Art-Crawling Through Banbury Place

Banbury Place artists band together for event

Carrie Weiss, photos by Andrea Paulseth

Until a few weeks ago I had never set foot inside of Banbury Place, the immense former industrial hub abutting the Eau Claire River. I ventured there to scope out the backdrop for the upcoming Art Crawl at Banbury, an art show featuring a mélange of local artists. The strictly utilitarian appearance of Building 13, the site of the Art Crawl, did not relieve much of the intimidation. My expectation for an open-concept, Warhol-esque space was dashed.

Alone, I was greeted by cement floors and enclosed, windowless hallways – not the most enticing place in the Chippewa Valley. The artists of Banbury’s Building 13 beg to differ. Tenants Laurie Bieze, of Beize Sculpture, and Adam Fuller, of Fuller Flameworks, share a studio on the second floor of Building 13. The two glassworkers masterminded the Art Crawl. More than 30 artists will come into their building to display and sell their work, simultaneously spotlighting local creators, and drawing attention to an overlooked local landmark.

“We just want to have a big party… fill up the building!” Bieze stated.

But it is more than that. The Crawl is an invitation for the public to share the artist camaraderie of Building 13. Bieze and Fuller treated me to a tour of the building and a few of the workshops that will be in full swing during the Art Crawl. Each introduction emphasized the practical and artistic bond between the tenants.

Carl Brown of Coyote Creek Creations profits from small consignment projects like framing and spindle work. For fun, he creates beautiful wooden boxes, Native American Flutes, and dulcimers. Brown referred to his woodworking passion as “a hobby that got out of control.”

In his seven years at Banbury, Brown’s hobby has benefitted his fellow tenants. For example, he has done some framing work for Bieze. “When you have those crafts at your disposal, then you think about using them,” explained Bieze.