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Community learns why artists ‘Love Making Art’

By Staff | Dec 19, 2018

Shepherdstown residents Anita and Robert Sisk look at sculptures in the Gallery at 105, during the gallery's Christmas in Shepherdstown event, "Love Making Art," on Dec. 13. Photo by Tabitha Johnston.

SHEPHERDSTOWN – Joining in with the Christmas in Shepherdstown events, the Gallery at 105 hosted an artists meet-and-greet event, “Love Making Art,” on Dec. 13.

Attendees sipped wine and munched on hors d’oeuvres at the event, which featured several of the gallery’s artists speaking about the inspiration behind their work.

“It’s an opportunity for people to meet local artists and find out what they do and why they do it,” said Gallery at 105 Owner Tom Conant. “I’m looking at this as more of an educational opportunity than a selling opportunity.”

According to Conant, offering events like this not only allows the gallery to become involved with the town, but it also encourages an interest in the arts in the Shepherdstown community.

“The gallery’s been a great way to reconnect with the community,” Conant said. “We view this as the next step to turning Shepherdstown back into an art town. We want people to be able to know Shepherdstown as the place they can come to see art created on a regular basis.”

For retired arborist Bruce Fransen, becoming a wood sculptor was a natural transition from a career of working with wood. Today, as a wood sculptor, Fransen’s work is about more than carving objects out of wood.

“I enjoy talking to people about my work and about my concepts,” Fransen said, mentioning he was one of the artists who would be speaking that evening. “I’m going to be pretty specific tonight – I’m going to talk about the importance of line in form. To me, it’s all about the lines that compromise the form, no matter if its realistic or abstract.

“I think informing people is what I’m trying to accomplish. I’m trying to intellectualize this intuitive process that I don’t have to think about,” Fransen said. “People are interested in the process and some of the compositional theories behind an artist’s work, and I’m happy to talk about that.”

Fransen was one of five artists who gave speeches throughout the evening, although some of the gallery’s artists chose to support their fellow artists, rather than speak themselves.

“I think it’s a great addition to the community. This is really such a nice space to get to know people,” said portrait painter Ann Sharp, who chose not to speak at the event, although her fellow exhibitor and husband, painter Joe Mayer, would be speaking.

“I really enjoy talking about my art – there’s something special about an opening like this,” Mayer said. “I think it’s great that Tom opened this event up for us to discuss our art.”

According to Shepherdstown residents Anita and Robert Sisk, although the gallery has only been open for a few months, it has already become one of their favorite places to visit in town.

“This is a wonderful place – we always enjoy coming here. They have some very creative and interesting artists here – it’s a lot of fun,” Anita Sisk said. “Shepherdstown has a nice mix of the history and the culture and the arts. We have some really talented people here.”