By: Rita Villa at Smidgens

One Sunday afternoon a few years back Gary and I were looking for something fun to do. We wandered into the Rochester Contemporary Arts Center where the 6×6 art show just happened to be going on. It was one of the most amazing things we ever saw, instantly drawing us in with thousands of works of original art covering the walls from floor to ceiling.

After three hours of walking around overwhelmed, we got to talk with the director, a young guy named Bleu. He explained the concept. Thousands of artists from all over the world donate works of art that are 6×6 inches square. Everything from paintings, mosaics, and photos, to 3D sculptures.

Once the show is open customers can purchase them for $20.00 each. The fun part is, you have no idea who the artist is until after you buy it. Some are just regular folks, like us, others are celebrities, famous artists, musicians, and even monks. We had such a wonderful time, and after purchasing quite a few pieces, we had to become a part of this remarkable show.

This past winter we cut a bunch of 6×6 masonite squares on our wood cutting laser. After they were primed we began handing them out and getting people inspired to participate. In April, when the 6×6’s are due, we had over 35 pieces from our group. Many of us took advantage of laser cutting in our creations. Like Gary’s paper cut geometric patterns which he overlaid on his abstract paintings. Or Linda’s brightly colored felt flower petals which she arranged into glorious blooms.

For my 3D Volkswagen bus I drew the design in AutoCAD and then separated it out into layers knowing I would want the bus to be at least two layers of 1/8” plywood while I would want the tires, cats, etc. to only be one. After we laser cut the parts I glued it all together and painted it.

I still can’t say whether it was more fun creating the 6×6’s or attending the show last summer (2014). I love taking it all in, the thousands of works of art, the sold signs on many of the ones done by the Smidgens crew, and the wonderful pieces we fell in love with that simply had to come home with us.

Thanks to everyone at the Rochester Contemporary Arts Center, 137 East Ave. Rochester, N.Y. 14604. If you would like to participate in the 6×6 show here’s the link www.rochestercontemporary.org