3 Questions

with Matthew Chase-Daniel

Axle Contemporary isn’t a regular art gallery, and their Stone Soup fundraiser this Sunday at the Botanical Garden at 3 pm isn’t a regular fundraiser. For starters, it’s a free event, so you donate what you want—but they hope you’ll at least donate some veggies or herbs to the community pot. Matthew Chase-Daniel, a co-founder of the mobile gallery, spoke with SFR about how the gallery serves a unique (and necessary) purpose in our community.

Why did you chose stone soup as your fundraiser?
Stone soup is the story about someone who comes with very little and, through working with the whole community, makes something which is more than the sum of its parts. Since this is a fundraiser for Axle Projects, it reflects what we're about. This is the first event we've done to help Axle along, and we're simply asking people to support us however they can in moving forward. In the same way that we provide free art to people on the street, we wanted to do a fundraiser the same way.

What motived you to start Axle Contemporary?
Five years ago, Jerry Wellman and I were looking for new, interesting and dynamic ways to spread artwork from the community to the community that was different from museums and brick-and-mortar galleries. Spontaneous interactions with art was what we wanted—we feel like a lot of people are intimidated or uninterested in galleries and museums, but on the street, in front of your supermarket, in the park, there's a different awareness there and a better opportunity for authentic connections with art.

How is the mobile gallery affecting people on the street differently from a static gallery?
There's a huge variety. Many people are surprised, enchanted, and delighted. We've had drunk people looking for a burrito frustrated that they couldn't get one—it runs the gamut. Almost 400 artists from 100 exhibits over five years, it's all different, we just present them. We get a combination of local people, people that go to art events regularly, people from out of town, and it all affects them differently.

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