unique Fredrique,” the upcoming show serves a new challenge for artists across mediums while solidifying Holyoke’s place as home of an up-and-coming save haven for artists.

“In my own background, I’m originally from Milwaukee and I had a friend who collected string holders. In the 1930s and 1940s, and continuing today, there are caricatures of famous people, from Shirley Temple to the cast of ‘Wizard of Oz,’ who were immortalized in chalkware,” said Nimmer.

Familiar to anybody equipped with a sewing machine, Nimmer said that string holders were once a necessary tool – and a device of which he saw an opportunity to challenge more than 20 New England-based sculptors, painters and mixed media artists to create new forms of art.

“It’s kind of a transition from what was initially a very utilitarian thing. The spinning wheel had to hold string in a very particular way. The idea came to me to challenge artists – painters, sculptors, illustrators – to invent their own string holder. It’s utility is almost non-important,” said Nimmer, acknowledging the challenge posed to artists to create something new and different.

“It’s completely open territory. Somebody putting the show together can’t say, ‘well, I don’t see that as a string holder,'” he said. “This is a show of sculpture, painting and mixed media; I like the fact that it’s around a theme and that it’s an interpretation of that theme. People are really coming through with it.”

Nimmer said the show serves as a continuation of his goals as an artist – to not only make art accessible to the area community, but also, bring unique, one-of-a-kind shows to Holyoke’s Race Street Gallery.

“What I’ve tried to do is celebrate creativity and put things into art with a small ‘a’ instead of a capital ‘A.’ I want things to be accessible. Not only to be open to the public, but to stimulate people’s curiosity,” said Nimmer. “I think one of the problems with art, and I see it in teaching, it’s thought to be elitist, not for everybody, snobby, all of the stereotypes. It’s been exciting for me to do away with a lot of that.”

* * *

“Uncommon Goods – String Holders” will be on display at the Race Street Gallery, located at 80 Race Street in Holyoke from Nov. 18 through Dec. 17. The gallery will open on   Nov. 18 with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Gallery hours are Sat. and Sun., 12- 4 p.m. and by appointment.

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