VISUAL ARTS | Vine Arts Center, a new Seward institution, prepares for its annual holiday sale


The Vine Arts Center will hold its second annual Holiday Sale this Saturday, December 19, from 12-5 p.m. The center is a tenant of the Ivy Arts Building, which was formerly the Flour City Foundry, in the Seward neighborhood. The term “vine arts” comes from the Ivy Arts Building’s exterior, which is covered in vines. The sale will include art from over 30 artists, with works ranging from jewelry, textiles, and cards to photographs and pottery. 

The center is fairly new, having started out as a studio at the same location in 2001. Holly Murray is a sculptor, metal artist, and a founding member. “We built walls and divided up sections and rented areas to other artists,” says Murray. “The owner of the building helped us and we helped them. We kept growing and adding space and people over the years. We would set up shows in large open, vacant areas of the building, build pedestals, hang lights and fix food, and play music then invite outsiders in to see our work once a year during the neighborhood arts festival, known as the Seward Arts Festival.”

It was during the Seward Arts festival that the building’s owner, Howard Gelb, discovered the Ivy’s potential as an art facility. Rob House, a potter, became involved with the organization around that time. “Once upon a Seward Arts Festival, they set up a gallery style display outside of the studio in what was then an abandoned hallway,” says House. “That might have been 2005. The next year’s SAF was bigger and in a different empty spot. The building owner realized that artists like renting space and could use a gallery nearby.” In 2007, Gelb donated a space inside the Ivory Arts Building for the Vine Arts Center.

Vine Art Center’s tagline is “Growing art on the Greenway,” because the Ivy Arts building is located just north of the Midtown bike path. Among other tenants included in Ivy Arts are bike builders. “Our tagline seeks to draw attention to our connection and proximity to bikes,” Sepulveda says. “Along the lines of ‘Hop on your bike, and pedal on over to check out some cool art in a great place.'”

Emily Floyd is a jeweler and sculptor participating in the sale, who makes earrings out of bicycle parts. “My recycled line focuses on using things that would otherwise be scrapped,” Floyd says, “like bicycle inner tubes that caught a flat and reclaimed leather from out-dated upholstery swatch books.”

The center is temporarily closed, and will only re-open for the holiday sale before 2010. Vine Arts Center will reopen on Monday, Jan. 11 with “Six Decades In A Week,” a retrospective on painter Aribert Munzner.