BUCKHANNON - For many, the Easter holiday and the spring season are symbolic of rebirth and new beginnings, and for the Artistry on Main gallery, April is the month for officially relaunching and starting new programs designed to appeal to multiple audiences.
The newly remodeled Buckhannon gallery will open its doors to a calendar of events and many new artists in April. Although the gallery officially opens at 10 a.m. April 1, the opening ceremony will take place the following weekend starting at 11 a.m. April 5, at the gallery's Main Street location.
The grand opening will be a way for members of the public to meet the gallery members and the Artistry on Main Board of Directors by joining them in conversation and a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Melissa Toothman
Stephen Talkington of Bridgeport, an Artistry on Main member and artist, volunteers his time in the gallery to put a fresh coat of paint on the walls.
"I think it's just amazing, the amount of energy that's going into this," Board of Directors member Tom Lynch said, adding that renovations to the gallery are still underway with painting and shelving. "The people involved - it's just been a thrill to be involved, to see it really developing. Everybody's ideas have really been appreciated and thought through."
Over the past months, the Board of Directors, realizing the gallery was struggling to remain open, turned to the community for help. The artists and local residents stepped up to the challenge, generating ideas that would move the gallery forward.
"It's almost like a community of artists and people, volunteers, patrons of the arts who are willing to actually put in some equity time," Lynch said. "They're willing to spend their own time and labor to make this work. There's a synergy going on between artists and community members to make Buckhannon a better place, really.
"I feel strongly about art being an important element in our community. I see other communities, the void of any sort of art. It's just a sad space. This many (local artists and community members) involved - that doesn't happen in very many communities. It gives you goosebumps. I think we're getting to that synergistic point of just really becoming a permanent fixture in Buckhannon."
As the gallery turns this new page in its struggle to stay open, potential patrons will discover a slew of activities on the books - the first of which is a class on making Ukranian Easter eggs.
For the instructor, Julie Dilworth of Upshur County, the art of Ukranian Easter egg-making is a family tradition. According to her biography submitted by class coordinator Teresa Mason, members of Dilworth's family started the craft very young. Dilworth's maternal ancestry links her to Poland, an area with a culture similar to that of the Ukraine's.
The eggs are made by placing a drop of wax on the shell and dragging it with a pin to create the design, usually an intricate series of geometric lines and shapes with symbols. Examples of the Ukranian Easter eggs will be on display in the gallery window at 27 East Main St. in Buckhannon near the end of March.
"The eggs can represent prosperity, fertility, religion, love, etc.," Mason said.
Dilworth has taught the tradition to students of Hodgesville Elementary School for several years and will be teaching her granddaughter this spring.
However, the Artistry on Main class size is limited to 10 students. The class will cost $35, and if it generates enough interest, Mason said the artist may consider hosting another Ukranian Easter egg class.
The class will take place in an expanded and newly remodeled room where local school artwork and regular artist exhibitions will be on display.
But gallery classes won't always deal with crafts and visual art. Mason said the gallery is open to a variety of different mediums to appeal to various audiences, including the literary arts with workshops like creative writing. Lynch said that Buckhannon author Greenbrier Almond was interested in hosting a class. Anyone who is interested in teaching a class is welcome to contact the gallery.
Artistry on Main also plans to start a summer art workshop for kids, but the details are still in the planning stages, Mason said.
While gallery renovations continue, the telephone service at the gallery is not operational. However, anyone interested in becoming a community member, gallery artist or a class instructor, or just learning more about the gallery and/or signing up for a class, may contact the gallery at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Melissa Toothman by email at email@example.com.