By Kristin Bartus

Pacific Sun  

There are preppy, pushy PR people and then there's Vickisa. As the promo goddess for Gallery Route One in Point Reye Station, she takes public relations to a new level. If I've learned one thing as a journalist, it's how to see through the PR shtick. Vickisa, however, is irresistible. Perhaps it's because she's also an artist member of Gallery Route One, so she is truly connected to what she's promoting, but she's a total firecracker, She oozes enthusiasm in a nonconfrontational way that makes you begin to believe in whatever she believes in. The event that gets Vickisa most excited every year is "The Box Show."

I finally started to understand her enthusiasm fully last Saturday when I checked out the show myself. As Vickisa promised, the boxes were an amazing sight to behold, but I am behind the times. Now in its fifth year and encompassing the works of 150 artists, this annual fund-raiser for the nonprofit Gallery Route One has become a phenomenon --- so much so that there's even a film about it.

San Francisco filmmaker Victoria Lewis was so taken with "The Box Show" when she first experienced it in 2000 that she immediately decided to make a film about it. For the past 15 years, Lewis has worked as an art director/set decorator on feature films in order to make enough money to create her own films. Her documentaries have been shown on The Learning Channel, PBS, and at film festivals. She knew she had found something special when she saw "The Box Show."

"Each box came alive for me and I was totally enchanted," Lewis says of her reaction. She likened seeing the show to being in some sort of fantasyland.

Lewis has been working on her film The Box Show for the past three years. At first, she just wanted to focus on the boxes and the artists discussing their boxes, but as she spent more time at the gallery, she realized there was much more to the story. Lewis has decided to explore the concept of Gallery Route One as a vital and vibrant community asset as well. She's also looking at the show from, literally, square one---when artist and "Box Show" mastermind Nick Corcoran is crafting all of the 7-by-7-inch pine boxes for the participating artists to use.

"I've just kind of hit pay dirt with this gallery," Lewis says. "It's a gold mine of ideas and creativity."

"These boxes are inspiring," she adds, noting that they come from a variety of places and offer the gamut of messages. Some serves as healing projects for the artists, others reveal an environmental or political message and many are merely whimsical. "Every box kind of addresses something in our hearts and soul. I think these boxes are a metaphor for what art means to people."

The show, now called "The Original Box Show," is on display through September 7. You"ll be blown away by the unique collection of boxes before your eyes. They've been turned in to purses, skateboarders, mobiles, Airstreams and objects you couldn't even imagine. You can bid on your favorite boxes anytime, although the final bidding takes place at the Closing Party. A rough cut of Lewis's The Box Show will screen at the gallery from 3-5 pm August 31 - September 7. Lewis hopes to complete the film in 2007 and aims to get it on the film festival circuit as well as on stations like PBS or BBC's Channel 4.

"From the time you go into this art show, you just forget about everything and enter the world of these boxes," Lewis says. "I would like to share their work with the world. I just think this little gallery is a gem we have here in the Bay Area."