By now, you’ve probably seen us mention a few events hosted by Bread & Circus at 3400 N. Anthony Blvd. This week, we're featuring them in our local spotlight.
What is Bread & Circus? A volunteer-run contemporary artist residency program, gallery and shop of affordable, made-in-Fort-Wayne art and products.
Who manages it? Photographer, Ashley Beatty, who received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. She also works full-time for Pathfinder Services in Huntington and runs Bread & Circus as a way to give back to her community alongside three volunteers, including her partners, Erin Duddy and Dee Dee Morrow.
Beatty says: “I always tell artists, ‘I’m here to give my art education away.’ I taught locally and in China for a while. My hope is to use Bread & Circus for art mentorships and to provide a safe space for artists and the community.”
What will you find there? A wide assortment of local and regionally made t-shirts, prints, wall art, embroidery, ceramics, jewelry, and more. Also, a small rotating gallery in back where Beatty and her team host local, national, and international art exhibitions and events.
Our pick at the shop: Mugs and cute “muglets” by Fort Wayne ceramicist Briggan Maxson, most ranging from $25-$45.
Fun fact: The name Bread & Circus is a social commentary, stemming from a Latin-Roman phrase (“Pane e Circo”), which means, “Give them bread and give them entertainment, and they shall be appeased,” Beatty says. “It’s about accepting and claiming our role; not allowing the governing bodies around us to have the final say.”
We recommend: Swinging by on your next visit to Old Crown or Firefly Coffee. (It’s right across the street on North Anthony Boulevard.) The shop is open Wed.-Sat. from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Also, watch Bread & Circus's Facebook and Instagram for details on gallery openings and events. It hosts exhibitions every four weeks.
When is the next opening? This Saturday, Bread & Circus is opening a show by artist and photographer Sarah Thomas of Toledo, Ohio, called “Sleek Playingfield.”
Thomas says: “It’s all about plastics in the environment and playful plastics. I do my own recycling in my process, too. Being from the Great Lakes region, especially with the toxic algal blooms in Lake Erie in 2014, has made me question: How green is green? That’s what triggered some of my work. Now, with disasters, like the train derailment in Ohio, it’s more important than ever to talk about the effects of people on our environment. Even though it's playful and aesthetically pleasing here, it’s also disgusting at the same time. It plays around with those tensions a lot.”
For artists interested in selling products or being featured in the gallery: Bread & Circus retains 35 percent of sales for its operations. The rest goes to the artist. Contact Beatty at email@example.com for more information.