Tonight! We have an event at Subterranean in Chicago with a rising star showcase of hip-hop and R&B headliners including one of our own, Just Jacob. The night will be filled with music, food and drink specials, and a portion of the proceeds benefit Refuge Foundation for the Arts! You can check out more information on our calendar page here.
One of our artist residents, Ally Wilber, took some time to help us get to know her better. You may remember our previous journal features of Ally for her mural work at Seth’s Coffee (left), and for her curation of the visual component of Hopeland Festival 2018, which included her own mural composition at Three Three Five (right).
“Hey! I’m Ally Wilber. I’m originally from Navarino Wisconsin, about forty-five minutes north of Appleton and buried in the middle of the woods. I graduated from Ripon College nearly two years ago with a BA in studio art and English.
“After graduating, I found myself in Appleton as an intern at The Draw’s Feather and Bone gallery, helping its founder, John Adams, maintain, advertise, install, and de-install shows, when I wasn’t bartending near Shawano Lake. Near the end of summer, I was planning to move out of state somewhere warmer with a more established art community. I asked John if I could possibly stay at The Refuge for a week or two to focus on my artwork before taking a leap to a new place. Instead, I received a counter-offer to stay at The Refuge for a month while helping with the visual art portion of a music festival in Green Bay that eventually became Hopeland Festival.
“And now, a year and a half later, they still haven’t kicked me out! This last summer I was in charge of organizing the entire visual art portion of Hopeland Festival 2018, instead of simply helping. In addition, I’ve curated a Refuge Arts show and painted three public murals. I’ve had my writing published in two different anthologies, and there is still more to come. I’m forever grateful to The Refuge for giving me a worry-free place to lay my head, as well as a studio to work in as I’ve transitioned from student to artist without having to push my aspirations to the sidelines to make ends meet.
“While I’ll paint, draw, and create with almost any medium, I find a special kind of excitement while working with fire. Fire painting, also called fumage, involves mark-making with smoke/soot, and burns on a surface. There is something invigorating and teaching about working with a medium that cannot be controlled; a process that is both destructive and creative. If you’re interested in seeing what that looks like, follow me on instagram or check out my website.”
What are the five words that describe you as a person and an artist?
Vulnerable. Strange. Pensive. Fluid. Playful.
You’re stranded on a desert island alone and can only listen to three different songs. What three songs do you choose?
Thank You – Led Zeppelin
Girl -Santo and Johnny
Underground (from The Labyrinth) – David Bowie
You’re stuck on Mars and can only eat the same food for every meal. What is your selection?
A charcuterie plate! Cheeses, prosciutto, pickles, olives, grapes, pistachios, hummus, mmmm.
With wine of course.
What was your favorite project that you’ve ever done?
My senior seminar project at the end of my college career. It was a grouping of drawings and an altar, paired with poetry and some pretty vulnerable subject matter. “A Shrine to Perseverance,” I called it. The drawings can be seen on my website. The bird drawing from that piece is still one of my favorite drawings, which was later to be the design for my very first mural.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
First of all, I hope that I’m far from my greatest achievement. I have lots to do.
However, I’m pretty proud of myself for prioritizing my artwork, even though it hasn’t been easy and, therefore, having three large-scale public murals as well as two published writing pieces out in the world within the last year. I’m hoping to keep up the momentum.
What is your biggest goal or dream for the future?
To make some sort of impact with my writing and/or my art.
What would your autobiography be called?
Finish this sentence ‘Before I found the Refuge…’
I was very much in need of a community of creatives.
You never know who you’ll find around here. Refuge magic captured by artist resident Chad Brady.
Refuge Journal 54
Refuge Journal 52