The lull is officially over for the art scene. For many art galleries, summer is a dull season with hardly a few events and exhibitions. Art aficionados and students being away on vacation is seen as a deterrent. With the first rains, the action is beginning to pick up and art is entering offbeat venues.

The fourth floor of Odyssey bookstore is stocked with artefacts, bags and other accessories. What grabs attention at the moment are not the shopping goods but the cluster of white drawing boards placed at one part of the store. A group of artists gear up to offer visitors a ‘live studio' experience. Art is moving out of the elitist circuits to reach out to the common man. The ongoing ‘The Truth, in Black and White' live art studio at the bookstore in Jubilee Hills is one of the recent attempts by the art circuit to explore newer venues.

Curator Avani Rao of Iconart gallery, who is exhibiting her photographs titled Rockscapes at the store, feels that such venues help in removing elitist aura associated with art. “The general public stays away from galleries thinking it's a place only for the elite. It helps to take art to the people. Having a live studio and selling a few works at an affordable price of say, Rs. 500 or 1000 helps break that myth,” she says.

Malls to weathered walls

Avani has further plans — of holding an art mela at a shopping centre, using a weathered wall at the KBR Park where eight artistes can paint together… “The possibilities are endless. Perhaps we'd do something for World Environment Day,” she says.

Of course, this isn't the first time art is stepping out of its haloed circles. A few weeks ago, artist Ch. Manohar exhibited metallic installations at Sanjeevaiah Park and installations made from recycled paper and waste materials at Goethe Zentrum in an attempt to take art to public spaces. A few months ago, his larger-than-life installation at HICC was much talked about.

Ofen bakery at Banjara Hills was where even established artists like Anjani Reddy exhibited their works a year ago. Twenty-year-old Yashu Agarwal is now holding an exhibition of her paintings at Ofen. She feels venues like these are a boon for budding artistes. “I held an exhibition at an established gallery earlier and had to pay around Rs. 9000 to display two of my paintings. My work was displayed along with works of artistes like Vaikuntam and Anjani Reddy. So new artistes like me got no visibility and no sales,” she recounts.

Her collection of charcoal works has been getting her encouraging response. Next, she plans to showcase her works at Deli 9 and Café D'Art.

Perhaps this is the beginning of art becoming accessible.