Upon arriving at the Inn, I was stunned to find the location buzzing with activity. What I thought would be an obscure, quiet show seemed to be more of a community gathering, and the energy was almost palpable.
People of all ages and backgrounds were crowding together to claim a spot for just a moment inside each of the hotel rooms that are rented out to artists for the event. Each space I entered felt like its own intimate little world of someone else’s creation that I was being briefly invited into. The founder of the show, Michael Oliveri, is an associate professor at the Lamar Dodd School of Art. He originated the idea as an assignment for students studying Art X at UGA. Art X utilizes a variety of media from music, performance, film, and robotics to almost anything else imaginable. Since then the Bulldog Inn Art Show has become an open invitation to anyone who has something to express. Mr. Oliveri said he wanted the event to be void of judgments and expectations. Artists who participate are not given any themes or parameters. They are set free to create anything by doing as much or as little as they want.
Many of the rooms were unrecognizable. The first space I entered had walls cloaked in white fabric with fog and music pouring from the door. Inside, there were stones covering the floor and a costumed woman standing eerily in the center of the onlookers. A few doors down, in stark juxtaposition, two men simply used their reserved space to lounge on the beds while smoking cigars and watching godzilla movies. In several rooms, musicians incorporated their own live music into the art.A giant wolf head drooled in a room entitled Wolf City. Children darted in and out of the doors, completely enthralled by the experience. Many adults did the same. The willingness of so many people to not only accept, but embrace this unconventional display of art was something I enjoyed the most about this experience. While studying art in college, many of my professors and classmates posed the question “What is art?” At the Bulldog Inn Art Show you could certainly ponder that question, but then you might be missing the point. Art is an expression, and the fact that so many people were given the opportunity to share their creativity in a unique space without judgement is an amazing thing. Equally amazing are the people who came in droves to this event, not only to look, but to participate and become part of the art by crawling through cardboard forts, being photographed, or even just standing in the rooms. The 6th Annual Bulldog Inn Art Show left me inspired and grateful to be in a place like Athens, where art can literally be anywhere.
by Laura Eavenson