SPEARFISH, SD – The Matthews Opera House & Arts Center continues its Big Read celebration of “The Maltese Falcon” by Dashiell Hammett with an exhibit celebrating Graphic Novel Art. The exhibit will present the work of five Black Hills artists. The opening reception will be held 5:00-7:00 p.m., Friday, Feb. 5 in the art gallery. This show continues to run from until Feb. 26 in the art gallery 10:00-5:00 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. The event is free and open to the public.
The Graphic Novel show will feature illustrations of local Spearfish artists. The work ranges from ink and paper pieces to canvas and oils. During the opening reception in the art gallery, “Graphic Novel Live” takes place with live models posing on The Matthews’ stage. This allows patrons the experience of sketching the human form. Professor Desy Schoenewies, from the BHSU Art department, will be on-hand to provide help for those who may be new to this art form.
“The graphic novel format showcases illustrations from 1920s icon movie posters to the current 2016 Japanese Manga,” says Samantha Thompson, gallery manager. “We hope that patrons coming to see the show will gain an appreciation for the artistic and storytelling talent that goes into creating a graphic novel–perhaps even inspiring them to become readers of this genre. By showcasing local artists who are engaged in this medium, we are personalizing the experience and highlighting the talent we have in the Spearfish community.”
The artists featured in this show are:
Desy Schoenewies, BHSU art professor
Jo Powell – illustrator, writer, and sculptor, retired art teacher, and a “forever art educator”
James Canfield – Spearfish artist
Chanel Wiggan – BHSU Art Student
Devin Stephens – BHSU Art Student
Graphic novels are visual storytelling. Instead of focusing just on the author’s words, the reader also participates in the visual element. Readers get to play along with what the artist has visually imagined. It’s a combination of the joy of reading a novel and the experience of watching a movie.
Comics versus Graphic Novels
According to Shayna Monnens, youth services director at Grace Balloch Memorial Library, “Many people have the misconception that a graphic novel is just a comic book. They are similar but are also quite different. A comic book is a serialization of story panels–snippets of a large over-arching story line. These may or may not be in any sequential order. Think of comic strips like “Calvin & Hobbes” or “Garfield,” remarks Monnens. “A story is told in a range of panels, usually numbering from 3-5. The story is concise, quick, and tells the reader something in short order. While the individual stories may be short and told in smaller sections, comic book storylines can last for months or years.”
Monnens continues, “The graphic novel gets to go further. It breaks out of the number of panels. Authors continue on with the storytelling and keep the reader engrossed for pages–similar to reading a novel. There are story chapters in graphic novels that range anywhere from one to hundreds of panels. Graphic novels are more complex stories, generally finishing a story within a book or two.”
A program of the National Endowment for the Arts, The Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. Managed by Arts Midwest, this initiative offers grants to support innovative community reading programs designed around a single book. Spearfish is one of 75 communities nationwide participating in The Big Read from September 2015-June 2016. From January through March 2016 our community will celebrate “The Maltese Falcon” by Dashiell Hammett with a full calendar of events. You can view a full calendar of events for The Big Read in Spearfish at http://www.matthewsopera.com/the-big-read-2016.
The next event for The Matthews is Detective Cosplay Game Night, 6:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 12, in the art gallery. This is a free event for ages 15 and up. For additional information or to learn about upcoming events, visit www.MatthewsOpera.com.
The Matthews Opera House & Arts Center is a non-profit organization located at 612 N. Main Street in Spearfish, South Dakota. To learn more about The Matthews either contact by phone, at 605.642.7973 or their website at www.MatthewsOpera.com.