Art has a way of bringing people together from all walks of life. At Blackbird Café, the focus isn’t just about the coffee and paninis; It has an extraordinary focus on art, making itself the epicenter of art culture in Valparaiso, a midwest ‘Vesuvio Café.’
On Saturday night Blackbird Café held an art reception and colloquium for Cortney Carey, a former Blackbird Café employee. The event featured brand new works by Carey in an exhibit titled Gray Area. Carey spoke to attendees about her work and the meaning behind them. The event was open to the public, with a focus on community and bringing people together. Dan Cook, owner of Blackbird Café, was on hand at the event watching over the art like modern-day Medici.
“What we try to do here is make art accessible. It’s a little forced upon them here,” Dan said with a smile. “They’ll be sitting here for two hours, maybe they’ll look up from their coffee or laptop and see something they enjoy, to provoke them to want to know more. We are an everyday context rather than that thing that separates most people who are not art aficionados.”
Not only does Blackbird Café foster a sense of community within the collective of local artists, but it attempts to develop and promote them as well. The artists help Blackbird out by decorating the walls with cool art, and the cafe returns the favor by selling their art. The cafe doesn’t even take a penny for commission on any art that sells. Artists dream of displaying their works and Blackbird Café gives them that opportunity and asks nothing in return. Carey had to pinch herself to make sure she wasn’t dreaming after seeing her art on the walls of Blackbird Café.
“Not only did I work here, but this was the hub, everybody always went to Blackbird Café. So to have my art here after seeing all the art on the walls for so many years is surreal,” Carey proudly explained.
Audiences were able to view Carey’s art and hear her explain the pieces, thus building a deeper connection with the artist.
“It brings so many people together in one place to celebrate something that is really personal,” Carey said surrounded by family and close friends. “It doesn’t happen as much anymore. You don’t really get together with all the people you care about to celebrate accomplishing something. I think that’s really special.”
With its exposed brick walls and intimate seating, Blackbird Café nurtures artists or anyones need for belonging.
“Every time anyone comes home, that’s the first thing we do is stop at Blackbird Café,” said Carey. “It’s kind of just like home for all of us.”
For more information about Blackbird Café and how to help local Valparaiso artists, go to www.blackbirdcafevalparaiso.com.
114 East Lincolnway
Valparaiso, IN 46383
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