Gocaia Gallery, Interview with Moira Geoffrion
Category - Interview
Written by Patti Cassidy

On October 1, Gocaia Gallery will open in Tucson, Arizona. It embraces an exciting concept about galleries and their role in the community.

Patti:What is Gocaia Gallery?
Moira:Gocaia is the acronym for "Gallery of Contemporary and Indigenous Art." It is a new space opening in downtown Tucson on October 1. The focus of Gocaia is to provide a venue for art that is not normally found here in Tucson. It will feature work from artists across the nation as well as creations from indigenous artists of the United States--including Native Americans, African- Americans, Hispanics--and around the world.

Patti:What makes Gocaia different from other galleries?
Moira:One of the basic purposes of Gocaia is to raise money for charities in Tucson. Each opening will be a major charity event for a selected group. The focus of Gocaia is on community. We hope to take an active part is making Tucson a better place to live. That, actually, is one of the factors that spurred the selection of its location.

Patti:How so?
Moira:For years, my husband and I had watched downtown Tucson go fallow. More and more stores closed and the heart of the city was dying. We wanted to do something to bring life back to the downtown area. The buildings that we're going to be in were many things through the years including a drug store, a restaurant, and a toy store.

Patti:How did you decide to feature indigenous artists?
Moira:I've lived many years in the Southwest, which has a large Native American population, which for years has been negated. I wanted to recognize their work and make the art world more open to them. Before that, I lived in west Africa while I was in the Peace Corps and became interested in the native work there. They incorporated found materials, things that were around them, or that had been discarded, into a vital art form. I had been in traditional western academic disciplines before that, and the fact of mixing media gave a freedom of approach that I found intriguing. In the West, there's an emphasis on "What's in now?" Artists, in order to survive, are limited by the question of "How am I going to make it?" In traditional cultures, the making of art is concerned with what is important to the survival of the culture, and what is true creative expression.

Patti:What kind of events will be at your openings and how will they benefit non-profit organizations?
Moira:Our Grand Opening is an invitational of contemporary artists from around the country. One of them is Buffy Sainte-Marie, the Native American 'renaissance woman'--singer, digital artist and activist. She will be giving a concert and lecturing in the city, in addition to having her work displayed. The money that is raised from the concert will go to a community Native American charity and to her Cradleboard project, which seeks to connect children of many communities through computers so that they can learn about each other's lives. They talk to each other through the Internet. Buffy has also developed a school curriculum as taught through Native American eyes. The next night, a Tucson playwright support group called Old Pueblo Playwrights will present plays in development at the gallery as a fundraiser for their efforts. In February, there will be a show of works by individuals who are physically or learning- challenged. The charity event for that will be a fashion show featuring my own works and those of nationally-known designers. The proceeds from that will go to ArtWorks, a Tucson program for the developmentally disabled. We're very excited about it.

Gocaia Gallery is located at 300/302/306 E Congress St., Tucson, AZ.
After the opening, it will be open Tues-Sat 11.30AM- 5PM.

More information on Buffy Sainte-Marie can be found here


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