May 19, 2014

ATHICA Mystery Triennial Serves Up Surprises

Larry Forte tries to determine the medium used in a work in the ATHICA Mystery Triennial. med.JPG

Photo Credit: Barbette Houser

Larry Forte tries to identify the medium in a work entered in the ATHICA Mystery Triennial.

The opening of the 2nd ATHICA Mystery Triennial took place on the evening of Saturday, May 17. The event was a fundraiser for ATHICA, the Athens Institute for Contemporary Art, and featured 5” X 7” works by about 100 local artists. All of these small artworks were displayed anonymously and were priced at $60 apiece, or two for $100. The identities of their creators were revealed only after the works were purchased.

Melissa Link catches up with Krysia Haag at ATHICA.

Photo Credit: Barbette Houser

Melissa Link catches up with Krysia Haag at ATHICA.

Over 170 attendees enjoyed catering by The National and George’s Lowcountry Table as they wandered the space, excitedly guessing with friends as to who the artists could be behind individual works. Another topic of speculation, in some cases, was what the actual medium was. Viewing the works with no information about them was a novel experience and added to the uniqueness of the event and to the animated conversations that evening. Brittny Teree Smith, an artist and framer whose workplace, like ATHICA, is located in the Chase Street Warehouses, said, “It’s a fun and exciting event and a great way to learn about new artists and have the opportunity to purchase art based on the unknown, adding an element of surprise.”

Laura and Jimmy Straehla at ATHICA. 3.JPG

Photo Credit: Barbette Houser

Laura and Jimmy Straehla enjoyed the show.

Another entertaining aspect of the Mystery Triennial is that attendees vote on their favorite artwork. The Lizzie Zucker Saltz Founder Award, which includes a $200 cash prize, goes to the artist who creates the work of art most favored by those at the opening. This triennial’s winner was Lindsay Troutman, who created a piece in glass and metal.

Thus far, this triennial has raised over $2,500 for the non-profit organization. There are still plenty of works in the exhibit available for purchase, and the show will be up through June 15. Proceeds go toward mounting exhibits, rent, community outreach and more. ATHICA partnered with Chase Street School recently in an initiative that brings local artists into the school to teach and Chase Street students into the nearby arts space; thus far, more than 100 students have enjoyed walking over to ATHICA with their teachers and viewing and experiencing contemporary and cutting edge art. According to Tatiana Veneruso, who transitioned from gallery manager to Director of ATHICA in January, the organization is in the process of developing more programming for families and children, more workshops and other “things that make the gallery more inclusive.”

The Mystery Triennial show will be on display through June 15 at ATHICA, 160 Tracy Street, Unit 4, Athens, GA 30601. ATHICA is open on Thursdays from 1–9 and Fridays–Sundays from 1–6 p.m. For more info, go to