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New gallery, new artists

JACOB KONST/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Platform Gallery - Matt Cotton, adjunct instructor for the School of Art, hangs one of his paintings in the Platform gallery at 439 N. Sixth Ave. yesterday. The gallery exhibits contemperary work from local artists in an attempt to bring culture into the homes of Tucson residents.
By Laura Wilson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, February 24, 2005
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For a city of its size, Tucson has a surprising number of art galleries. That number is quickly expanding, and the newest member of the contemporary art community Platform hopes to grow with it.

Since its opening on Sept. 1, Platform Gallery has featured a wide array of art forms, from jewelry to sculpture to photography to paintings, all within the realm of contemporary art. The exhibits change on the 1st of every month, with an artist reception following on the 5th.

Director/curator Phoebe McDermott is excited about the possibilities allowed by being the new kid on the art block.

"We're a young gallery, so this year we've been able to be modeled and molded and kind of see what works best for us," McDermott said. "So we're still kind of growing and still filling that niche that will work best for us."

Right now the gallery subsists on "primarily young, fresh artists." According to McDermott, about 25 percent of the exhibits come from emerging artists.

"Some from the university, some from California, New Mexico. Most are regionally emerging artists," she said. "We're probably doing more emerging artists right now than any other gallery in Tucson."

Acknowledging that the world of contemporary art is quite diverse, McDermott tries to showcase several artists at once within Platform's two rooms.

Although Platform is the first art gallery where McDermott has worked, her background is steeped in the art world. Growing up with an art history professor as a mother, McDermott received much of her contemporary art education at home. After earning degrees in both studio art and archeological illustration, she spent a few years living in Belize as an archeological illustrator before eventually ending up in Tucson. McDermott's paintings have appeared at Platform.

After living in other cities, McDermott sees the opportunity for growth within the Tucson art community, bringing emerging artists to town.

"(We have a) new, kind of modern, growing city of Tucson, which is really kind of emerging and becoming a big, new, real city. Hopefully we will just grow along with that, with the fresh, new artists, along with older artists that have been in their career and are more formally known," she said.

McDermott attributes some of Platform's initial success to the gallery's location on the corner of Sixth Avenue and Sixth Street.

"I find this location to be very positive for the gallery, considering we are located between two other galleries that have been in Tucson for 10 years or more."

Platform's proximity to Davis Dominguez Gallery, as well as Raices Tailer 222 Art Gallery and Workshop, has helped the gallery to quickly become a part of the art scene in downtown Tucson. As a member of the Central Tucson Gallery Association, Platform participates in the gallery tours hosted on the first Saturday of every month, offering extended evening hours.

Platform is located at 439 N. Sixth Ave., and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended hours on the first Saturday of the month.

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