We are closed on Snow Days, Darlings!

Our policy at A&L as far as weather closures is if Springfield Public Schools are closed, we are closed.  So, before trudging out in the snow, check school closings.  That is our way of keeping it simple for everyone.  Stay warm and safe!


Video Daze: A Celebration of the Poor Image


For August at Arts & Letters, we were so excited to present Shay Rainey’s latest work Video Daze: A Celebration of the Poor Image. Rainey’s work is refreshingly fuzzy and warm in a world that is often over sterile and hi-def-centric. Her VHS photographic images will be on display for the month of August.


For the August 1 opening, Seth Goodwin (King Don’t, Kudzu, The Gorlons) has worked with Rainey to compose atmospheric, ethereal music to accompany Rainey’s one-night-only video installation. The installation was haunting and memorizing and the musical accompaniment created a singular mood.


Springfield Brewing Company hosted a craft beer tasting for the opening.
From the artist:
“I always suspected that I was watching TV instead of living life” – from the “Philosophy of Andy Warhol”.

“Video Daze: A Celebration of the Poor Image”
These photos represent my recently uncovered fascination with the video image, the VHS aesthetic. The Video Home System made its first appearance in 1976, to the horror of the movie industry. VHS was at one point compared to the Boston Strangler by the head of the Motion Picture Association. I think it was scary to them because it took film out of a commercial hierarchy and put it in the hands of the people.

In my work with the VHS I am paying homage to the audience members who became their own movie directors overnight. I love the idea of people being able to capture their lives and play it back on the screen. I’m also paying homage to my childhood that was spent watching the worst TV to video VHS tapes over and over again until the images and sounds were so warped it became something different, fuzzy, warm, and unpredictable. I am absolutely in love with its saturation, vagueness, dislocation, and freedom of imprecision.

This work is a celebration of the poor image in an era of high definition obsession.

“Altogether, poor images present a snapshot of the affective condition of the crowd, its neurosis, paranoia, and fear as well as its craving for intensity, fun and distraction”
from ”In Defense of the Poor Image” by Hito Steyerl

Kate Baird: Left Undone

Kate Baird’s exhibition of new work Left Undone was exhibited at A&L for the month of July, 2014. Kate Baird is a visual artist who has worked in arts education for close to a decade. After training as a teaching artist at the Guggenheim Museum, the Rubin Museum of Art and the Kentler International Drawing Space in New York, she returned to her hometown of Springfield, MO, where she has worked with the Springfield Regional Arts Council, Springfield Public Schools, the Moxie Cinema and Drury University. In 2010, she helped to found Placeworks, an arts outreach initiative which serves rural schools in southwest Missouri. Kate started as the Museum Educator at the Springfield Art Museum in 2013. She holds a BA from Swarthmore College and an MFA from the University of Chicago.


For the opening, Meyer Winery hosted a lovely tasting and DJ Philip K. Dickey and friends (Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Dragon Inn 3) performed! During this performance, Dickey debuted some new songs from SSLYBY and DI3!


This event was also the debut of a new line of clothing by Reyna Lay Designs!  Reyna won our competition with the MSU fashion department.  Part of her prize is a dedicated rack in our boutique for her clothing for the month of July.  I am pictured above wearing one of her rad styles!

From the Kate Baird:
In my paintings—and in general—I’m interested in the relationship between order and chance and between systems and anomalies. In the course of everyday life, we are always moving through systems that are too large or complex for us to understand. Even the most familiar of activities, like typing this sentence, depends upon a system that I don’t understand at all–that is, how my computer actually works. Consideration of the technological, natural, geographical, economic and social systems that surround us quickly becomes overwhelming. In the midst of all this abundance and complexity, why do we notice the things that we notice? How do some things emerge from background noise to become important to us? These aren’t questions that I set out to answer in paintings, but rather the questions that arise during the process of making them.


Gary Bedell: New Body

New Body promo cover photo

Gary Bedell is a self-educated artist from Springfield, Missouri. He is an expert in digital art as well as drawing and painting by hand. Bedell has created work for Warner Brothers, Nickelodeon and Disney. In 2010, a collection of his work called Thawed was published. In 2012, Bedell opened a design firm called Hot Dog Tree. Recently, Gary taught an illustration course at Arts & Letters and plans to offer it again. As charming as he is talented, Gary is a favorite figure in the local art scene as well as a creative force in the illustration field at large.

New Body, as the name implies, is a collection of new work by Gary Bedell. During the opening reception, Friday, June 6, we enjoyed an exclusive look at Bedell’s sketchbooks. The show featured unique pieces including a custom Nintendo Entertainment System which he collaborated on with Ryan Fitzpatrick of Platinum Fungi. Turkish Dan djed the opening and Mother’s Brewing Company hosted a tasting.


New Body‘s opening was the most well attended we have experienced since we opened our doors in October!  Nearly 700 people attended!  We sold seven of his pieces opening night alone! Bedell created an atmosphere rich with anticipation by insisting that we cover all the pieces after hanging them.  We only unveiled them right at 7pm to the cue of Turkish Dan starting the evening’s music.  Bedell loves a good flourish! 


After the opening at Arts & Letters, please we had a blast at Front of House Lounge for THE after party of the summer featuring Nick Fury.