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Harvester Arts Launches

28 Feb
Harvester Volunteers

Harvester Volunteers

Two years ago, my wife Kate and I set out to create something in Wichita, KS that would bring visiting artists to this city.  We called it *asterICT and the mission was simple:  “To break down barriers between contemporary artists and their audience by inviting emerging artists from a broad range of disciplines to Wichita, KS for performances, exhibitions, workshops, and casual conversation.  *asterICT brought contemporary arts to the community on an intimate level so artists and audiences could engage with each other and mutually benefit from a shared artistic dialog.”  Two years later, Kate has taken this project and founded a fully operational nonprofit arts organization with her business partner Kristin Beal…and Wichita is abuzz!  Tonight Harvester Arts officially launches.  Instead of me fumbling over how proud I am of the work Kate & Kristin have done to make this organization a reality, I’ll turn things over to Lindsey Herkommer of KMUW Public Radio and the F5 Newspaper:

Harvester Arts — Wichita’s newest art space — opens this Final Friday. They are kicking off their first Final Friday with a disco-themed shindig, and announcing the winner of their logo contest selected from a local open call.

Harvester Arts, comprised of Kate Van Steenhuyse (Founder and CEO), Kristin Beal (Co-Founder and COO), and Ryan Gates (Co-Founder and Advisor), is dedicated to artistic cultivation and community engagement. This trio is making the second floor of Bluebird Arthouse, known as the NEST space, their creative home.

The aim of Harvester is to cultivate critical dialogue and new work in Wichita. This will be put into action in two phases.

Phase 1: they are looking beyond the city limits to bring nationally recognized artists to Wichita for a two-week residency. A residency provides artists dedicated time and space to they can experiment with their practice in another context. In these two weeks, artists will be introduced to our city, and we, in turn, will be introduced to their creative process. Harvester residencies will take place quarterly — a nice touch that sets them apart from the rapid rotation of monthly art exhibitions — and the first artist-in-residence will be revealed at their Final Friday disco party.

Phase 2: Harvester will organize satellite exhibitions beyond the NEST space in an effort to reach broader audiences and generate critical dialogue. These exhibitions will be the local response to the artist-in-residency, and an essential component to foster thoughtful conversation and encourage more risk taking in creating new artwork.

The local responses can take many different forms, and the community engagement can be as simple as some old fashion Midwest hospitality. Take the artist to lunch. Show them the sights. Let them borrow a book. Other ways to respond can be through art, writing, scholarly discussions, spoken word poetry … whatever we want, as long as we respond. Much of the success of the Harvester enterprise rests on us — the community.

Harvester is set-up as a non-profit which distinguishes them from commercial galleries. Since commercial galleries are concerned with making sales, they often submit to mass appeal and display art that lends itself to being a commodity. Harvester is not bound by these conventions. Instead, they will focus on installation and performance art — two types of art that have difficulty in the mainstream and do not lend easily to commodification. Both of these genres have been around since the 1960s and are widely accepted in contemporary art, yet are sorely underrepresented in Wichita.

In Ryan Wright’s article for the Wichita Eagle, he states, “[Harvester's] goal is simple — to bring nationally established artists to Wichita to do two-week residencies and create new work, which will give local artists an opportunity to respond through creation of new work of their own.” While I agree with his synopsis of the mission, the goal is far from simple. This is a big undertaking with many moving parts: hosting an out-of-town artist, displaying their work in NEST space, assembling satellite exhibitions, and orchestrating community engagement. Each of these components plays an important role in addressing some of Wichita’s largest challenges facing the local art scene.

We have arts reporting, but we lack critical engagement with the visual arts. We also have many art exhibitions, but the recycling of old artwork is embarrassing. We have a bad habit of showing the same work year after year, venue after venue, and giving each other a pass when it happens (I’m guilty of it, too). Local artists that developed a niche style are too comfortable and continue to make new work that looks the same as their old work from decades past. Critical dialogue and critical writing — with multiple perspectives — is necessary to move forward and foster new work.

Harvester Arts is set-up to address these issues with a positive, community-friendly approach. By mobilizing the community around artist residencies, we will have opportunities for rich discussion, creative experimentation, and a chance to push Wichita to a national level. Let’s take that chance.

To read the article on F5 or read more of Lindsey’s articles please go to

Photo Booth

Photo Booth

So if you are in the Wichita area come party with us (and the few hundred who have RSVP’d) as we kick things off with a gallery showing of the over 40 logo design submissions we received, the awarding of a $500 prize to the winning design and the new face of Harvester, the reveal of Harvester’s first visiting artist, a showing of our 5,000 square foot space and a party for the ages with bar, heavy hour devours, DJ, and a celestial realm photo booth sure to transport you to a heavenly state!

Havester Launches Friday, February 28th 2014, 8-11 PM.  924 W. Douglas - bluebird Arthouse 2nd floor NEST Space.

Havester Launches Friday, February 28th 2014, 8-11 PM. 924 W. Douglas – bluebird Arthouse 2nd floor NEST Space.

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Vote our music video to be “Video of the Week”

24 Jan

300x300Last week I shared the music video “Royal Flush” I produced in Los Angeles for singer-song writer Ethan Gold that was directed by the amazing Rachel Samuels.  Now, it’s up for “Video of the Week” by The Last VJ and I strongly encourage you to check out the 5 nominated videos and vote for Ethan’s.  The Houston Press calls it:

“All that constant dissonance in both sound and the nature of the stop-motion cinematography give “Royal Flush” a distinct dream-quality that is typical in his work. So much of what he brings to the medium is a haunted aspect, as if he’s seeking catharsis through the twisted mirror of a nightmare. Another brilliant video from someone we had all better keep an eye on.”

2008+CineVegas+Film+Festival+Day+3+-sT9yquiKmGlIn a world where most music videos today are made with Best Buy handycams and little thought other than “this looks cool,” Rachel Samuels creates a piece of 35mm artwork that compliments the song and tells a story.  Ethan and Rachel deserve every accolade available and I humbly ask that you help me reward the fruits of their labors and artistic vision bu voting for them today and as often as you remember.

To vote simply click HERE and vote for: Ethan Gold, “Royal Flush” on the second page.  Thank you for your support!


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Ethan Gold’s Royal Flush Music Video Premiere

17 Jan

ryan_slateEight years ago I packed up my New York City apartment, booked a U-Haul storage unit in Spokane Washington, and drove west towards Calgary Canada for a 3 month residency for a feature horror film I was going to Assistant Direct.  About 3 hours out of NYC I got a call from the Canadian film commission informing me that they had reviewed the film’s budget and required that a certain percentage of the crew be Canadian.  I said I understood and asked how I could help.  They informed me that they felt it was best if the Assistant Director be Canadian.  The conversation didn’t go well (as you can imagine) since I no longer had an apartment, was already en route, and now had nowhere to go.  My fiancee (now wife) Kate had moved to San Francisco for graduate school and I was supposed to move to LA…but not for another 3 months!  The rest is a story for another time but the short version goes like this:  I stopped off in Iowa to see family, made over 300 phone calls, found a place to crash in LA, and moved to Hollywood.

U-Haul trailerI arrived late on a Friday in my Subaru with the U-haul trailer in tow.  My friend Sean had invited me to a party…turns out it was a Playboy party.  So there I was at a Playboy party in my driving jeans and a stinky tee shirt talking to Bunnies.  “What do you do?”  they would ask.  “I’m a director and producer,” I would respond,” which is the response of about 99% of Hollywood’s population…that or “writer.”  Then they would ask, “How long have you lived here?” to which I would respond, “Oh…about an hour.”  This night became my calling card and everywhere I went for the next year people would introduce me by saying, “You know that story about the guy who went to the Playboy party with a U-Haul trailer?  …THIS IS THE GUY.”

I was the infamous “U-Haul Trailer Playboy Guy.”

Ethan+Gold+egphoto1I slept under my buddy Sean’s pool table during the worst cold spell that had hit LA in over a decade.  He got me a gig AD’ing a few music videos while I continued to work with my director and crew in Canada over the phone.  Eventually I found a few sublets and then an apartment of my own living in Tony Scott’s rental house in Larchmont across the street from Paramount Pictures.  During my sofa-surfing I met some amazing people who became friends for life…two of them are Rachel Samuels and Ethan Gold.  Ethan is a singer-songwriter who had teamed up with Director Rachel Samuels to do a music video from his album…but they needed a producer.  I got hooked up with them by the friend of my director’s producer’s roomate’s friend.  Boom…that’s LA.  The pre-production was intense, the production was an all-night shoot in Los Feliz, and the crew was amazing!  Filming is always better when you have fun and we had a blast.  No drama.

2008+CineVegas+Film+Festival+Day+3+-sT9yquiKmGlA few months later I was working post production on the film from Canada when Rachel called and asked about a second shoot.  The prep was a piece of cake, we used the same crew, we shot on the set of the TV show “Scrubs” while they were off for the week, and post production began.  By the time we had transferred film to digital and were cutting I had moved to San Francisco to be closer to Kate.  I had been commuting to NYC and back every few weeks producing commercials and LA had become a crash pad.  I setup Rachel’s computer so I could view it remotely when she needed help or she could email me the EDL and I could work on it from my editing suite at my office.  There were so many gorgeous shots that had birthed from Rachel’s head that it was hard to land on an edit.  Once it was completed it sat on a shelf as Ethan and his brother Ari cranked out more videos for the album “Songs From A Toxic Apartment.”

300x3008 years from that infamous Playboy party, 3 cities, and 2 kids later…the full album and videos have been officially released and “Royal Flush” premiered this month.  Seeing it again brings back more memories than I can type in this post…and some that are best told over drinks in loud bars with close friends.  It was the best of times…it was the best of times.  To say I am honored to have worked with Ethan, Rachel, and the amazing cast and crew of that shoot would be an understatement.  They affected the path and trajectory of my life forever (in a good way) and are forever part of a time when I discovered who I was.  The music video is gorgeous and I give full credit to Rachel and the crew for her vision, their dedication to the craft, and perseverance to make something that expressed the emotion of the song.  For me it is a happy reminder of why I still pick up a camera a few times a year to create something that isn’t intended for commercial use.  It reminds me that art comes from within and in a time where I was the super commercial dude…I got to be a part of this work of art.  So, without further ado…I give you something beautiful, something fun, and something collaborative.  Here is “Royal Flush.”

To read about the premiere of Royal Flush and Songs From A Toxic Apartment, check out the article and review from Impose.TV which calls it “An exclusive, intimate, and rare moving portrait.”


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The Premiere Of Our Short Film

19 Oct

Today our 6 minute short film “Best Hubby Ever” premiered at the Tallgrass Film Festival during the “Down To The Wire Showcase” and it was very well received.  It was great to finally see it play in front of a live audience!  Laughs came where we thought they would (and wouldn’t) and I loved how it had a completely different tone and cadence to the other films playing.  Its a celebratory and somber feeling to have this film screening over.  On one hand its sad to have it all over…on the other its exciting that its finally premiered and open to the public.  The highlight was after the screening having friends, family, fellow filmmakers, and movie-goers tell us what they liked about the film and ask questions about process.  Its humbling to hear that someone simply likes your film.  So…without further ado…here is our film, “Best Hubby Ever.”

Since this film was part of the Down To The Wire 24 Hour Film Race it needed to contain the required elements:

  • A car radio
  • A slap in the face
  • The line “You can’t stand up in a Cadilac, either.”
  • The theme of Identity Theft

In celebration of the screening Max (our 2 year old star) had a few cupcakes, Dodge (our 7 month old star) took a nap, and Kate and I had a beer.  What next?  We’re already putting together a team for next year!  Plus, I’m working on a few original shorts I hope to have rolling out in the next few years.

Thanks for all the support!  -Team Gates

Tomorrow Is The Screening Of Our Short Film

18 Oct

Tomorrow is the screening of our short film “Best Hubby Ever” at the Tallgrass Film Festival’s “Down To The Wire Showcase.”  For those who would like to attend here is the info:

The Garvey Theater is located at 250 W. Douglas (and Water Street), there is parking in the garage and on the south side, tickets can be purchased online HERE, and if you can join us we look forward to seeing you there and understand if you cannot make it.  Here is a little teaser just for fun!

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