This Saturday, the walls of Bier One in Newport will come alive all over again with the launch of their latest art show. In keeping with tradition, the artists featured will be a complete surprise — even to the Bier One staff — because the show is open-submission and wall space is first-come, first-served.
“It’s a surprise every time,” chuckled Christina Simonsen, who founded the business with her husband in 2009. It was her husband’s background as an artist — a sculptor, to be precise — that inspired the first Bier One art show.
“It’s all amateur artists who don’t necessarily have wall space at a gallery or anything, so we just want to give them a voice,” said Simonsen. “We don’t take commissions, so whatever they sell goes to them. Because we’re not an art gallery, our business is to sell beer.”
Since the first show in 2014, Bier One has been host to around a half-dozen shows. All with the aim of getting local, amateur artists with a day job or a small body of work some recognition.
“This community has so many artsy-fartsy people,” said Simonsen. “I mean, just tons of them … to get into a gallery, you have to have a huge body of work and a lot of these guys are just doing it in their free time. So it’s kind of a way for those artists that only have a handful of pieces to show their work off, you know kind of get into a little bit of a public venue where lots of people can see what they’ve been doing. And also, because we don’t take a commission, it’s a little different than the gallery scene.”
All of the money that buyers spend on a piece goes directly to the artist, which means that art inside Bier One can only be purchased with cash. On the day of the opening, purchases can be made directly through the artist. However, as long as the art is up — typically six to eight weeks — it can be purchased at the bar.
“Saturday is just the opening. A lot of the artists will be here to talk about what they’ve done and so it’s more of a meet-and-greet,” said Simonsen. “And then generally it all stays up for the next couple of months for people to admire — and buy, if they want.”
While the show isn’t themed, Simonsen said that it is being thrown with purpose: “This one we’re having because, in a couple of weeks, we’re going to have our 10-year anniversary.” The decade party, taking place on Sept. 28, will include an Oktoberfest barbecue special and a decades-themed dance party.
The art show kicks off at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14, and there’s no cost to attend — though you’re welcome to stick around and enjoy the house-brewed beer or delicious food — prepped by Simonsen herself at Bier One, 424 SW Coast Highway, Newport.