On German Street there is a small unsuspecting gallery on the way to the Opera House. There is a small sign pointing towards the deck that says "ART" with a little red arrow under it. The door may be locked even if the sign says open, but knock on the door and to meet Riccardo Accurso, also known as Ricco of Ricco's Gallery.
Ricco's Gallery is a small shop on the main stretch, and while it might not be the most glamorous, it is certainly noteworthy. Ricco hand makes all of the jewelry and paintings himself, with his work desk clearly visible from the front door window. The main hall is covered with paintings of various mediums while the showroom displays his impressive metal work.
Ricco has been making jewelry since 1970 and has been in Shepherdstown since 1992. He has been known to travel and over the years the place has had a few intermediate tenants such as an organic food store and a re-financing office. Ricco owns a place in Mendoza, Argentina when he's not in Shepherdstown but also says he spends a lot of time in Mexico and has friends in Spain. He stumbled onto Shepherdstown as an access to Washington, D.C. and set up his shop in 1994.
The most impressive feat about Ricco is that he works with so many different art mediums from scratch. He paints mostly in watercolor but has experimented with oil and is doing more work with acrylic. Ricco paints mainly landscapes and is art inspired, meaning he just follows his artistic passion.
"I used to do a whole lot on commission, I guess I'd still be open to it," he said.
Hand making his jewelry is a rare art he enjoys as well. He works with all metals but finds himself forced to work the more noble metals like gold, silver and platinum.
"I don't have any prejudices about metal," Ricco enjoys them all and considers them a family. He'll works with non-precious metals like iron, copper and brass as well. He is even working with a friend, Dan Tokar, in creating a new alloy out of silver, germanium, copper and a small amount of gold.
Ricco is a self-taught man. He learned his trade through books and experience, creating an even more impressive range of skills. Nowadays he also uses the Internet to learn and improve.
Ricco's art strives for a middle ground, "not too artsy but accessible to ordinary people." He doesn't make art that's too abstract or too expensive. The pricing is out of range for a Shepherd student, but not for a middle class family.
"Making something of lasting value for middle class people," is how Ricco described his artistic goal. And during the interview a young couple came in to look at the rings.
Ricco's gallery is mostly open on weekends, but appointments can be made by phone at 304-876-2243 or visit the shop at 125 West German Street. Take a look at this jack-of-all-trades' wares!