What does it mean to leave no trace in art, in life and in nature? This winter at South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC), artists from all walks of life will explore this theme through their participation in the annual fundraiser, the Leonor R. Fuller Gallery Postcard Exhibition. Through a four-inch by six-inch postcard, local creatives will craft an immersive piece of art for display at SPSCC’s Leonor R. Fuller Gallery, with proceeds from the exhibition benefiting the gallery’s annual programs and operations.

As a fundraiser, the Fine Art Postcard Exhibition at SPSCC funds several vital programs that the Leonor R. Fuller Gallery conducts each year. Photo courtesy: SPSCC

Calling for submissions from the community, participating artists have been asked to decorate up to three postcards, using the medium of their choice. Whether using paint, ink or clay the only request was for the artist to acknowledge the exhibition’s central theme through their piece. Sean Barnes, the coordinator of the Leonor R. Fuller Gallery, says many participants delve deep into the project, using a diverse and sometimes unusual set of materials in their finished product, including car parts, ceramics and pencil drawings.

“People get very creative with all the different types of ways to make art,” says Barnes. “They’re textiles, felt, fabrics, woven, sewing, photography, printmaking. You name it, and sometimes they’re so simple. They might be a simple line drawing. But all the work that we asked for, we asked that it addresses a central theme.”

Suggestions for each year’s theme are sourced from community members, with a final vote conducted by the gallery committee. This year, the gallery selected the theme, “leave no trace.” Generally, the gallery receives hundreds of postcard submissions, which are then installed in the Leonor R. Fuller Gallery for a monthlong display. As a part of the exhibition, the postcards on display in the gallery are also part of a silent auction fundraiser. Sold to the highest bidder, proceeds raised from this exhibition fundraiser will benefit the gallery’s annual operations.

“The postcard exhibition is made up of artists and non-artists from this community,” says Barnes. “We have members who donate to the gallery who don’t typically produce artwork for sale, but they do it to help sponsor the gallery. And the sponsorship of the gallery through this fundraiser, contributes to all of the programming that happens in the gallery throughout the academic year.”

After the exhibit opens in January, SPSCC students, faculty, staff and community members will be able to access the artwork online. In addition, people can view the exhibition in person by appointment. Photo courtesy: SPSCC

Enriching and educating both students and the community, the Leonor R. Fuller Gallery hosts artists from throughout the country, elevating emerging artists through juried exhibitions and showcasing the work of aspiring artists through annual student displays.

This year, the exhibit will launch on January 4, and the auction will open on January 8, during the exhibit’s virtual opening reception. Throughout the month of January, community members can view the postcard exhibition online or in person through a private appointment. Viewers can also bid on their postcard of choice through an online auction portal. Bidding for pieces in the postcard exhibition will be available until the exhibit’s closing.

To accompany opening festivities and the monthlong silent auction, the gallery will also host a virtual closing reception that includes a live auction of original pieces donated by local artists. These live auction art pieces will be available to view in January, but bidding won’t begin until the night of the closing reception on February 5. At the opening and closing receptions, Barnes says he also plans to incorporate the voices of local artists, encouraging them to speak more about their creative process.

Many artists who participate in the exhibition use a diverse set of materials in their finished product. Many years, the gallery receives hundreds of postcard submissions, which are then installed in the Leonor R. Fuller Gallery for display. Photo courtesy: SPSCC

“I’m inviting artists to be here in the space with us to talk about the postcard exhibition,” says Barnes. “I’m hoping to have artists visits. And then of course, with the closing reception, when we start the live auction, I hope to have those artists in here talking about their work.”

And now more than ever, art has become a vital resource for the community. Barnes says art is a crucial part of the local landscape, helping students and residents to understand and cope with the events happening around us.

“I think supporting artists is a duty that every human should engage in, in some way or another,” says Barnes. “I think art is an essential cultural component to the landscape of society. So, any contribution that we can make to the arts, at any time, I think is vital to our sanity, especially in the current times. But also, it’s a part of the human condition and human nature, and our ability to adapt and create.”

To learn more about the Leonor R. Fuller Gallery Postcard Exhibition at SPSCC, the silent auction, or exhibition viewing options, visit the South Puget Sound Community College website.

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