art in the northland

This Friday, April 1, from 5-7 p.m., the Shawnee North Community Center (300 NE 43rd Street [Map]) will be hosting an opening reception to welcome photographer (and beloved XYZ staff member) EJ Drake and his newest collection of prints for a month-long solo art show in the lobby of the community center.
“The theme is the outdoors,” says Drake. “The pictures are scenes of different things throughout Kansas.”
The prints are framed and matted and on sale for $50 – $75. Drake is excited for the show, which is a little off the beaten path from the usual gallery shows occurring on First Friday Art Walks.

“I’m happy to have the opportunity to show there,” says Drake. “I’d like people to show up and take advantage of the chance to visit North Topeka, and it gives me the opportunity to meet new people and expand my reach.”

Drake is a self-taught photographer who was encouraged to pursue photography seriously by his friends and family.
“I started just taking pictures in general in 2007, and people were really liking what I was doing, so I bought a nicer camera and I started getting better and better,” says Drake.
Drake has been a staff photographer with seveneightfive magazine since 2008, and graduated from the Chamber of Commerce’s First Step FastTrac Course to create his photography business, edrake photography, in 2010.
The Shawnee North Community Center is taking efforts to create a cool aesthetic in the lobby, where there is a pool table, puzzle table, foozball game, couches and tables for gathering or reading the paper while your little one bounces around their tumbling class down the hall. The area will be surrounded by the photography on the walls, featured art made by kids taking classes at the center and plans are in the works to feature the building throughout its long and storied history, including its origination as a poor farm after its construction in 1920, an infirmary in 1942 and finally, a community center in 1975.
Refreshments and snacks will be available, and visitors are encouraged to seek more information about the many classes and activities that the Center provides.
The staff of XYZ congratulates EJ on his first solo show!
[ March 2010 | Leah Sewell | photo of SNCC by Matt Porubsky / photos from show provided by EJ Drake ]


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