Update, August 2016: Regrettably, and as a result of illness, Small World Arts Gallery has closed.
Silas Merlin poked me in the direction of the Small World Arts Sim and Mall (SWA for short), operated by Mikey Jefford (mikeythai) – and I have to say, as galleries go, it is an impressive space. While not completely occupied, the gallery occupies two wings of a building reaching up to 4 stories into the air, and located in lush surroundings in which further art and attractions can be found, spread over two regions.
Designed by Addi Tachikawa (Adrienne Falconer), the gallery builds offer a modern wood, glass and steel design which provides plenty of exhibition space – artists have a number of linked side halls apiece, which all open off of the main halls dissecting each wing.
“I opened 2 weeks ago,” Mickey informed me as we chatted during my visit. “But it was half the size then, so we have not officially had a gallery opening yet.” That’s in the planning stages, and Mickey hopes to make an announcement soon. In the meantime, the gallery spaces – which are filled on the basis of invitation – offer a rich cross-section of art.
Many of the names behind the art on display will be familiar to regular exhibition goers: Silas Merlin, Giovanna Cerise, Toy Soldier Thor, Nino Vichan, Gem Preiz, Kayly Iali; others may be less familiar, but no less captivating in their art. In terms of the 2D art displayed, there is perhaps a lean towards art from the physical world being favoured for exhibition over art from “within” Second Life, such as avatar studies and SL landscapes. I asked Mickey if this was deliberate.
“No, not really,” he replied. “I just select what I like and what I think looks good and I think if ‘I get it others will’.” Certainly, the bias does not in any way detract from the gallery. Rather the reverse in fact: it again demonstrates that SL is a valid medium in which to present art from the physical world.
Within the grounds, there is more art to be discovered, as well as walks through the woods, either along paths or greenswards, places to sit and relax – there’s even an old house boat offering table-top games for visitors. The paths and trails through the regions offer pleasing opportunities to explore, and It’s worthwhile taking your time when meandering if you want to catch all of the art that’s on display. I should also point out that there is a third region (Wizard Forest) connected to the two gallery regions, however, access to this is restricted, containing as it does a private home.
With a mall with spaces available to rent by artists, indoor and outdoor art displays, a rooftop garden and events venue, SWA certainly has a lot to offer, and represents a significant commitment to art is Second Life. As such, I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending it as a destination for anyone with an interest in art, and / or who enjoys exploring and appreciating new spaces and locations in-world.
- Small World Art Sim and Mall (Rated: Adult)