Providing a home for PAC in Second Life

Holly Kai Park: the new east side with welcome area / landing point (foreground) and updated re-brick gallery spaces in the tiers rising to the main gallery

At the start of February I blogged about the The Phoenix Artists Collaboration (PAC) and its search for a new home / partners as a change in circumstance meant the group would lose their current in-world home from the the end of March 2020 (see Seeking ownership or sponsorship: the Phoenix Art Collaboration). Since that time, a couple of things have happened that mean the group now has new opportunities beyond April 1st 2020 – and I’m pleased to say I’ve been able to play a part in bring one about.

In short, starting later this month PAC will be relocating core operations to a new location: Holly Kai Park, and there will also be an additional set of studio spaces that will be made available for the group as it expands.

The Gallery Village – 19 single and two-storey studios units for artists

After thinking about my own  – being frank – failure to ensure the arts programme at Holly Kai Park continues to move forward and so leaving the park largely dormant, and the situation PAC faced, it struck me that both PAC and Holly Kai Park could mutually benefit one another, the latter providing a home for the former, and the former providing the much needed visual arts programme for the latter. So, discussions were started, and both Nber and Mark, owners of HRE, the parent estate for Holly Kai Park, and the core leaders of PAC Luke (Marshmal), Anibrm Jung and Will (Willyharris) were equally positive about the idea, so I started putting together a more formal set of ideas and a plan to revise Holly Kai Park’s layout to better suit PAC’s needs.

One concern with this was that at its launch, PAC had no fewer than 42 exhibiting artists (see: The Phoenix Artists Collaboration in Second Life) – and the numbers had since grown. Obviously, given its location and the fact that the region on which it sits is something of a shared environment, there was no way Holly Kai Park could provide a home to such a volume of artist – and fortunately, it doesn’t have to: thanks to the support of Audie Spade, additional exhibition space is being made available on a separate sky platform.

The Park Walks remain, but have been vastly cleaned-up to form more obvious links between the east and west art areas

Instead, the park can become something of a focal point for PAC activities, provide space for artists, room for 3D and Featured Artists exhibitions within the main gallery complex, as well as a primary Welcome & Information centre serving both PAC and the Park, and provide a social venue for PAC members,

Over the course of the last couple of weeks, I’ve bee re-working the park to better suit PAC’s needs and serve as a base of operations (hence why my blogging has been a little slower than usual). While there is still a little more work to be carried out / finalised, we’re now just about at the point were artists can start transitioning from the current PAC facilities, which will vanish come April, and the park.

The Park retains some “permanent” 3D exhibits, notably the interactive Ice Castle by Giovanna Cerise (above) and Frankx Lefarve’s Reflections at Midnight

I’m not going to bore you with  litany of changes, instead I’ll just say that the park now comprises three distinct areas for visual arts:

  • East side: retains space for boat moorings and provides 4 individual studios for artists, together with Caitinara Bar and a new landing point / welcome centre (which I freely admit I ripped from the “skytower” home design I put together for Isla Pey).
  • Centre: the Holly Kai Gallery, retained for feature exhibitions and a further with eight east-facing artist studios built-in to the hill on which it stands, while the lawns to its front façade have been re-worked to provide space for up to 2 3D art exhibitions.
  • West side: the Art Village, with nineteen individual studio spaces in two designs, with open spaces and boulevards so as not to feel overcrowded.
Another look at the landing point / welcome centre (r) that will be housing information on the park, PAC and exhibitions as well as teleport options to go directly to any given studio gallery, with Caitinara Bar, (l)

At the same time, much improved links between the east and west sides of the park (including via Holly Kai Gallery) have been put in place whilst retaining the park like feel to the north and south of the gallery hill. Improvements have also been made to the park / Seanchai Library space so that the latter feels and looks to be more included in the park as a whole.

For artists who have exhibited at PAC’s original venue, the spaces at Holly Kai park are admittedly smaller, and the LI allowance per head has been reduced as a result, but the hope is this will encourage more variance / update in and of displays within the studios. Discussions are currently in hand as to how best to handle studio allocations and display periods, and to ensure a good flow of traffic between PAC at Holly Kai Park and the upcoming sky platform space.

A view of some of the gallery spaces tiered under Holly Kai Gallery. The bridge to the lest links directly with Seanchai Library, as does the path under it, which also connects to the west side Gallery Village

With the potential to offer space to up to 35 artists at a time, together with representation by Seanchai Library – with whom it is hoped joint events such as Stories at the Park can be (re)initiated, and with Caitinara Bar as a possible social centre for PAC, we  – the PAC Board of Trustees (of which I’m also now a member) and the HRE management team – Holly Kai Park will hopefully become a worthwhile home PAC artists and activities.

I’ll have more about any formal re-opening / exhibition launch in the near future. In the meantime, anyone wishing to visit the Park is welcome to do so via the SLurl below – but please keep in mind it’ll likely be another week or so before art starts to be displayed there.

The lawns to the front of Holly Kai Gallery now offer better space for 3D art installations

SLurl Details