Rather than a treasure trove, the Zootown Arts Community Center’s storage room seemed more like a pain to the staff.
Adult program director Patricia Thornton has been working on collecting the leftover art — either created at or donated to the ZACC through the years, and never picked up by artists — for a benefit sale as the ZACC moves to its new building downtown.
“It definitely feels good to get everything out of there,” Thornton said. “I’ve been tripping over it for 10 years.”
The sale features more than 100 pieces, from sculpture to photographs and prints, that were never retrieved by the artists, even with repeated calls and reminders from the ZACC.
There’s a collection of pieces from last year’s “Bowl-A-Rama,” which had a collection of Missoula artists put their stamp on bowling pins and balls.
There are pieces from the ZACC’s annual Missoula Monster Project show, as well as Last Best Print Fest and after-school camps.
“Really, it’s not a lot for 10 years,” Thornton said.
There are works from Beth Lo, Courtney Blazon, Ladypajama, Robert Wilson and Adelaide Every. A good many works are anonymous.
“We do state, with every show, the work has to be picked up by the artist by a certain time or it becomes the property of the ZACC,” Thornton said. “We try to be very generous.”
In fact, this is the first time in its 10 years at the Northside building the ZACC has moved to sell its stored art, Thornton said.
If someone came to the sale and found a piece of their own artwork, Thornton said, they would probably let them take it home (but with a reminder that the sale would go to benefit the ZACC).
A handful of artists have already called Thornton inquiring about whether they have art in the show, but none so far has asked to keep it. They've been more curious than anything else, Thornton said.
There’s a pair of huge sculptures, rectangular faces with clock dial markings around the edges and hour and minute hand on the nose. Thornton only had a guess as to their origin.
There are a good many photographs, some in frames and some without, and print blocks large and small.
Most items will be on sale for anywhere from $5-$50, Thornton said, though she thought maybe a Monte Dolack print (donated by Dolack at some point) might go for more.
“We’re pricing things to move,” she noted.
There will be a small collection of furniture, shelving and old art equipment for sale as well, including a collection of donated looms that have sat unused.
However, the overcrowding problem won’t entirely be solved in the downtown building, Thornton said. Their new storage room is actually a bit smaller than the current one.
“We’re going to have to be a bit more militant,” she said.