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RHM presents art show at Waterworks

By Susan Shinn

For the Salisbury Post

Tuesday’s searing heat represented the perfect day to check out beach-themed art — indoors, with air conditioning. Fred Weaver walked quickly around the display space, pointing out the many pieces he created over the past several months, the excitement evident in his voice.

“This has been my baby since the beginning,” he said, showing off a painting called “Cape Hatteras.”

He added three-dimensional details such as rocks and a koi pond. Dotting the background were seagulls and pennywort, a flower native to the area — even the S.S. Minnow floated nearby.

“Gilligan’s Island” is near the top of his favorite TV shows, he said. “I’ve always like lighthouses. I’ve never been to Hatteras, but I’ll get there someday.”

He certainly created a faithful reproduction of the impressive structure.

Weaver and other artists — all guests of Rowan Helping Ministries — were honored with a reception Tuesday afternoon at Waterworks Visual Arts Center, 123 E. Liberty St. The artwork produced through the shelter’s New Tomorrows Program will be on display through June 30, and all of it is for sale.

“Fred has worked incredibly hard,” said Ingrid Erickson, Waterworks’ education coordinator.

“I thoroughly enjoyed it myself,” he noted. “Art lets me realize my imaginative side, my creative side.”

The class met bi-weekly from October to May. Erickson, in her third year of teaching the sessions, taught students about art history and different techniques before they started making their own art.

All of the art is priced at $25 per piece, and the money raised is returned to each artist.

The class studied Louise Nevelson, a feminist movement sculptor. Nevelson’s father owned a junkyard in Maine, and the artist created enormous wooden sculptures from items she found there, using a monochromatic palette of black, gold and silver, Erickson said.

“This is our jumping-off point for inspiration,” she said.

On the wall behind her were a variety of three-dimensional pieces, painted either all-black or all-gold.

Another three-dimensional project was creating cityscapes with clay.

Amy Goodell found her artwork in the middle of a good-natured tug-of-war with Kris Mueller, resource development assistant for RHM, and Diane Hundley, board chair. Hundley had just purchased one of Goodell’s cityscapes when Mueller walked up.

“You beat me to it!” she said with a grin, spying the red “sold” dot on the wall.

Goodell made a white and blue building based on the old IBM building in Endicott, N.Y., where she’d lived for a year.

“I love the contrast between the blue and white,” Hundley said.

Hundley purchased two cityscapes during last year’s show, which hang on either side of a James Donaldson painting above French doors leading from her dining room to her living room.

“Just about all the artwork in my home is from local artists,” she said. “I love having art from people I know.”

“I loved the classes,” Goodell said. “It was a way of expressing myself.”

It’s exciting, she said, to have sold a piece of art.

Rounding out three-dimensional art, students made paperweights and terrariums.

Additionally, the students applied painter’s tape to plain white canvases, filled in around the tape with acrylic paint, and then removed it to discover their results. Those end results featured bright geometric shapes fashioned by the wide, white borders.

Tierra Currie and her twin sister, Kierra, both made Nevelson-inspired artwork.

“I just went for it,” she said, looking over her piece of art. “I didn’t think this part would come out crooked, but I kinda like it now.”

Kierra Currie made what she called “Crazy Furniture.”

“It’s very exciting to have our work on display,” she said.

“I loved the class,” her sister said. Her favorite piece was an acrylic painting made with painter’s tape which she called “Untitled.”

“It came out perfectly,” Tierra Currie said. “Hopefully, it sells, because it’s my favorite one.”

No worries if it does, she said. “I can make it again. I want to do another one like this.”

Over in the studio, Patrick Imes worked furiously to finish a piece using oil pastels and pencil.

“I had a bad experience in my life, and I chose these colors to work through it,” he said as he worked. “The blue is happiness. The orange is good, and the purple is mellow.”

He overlapped octagons and triangles, and found he liked the effect of blended colors that the pencil created.

The classes, he said, “helped me get through staying and the shelter and dealing with stress and stuff.”

The program was a wonderful education and therapy for New Tomorrows clients, said Kyna Grubb, RHM’s executive director. She thanked Erickson and Sheenia Daugherty, who leads the New Tomorrows program.

“On behalf of our class,” Goodell said, “it was an enjoyable experience and a way to express ourselves in our artwork.”

The New Tomorrows artwork may be viewed during Waterworks hours, 10 a.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call the gallery and 704-636-1882. Artwork that’s been purchased may be picked up when the show ends.

Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.

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