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Allegory Gallery opens new annex space at Ligonier Mini Mall

| Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 9:05 p.m.
Bill Pribisco | for the Ligonier Echo
Holly Mowery director of the Ligonier Valley Chamber of Commerce (left) listens to William Jones and Andrew Thorton discuss plans for a new location in Ligonier Mini-Mall .They plan on classrooms for the new Allegory Gallery Annex. This photo was taken on 6/20/2013 by Bill Pribisco at the Ligonier Mini-MALL
Connie Parsons of Laughlintown and Rebecca Jones of Armagh focus on their Right Angle Weave beading projects. Instructor Alisa Barnhart of Mt. Pleasant taught the first class in the newly opened Allegory Gallery Annex located in the Ligonier Mini Mall on Route 711. Photo submitted by Andrew Thornton

Allegory Gallery, a fine art shop and bead supply store located on East Main Street, recently opened an annex to add space to their existing location. The additional space will help the gallery fulfill their aim of promoting artistic education in the community.

“We want to facilitate the empowerment of people through learning,” said Andrew Thornton, who co-owns Allegory Gallery with William Jones both of Bolivar. “The new space will allow us to offer more classes and encourage people to expand their creative horizons.”

The Allegory Gallery Annex is located in Suite 3 of the Ligonier Mini Mall at 3720 Route 711.

“We recognized early on the need for more space and this project has been in the works for almost a year,” said Thornton.

In addition to extra classroom space, the Annex will serve as Thornton's personal art studio and an internet office that will be the headquarters for the shop's online store.

“It will also serve as the nerve center of our events programming,” Thornton said, “We're planning some big events over the next few months.”

The gallery recently held an inaugural class in the new Annex space — a Right Angle Weave Crystal Bracelet class taught by local artist Alisa Barnhart of Mt. Pleasant.

“The class went very well,” Barnhart said, “The ladies seemed pleased with their creation.”

Barnhart said she has always considered herself an artist, but she did not begin beading until 2006.

“I began with just simple stringing and then I wanted to learn the bead weaving techniques so I took a few classes to learn the stitches and here I am now, up for the challenge of elaborate complex pieces.”

Her next goal is to begin designing her own jewelry.

Barnhart said she feels the Annex is a wonderful extension of the shop.

“It's going to provide additional space to expand the repertoire of creative opportunities that Andrew has planned. We are going to be offering new classes and more of them,” Barnhart said, “And it's close enough to the store so students can still get supplies or shop after class if they wish.”

Barnhart is scheduled to teach at least one class per month up through October. Her next class, a Square Stitch Bracelet Class, will take place July 13.

Additional classes scheduled include: a Buttoned Up Pendant Class and a Brio Scribble Earrings Class with Maria Richmond on June 29, and a Woven Wire Earrings Class with Jan Durkin on July 27.

“As an instructor, it just makes so much sense to have a separate classroom area,” said Richmond, of Aliquippa. “It gives both students and teachers much more room to spread out. And it doesn't take away from business in the store.”

Richmond has previously taught classes for Allegory Gallery. She said she has not yet seen the Annex, but looks forward to having the extra room to teacher her classes later this month.

Those interested in participating in the upcoming classes can register online at: or in-person at Allegory Gallery.

Thornton said he is also planning the addition of poetry classes, life drawing classes and paper crafts (such as rubber stamping) in the future.

Currently, the Annex is only open for classes and by appointment.

“It's a work in progress,” said Thornton, “As we stay in the space longer, we'll see exactly what changes need to be made and how we can best improve the Annex.”

Cami DiBattista is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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