A gallery of relationships: Two artists spearhead new Nevada City gallery aimed at connecting local photographers | TheUnion.com

A gallery of relationships: Two artists spearhead new Nevada City gallery aimed at connecting local photographers

Sam Corey
Staff Writer
Gallery One Two Five owner Will Edwards and Bitney Prep intern Allison Kalt stand in front of the new Nevada City gallery dedicated entirely to the photographic arts located at 421 Broad Street.
Elias Funez/efunez@theunion.com

FACT BOX

What: Gallery One Two Five and Media Lounge

Where: 421 Broad Street, Nevada City

When: April and May hours — 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Serving in law enforcement for Ventura County was a struggle for Will Edwards.

As a father at 19, Edwards joined the force because he needed a stable job, but after 14 years he developed post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I ended up having a complete nervous breakdown,” said Edwards. “It took me three to four years to recover.”

He moved on to real estate, but soon after took up photography. After two years as a Nevada City resident, Edwards opened Gallery One Two Five & Media Lounge in town, celebrating with a soft opening last Friday, where over 100 people attended, he said.

Edwards and the gallery’s general manager, Chantelle Goldthwaite, hope to inspire local photographers and create a beacon for community art work.

“Enriching the artist community here is mostly what this is about,” said Goldthwaite.

Edwards, who had worked as a commercial photographer for many years, wanted a change, and recently began using photography to accentuate the art in its purest form, not the click-bait material inundating many. He interprets the camera like an artist views a paint brush.

“What I’m looking for is to bring people back to appreciating photography as an art form instead of just the snapshots we’re bombarded with on Snapchat,” he said.

The owner and general manager hope to develop personal connections with local, contemporary artists, not just idly hanging their work but also drawing attention to the artist’s narrative.

“We never purchase the art just for the image,” said Goldthwaite. “We purchase it for the artist, we crave that connection.”

MORE THAN A GALLERY

The gallery — with a title representing Edwards’ daughter’s birthday — plans to host local artists on a monthly basis, with an opening reception on the first Friday of each month.

“We were so overwhelmed with the turnout of photographers in the area,” said Goldthwaite of researching local artists.

But the gallery wants to do more than just host art shows. Edwards said he hopes to have movie nights, showcasing documentaries the third Thursday of each month.

The owner is also talking with Bitney Prep High School administrators about putting on a series of workshops pro bono for their photography club. The gallery has already adopted an intern from the school, who completes her internship one day per week on site.

What’s more, Edwards has plans to develop workshops for the broader community. He hopes people will be able to “rent-a-photographer” for a day, having the artist show residents the ropes of photography, and then bring them back to the gallery to shape and print their photos.

Gallery One Two Five & Media Lounge will host a grand opening sometime in June.

FROM EXPERIENCE TO ART

Edwards was not always so sure he’d be able to work through his trauma, he said. Having relapsed a few times, his psychiatrist recommended he attend a Vipassana meditation retreat.

“‘Read this, go to one of these programs, and then you can come back and see me,’” his therapist told him.

After returning, Edwards was able to better handle the unpredictability of life, and focus on things he enjoyed, like photography and art.

Now, the gallery owner is able to let his past experiences manifest themselves in his art work. While working on the documentary film, “I AM HERE,” which will be entered in the Nevada City Film Festival next year, he’s developing a project on post-traumatic stress disorder with his daughter.

His artwork, in conjunction with many others, will hang in the gallery.

While one of the more challenging parts of putting together receptions, said Goldthwaite, is determining the right combination of artists and the quantity of their art work, the gallery’s biggest challenge — and highest aspiration — is bonding with the community.

“Although we are a gallery that is reliant on sales,” Goldthwaite, “we’re also very interested in supporting the local photography community, and being a place where they can come and gather and inspire each other.”

Contact Sam Corey at 530-477-4219 or at scorey@theunion.com.

Correction: The original high school mentioned was incorrect. The school is Bitney Prep High School.


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