Smile Politely

A glimpse into the Outhaus

The Outhaus is a small gallery in the back yard of Urbana residents Bert Stabler and Katie Fizdale. If you want to read more about the owners, check out my article from last week. This week, though, I’ll show you what it is like to attend an Outhaus event.

At approximately 5:30 p.m., we arrived at 709 E. Sunnycrest to find this sign. The show was slated to start at 5 p.m., and I’ll admit I was worried that we were going to be too early and that no one would be there.

I’m happy to report that I was dead wrong. The back yard was buzzing with people enjoying the art, company, and food. 

The food, which looked and tasted delicious, was catered by Mashawi Grill and sponsored by the Art Education program at U of I. Everything was fresh and flavorful. 

Bert and Katie provided beer and soda as well. 

I met the artists Liz McCarthy (left) and Soo Shin (right). who were friendly and excited about the show. 

The show itself was interesting. McCarthy and Shin took material, squeezed it, and let the impression of their grip dry. Then they hung the items in the Outhaus and guests were encouraged to cut one down and take one home. 

Photo by Scott Wells

This presentation was very dynamic. First, you had the actual artists’ grips coming to life. Add to that the interaction of the viewer, and it becomes kind of an interactive performance art piece — which piece will the viewer choose, how will they cut the string, long or short, etc?

Some attendees, like Doug (below), came after reading about the event on Smile Politely. But as cool as that is, what is even cooler is that this was not one big group of friends hanging out. There was a diverse array of people at the show.

Doug chose to make his piece into a necklace. I should have done that!

Below, the piece I cut down.

The overall atmosphere of the event was very inviting, and I would encourage anyone and everyone to experience a show at the Outhaus.

Photo by Scott Wells

Photo by Scott Wells

Photo by Scott Wells

Visit the Outhaus on Facebook

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