After years of operating her I.D.E.A Gallery out of a small space in Chamblee, native Atlantan Amy Spanier put the pieces of a complicated puzzle together to arrive at a spacious, unusual, well-located space.
I.D.E.A initials stand for “Innovate Design Exhibit Art,” with the original mantra of “being a living, breathing exhibit space, hung salon style, with curated works by brilliant artists who currently fly under the radar,” per Spanier, also an interior designer.
On Nov. 9, Atlanta’s artists and art admirers turned out to usher in the gallery’s new space at 4945 High Point Road in Sandy Springs, just a stone’s throw south of the Atlanta Jewish Academy and Congregation Beth Tefillah.
Located in the Highpoint Episcopal Community Church, there are 245 original works of art from 45 different artists spanning beginners to the prolific, with price ranges for various buying levels. All are local except for one. Many of the artists are Jewish and have been featured in the Atlanta Jewish Times Chai Style Art column.
Joel Barr remarked, “The size of the crowd tonight is testament to the enthusiasm of what Amy is doing. Other than the High Museum, I’ve never seen such a great opening night turnout.” A man of many styles, Barr posed by his large mixed media “Mr. Hopewell, The Architect” ($4,000).
Sculptor Phyllis Kravitz said, “Amy is adding a lot to the community and helping artists.” Kravitz had several pieces on display, including “Figure Standing On Head,” which is 66 by 33 inches.
Barbara Wilensky noted, “Amy is giving a shot of energy to the art community.”
One of Wilensky’s pieces was a mixed media wax and oil “LOVE” for $2,200. Fran Scher was on hand with several of her abstracts like “Any Way The Wind Blows,” a 48 x 48-inch acrylic for $2,300.
Dr. Gary Bodner, a local artist and instructor, was on hand to admire and encourage.
Shopping for more space for such exhibits, Spanier explained how she finally zeroed in on the church. “I found out that three I. D. E. A. artists, as well as many more, were members of this ‘sort of’ failing church. They had little art shows in their foyer every few months; but they weren’t open, so they did not have many sales.
“Ana Guzman, an I.D.E.A. artist and church member, told me it was her turn to have her work exhibited, and asked if I would curate her show. We had her opening and sold 10 paintings – unheard of! As I was walking around the church afterwards, I strolled into this crazy giant room of 2,850 square feet.”
Inquiring about the use of the room, Spanier made the proposal to open I.D.E.A in the church for a “win-win.” The church would get a percentage of sales, and Spanier would bring new people to the church. She would have a new home “as long as they’re willing to have me,” she added. “Everyone became excited, and after way too much lawyer stuff and several meetings, it happened!”
Well over 200 attended the catered grand opening. Amy’s parents Dr. Jack and Harriet Spanier said, “We are proud of Amy, but not surprised.”
New to I.D.E.A, plastic surgeon Dr. Mark Codner had several works on display. He said, “My ‘The Mask’ spotlights the oppression of women. Actually, the majority of women across the world may still be behind the veil.” He also showed a dramatic cello diptych with reversed black and white India ink areas to humanize the instrument.
Codner is all about emotion. On display also was his “Higasa In Lace,” a mysterious blond Japanese woman invoking desire or fear with her gloves and tattooed back. ($5,000).
Spanier concluded, “All I want to do is show great art. That’s it. I just want to show, and share art in a place where an artist doesn’t have to struggle to be somewhere all the time.
“I promote them into other galleries for shows but, when the show is over, if everything doesn’t sell, I want to exhibit it, sell it! Artists deserve to show what comes from their souls.”
I.D.E.A. Gallery inside Gallery 4945 is open Wednesday to Saturday from 12:30 to 6 p.m. and by appointment through December, email@example.com.