The Lawndale Art Center in Houston has announced that it is partnering with Galveston-based artist Nick Barbee to create the Lawndale Lending Library, an art library that will be comprised of artworks included in this year’s installment of The Big Show. Barbee is the person behind the Galveston Art Lending Library, which for the past year has been popular with budding and serious collectors both on and off the island. The concept behind a lending library is meant to be democratic in nature: for a nominal fee, individuals can enjoy pieces of art without the burden of the full cost of buying them, and can switch out their selections at lending events throughout the year. This somewhat mirrors the ideas behind Lawndale’s Big Show, which has come to be known as an anything-goes, experimental, open-call program that is typically juried by an arts professional without connection to Houston.
When Lawndale approached Barbee about collaborating on a project, this lending library/Big Show merger seemed like a win-win. The plan is for a certain number of works from this year’s show to be added to the library, which will then be rented out to members for three ten-week-long lending periods. In a year, the works in the library will rotate out — maybe with future Big Show artworks, and maybe with other artworks entirely. Also at the end of the library’s first year, some of the works in its collection will be auctioned off, allowing lendees who’ve fallen in love with certain artworks the opportunity to buy them outright. In a city like Houston, where there are so many artists and potential collectors who occupy different spheres, the library has the ability to connect communities that might not otherwise cross over.
Stephanie Mitchell, Lawndale’s Executive Director, talked to Glasstire about the upcoming library:
“Lawndale is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Nick in developing our Lending Library. It is an endeavor that fits squarely within Lawndale’s mission of providing critical support for artists, and we are confident that the Library will flourish in Houston (and perhaps beyond!) in the coming years.”
Barbee told Glasstire:
“Stephanie, Emily [Fens, Lawndale’s public program coordinator], and I have been working for the last few months on developing a framework for the library and we all agreed that tying it into The Big Show is a natural starting point. I think it is an extension of the inclusive spirit of The Big Show, and it is about community. It provides a pool of area artist, and provides an extended preview for potential members/collectors.
“I’m really happy that we could find a way to expand the lending library idea to Houston. Lawndale is a perfect organization to facilitate the endeavor.”
Lawndale Lending Library memberships are $100 for Lawndale members and $125 for non-members. The lending events are listed below.
Fall Lending Event: December 1, 2018
Winter Return Event: March 2, 2019
Winter Lending Event: March 9, 2019
Spring Return Event: June 1, 2019
Spring Lending Event: June 8, 2019
Summer Return Event: August 31, 2019
Silent Auction of some of the works: September 19, 2019