Vall I Art deserves its place next to the Museum of modern Art
By Shirley Roberts on 29th April 2021
The Port of Soller has created its first space for ‘Itinerant Art’. The site is around the Antoni Montis roundabout in the Port of Soller. Local man Tofol Colom is the first artist to place his work in this space. His work is on other sites in the Soller Valley but it he considered it an honour to be asked to supply the first piece in this new area in 2021.
Soller Town Hall are creating more land to give visibility to large format art work by local artists. The name of this work is ‘Margaritas del amor’, daisies by any other name. It will grace the space for the summer of 2021 and be in place for six months before moving on.
Tofol has more work we all admire and many would have driven past his iron orange tree on the roundabout leading into the Town Centre. Recently on the road towards the Muleta and the lighthouse beautiful iron jelly fish have appeared.
We have all taken the Gamba de Soller prawn for granted as it has been our Port of Soller landmark for years. When the grandchildren were small we always used to say ‘Good Morning Mr Prawn’ as we drove past him to school. New generations have gone on to do the same thing. It is a feature of a Port of Soller childhood.
‘Itinerant art’ is the buzz word of the year and a six- month placement allows other artists to have their moment too. Allow me now to take you down the Lluna, the main shopping street of Soller, to the place of Itinerant Art with a difference. Situated right next door to Can Prunera Museum of Modern Art is the newly opened space of Vall I Art.
You may recognise the ‘Artists in Residence’ from their years of being stalwarts of the Saturday Artisans Market which appeared regularly in Fountain Square in Soller. Ellie Mcnamee was the mastermind of this and the first President when it opened in June 2010. Ellie is an artist who paints everything she sees.
Huge works for the walls and small stone painting using exquisite detail. From Madrid originally she brought her paint brushes here and has been part of the Art Scene of Soller for a generation. Vall I Art is the place she wishes had been in existence when she arrived with her work in 2003.
Vall I Art is the show case for Russ and Ellies work but it is also a place where Itinerant Artists can rent space for a month at a time to sell their work. They pay rent to Vall I Art but no percentage of sale or any other money passes hands.
The artists just love this concept and are queuing up to get a space. The criteria are that none of the work is able to be bought anywhere else in Soller while they exhibit with Vall I Art.
Currently the arts and crafts represented include hand made greetings cards, ice dyed wool and knitted socks, a range of basket work made to traditional methods, soaps, jewellery some made with natural stone and leather and linen. Art, pottery and golden suns and moons all jostle for space here.
Russ Barson is the Theatre Arts man. From a career in design productions his path led him to teach the subject including design and stagecraft. He is a crafter and is constantly creating all manner of things which are sold in the shop. The photographs do more justice here than the words can.
The Artists currently exhibiting include Ants & Co, Aromes del Mediterrani, Angela Marshall Jewellery, Raquel Sanchez Basket work plus the Russ and Ellie personal contributions. This is early days for the shop and new pieces of contemporary handcraft are added every day.
Itinerant Art looked after by experienced Artisan Crafters is a very unusual combination. Early days with little signage and no advertising has brought plenty of people to have a look. They learn by the end of their visit that the stock is likely to have changed the next time they happen by. This means if they like something they buy it now!
Vall I Art deserves its place next to the Museum of modern Art. Many of their pieces deserve to be inside that very building. They certainly appeal to the same people who make the walk down the Lluna to the Museum.
Russ and Ellie will be delighted to see you from Tuesday to Saturday from 10.30 to 2 pm right now. The hours will change as restrictions lift but for now its mornings only.
Contact them to exhibit on 619 110872 for Ellie or 623 105598 for Russ. Itinerant Artists are very welcome