10 art seniors to showcase capstone work at First Friday event

Caitlyn Berman

The Merchant Room, a studio space above Walnut Creek, will be hosting the work of 10 CSU art seniors in a First Friday gallery event May 1.

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The Merchant Room at Walnut Creek. (Photo credit: Linda Roth)

Walnut Creek, an eclectic retail store featuring the work of over 65 different vendors, is opening a new arts collaborative business upstairs called The Merchant Room. Owners of the studio space will allow these senior students to showcase their work for First Friday.

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“I like the idea of it being a lowbrow artist space,” said Linda Roth, CSU student teacher and executive director of The Merchant Room. “We want to serve the starving artists — the ones who are just starting out.”

The studio space will exhibit a variety of unique student installations, including photography, sculpture and ceramic pieces.

“One thing that will be really different in our event is that it will be almost interactive,” Roth said. “One student will hang huge jellyfish by the windows, there will be chains hanging from the ceiling and 3-foot-high photographs to navigate through.”

Exhibiting art senior, Hyang-Jin Cho, is prepping a variety of materials for the event.

“My installation work consists of three parts; a 5-foot-tall figure, a wall piece and three pots with 8-foot-high hanging scrolls,” Cho said. “I think (this night) will provide people a chance to look into their own minds and gaze at the outside world with diverse perspectives.”

This will be the first gallery event that The Merchant Room has hosted. The space has been vacant for a number of years, and the owners are excited to rent the remaining room out for various causes.

“We have a lot of rooms that can be used for offices, galleries, educational spaces, meetings or parties,” Roth said.

With some slight renovations, including white washing the walls and polishing the wood floors, the 12-foot-high space will be ready for the public.

As a student teacher for the art department at CSU, Roth stresses the importance and necessity of creating an art-supportive community for those transitioning out of college.

“My experience is that when people graduate, they just feel lost because they have no more studio time and no access to the advanced equipment they had at the university,” Roth said. “We want to support that transition, facilitating an arts advocacy business offering exhibiting artists the chance to also sell their work.”

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The shop will also be hosting another art-related event in May, featuring 3D printers. This event will be part of Fort Collins Startup Week, which is a “celebration of everything entrepreneurial, creative and innovative,” according to the event’s Facebook page. Fort Collins Startup Week events will take place from May 26-31.

With these exciting art events planned, Walnut Creek and The Merchant Room are truly art-centered, community-oriented spaces geared towards allowing artists a chance to present and sell their work.

For any further information regarding the First Friday student event, or regarding interest in renting out the available space for other causes, email topstoryatWalnutCreek@gmail.com.

Collegian A&E Writer Caitlyn Berman can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @CaitlynBerman.