This year’s annual Co-Lab event at the Show Gallery in St. Paul’s Lowertown neighborhood again had a unique twist. Actor, writer and Saints baseball team co-owner Bill Murray lent his time and talents to the event for another year.
In September the Show Gallery hosted its fifth annual Co-Lab event. Co-Lab is an event where artists with disabilities get paired up with other artists who may or may not have disabilities. The pairings are based on personality and indicated interests. Over the next few months the paired up artists work on a project that will be shown in the gallery and juried by Murray.
The Show Gallery is dedicated to showcasing artists with disabilities create and display artwork. It hosts shows throughout the year of disabled artists’ works as well as participating in the Lowertown Art Crawl twice a year.
Murray came into the picture when he went to visit the Show Gallery. Gallery founder and owner Winna Bernard said, “I answered the door one day and it was Bill Murray. I panicked a little bit (as it was her first time meeting him). He asked what we needed, and I said, ‘a ladder.’ After I received the ladder, I ended up asking if he would be a judge. He’s been a judge every year since. He knows what an award from him could do for an artist’s career.”
The event had around 250 people that attended the event, making it a full house. A total of three Bill Murray Awards were given out to six artists.
Chloe Elizabeth Russel is a volunteer extensively involved in The Show Gallery. “My favorite part about Co Lab is piecing together which artists could possibly paired with one another based on their personality surveys. Sometimes the thing that these artists have in common is not so obvious, and maybe they even work in entirely different mediums and have totally different life experiences,” she said. “But they have indicated enough common interests to suggest they might have a lot to talk about and explore. I love to watch first hand as they untangle the mystery of their pairing. More often than not, they create the most compelling artwork.”
This year’s Co-Lab show featured many artworks in many different styles. They had everything from paintings, an arcade machine with scrolls and LED lights that told stories with artwork in a scroll that moved, as well as interactive pieces.
The Show Gallery Lowertown is a collaboration between two founding partner organizations. The Show and MSS, a nonprofit organization serving adults with disabilities in the Twin Cities. To learn more about the Co-Lab event or the Show Gallery, go to www.theshowgallerylowertown.org