200 W. Marshall St.
Second Place: Quirk Gallery
Third Place: Crossroads Art Center
In its ninth year, Gallery5 is indie in every sense of the word. Want to see up-and-coming artists before they make it big? Or a band you've been hearing about but is still under the radar? How about burlesque? Or a show featuring comedians still making jokes locally but seem destined for a bigger stage? All that and more happens at Gallery5 as a matter of course. Amanda Robinson is leaving her position as executive director, but continues as exhibitions coordinator. "We support the interests of a community of younger artists," she says. "We allow them a place to showcase their abilities. New artists and organizations come to us with ideas and we discuss with them how to make them happen. We want to be a cultural hub for all walks of life and all subcultures." She cites the new monthly Music Makers Exchange as an example, where two songwriters discuss the craft of songwriting, tell stories behind their songs and perform original music, with a break for socializing in-between. Not far from Gallery5 is Quirk Gallery, popular for its offbeat shop and the ever-changing art shows featuring local talent. It's a favorite for collectors seeking affordable pieces. And Crossroads Arts Center is worthy of a full afternoon visit, with more than 225 artists represented in the sprawling complex and many of them busy at work at any given time.