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Main Exhibit Gallery celebrates 20th year in Ligonier

| Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

Main Exhibit Gallery at 301 West Main St. is celebrating 20 years of retailing fine craft and art made in the United States with an anniversary show featuring 20 of their past and present artists.

The opening reception, which will be held from 5-8 p.m. Saturday, will also be the grand opening of the gallery's new two-story addition.

“Making and selling fine craft is our way of life,” said Mandy Sirofchuck, who owns the gallery with husband, Paul. “We are rooted to Ligonier and committed to bringing the best in American craft to anyone willing to walk up our porch and through the door.”

The Sirofchucks opened the gallery in 1994 when they relocated from Philadelphia to western Pennsylvania, where Paul Sirofchuck was originally from.

“When we saw the old brick Victorian on Main Street, we envisioned what we could make of it and set to work renovating,” said Paul Sirofchuck.

Originally displayed at the gallery was Paul Sirofchuck's unique hand-crafted furniture, Mandy Sirofchuck's stained glass pieces and other consigned work from artists around the area.

In the year's to follow, the Sirofchucks began attending shows and purchasing fine craft, including ceramics, jewelry, blown glass, metalwork, prints, leather goods, mixed media and greeting cards and other original pieces made in America.

“Carrying only American-made products not only supports our crafts people, but it enables us to know our artists, their reputations and the quality of their work,” said Mandy Sirofchuck. “It also allows us the flexibility to offer our clientele specially-commissioned work for certain artisans, in particular, Paul Sirofchuck's furniture.”

The Sirofchucks selected what they considered to be a clever name — Main Exhibit Gallery — due to the fact that they were exhibiting art at their Main Street location.

“Though I'm not sure the name has ever caught on,” Mandy Sirofchuck said. “Most folks refer to us as “the Acorn Store.”

The gallery boasts a large cement acorn outside, crafted by artist Jack Mayer.

“While the acorn is an attention grabber, Jack has a large repertoire of cement sculptures that would make an interesting focal point to any garden,” Mandy Sirofchuck said, of the artist who has been with them for nearly 20 years.

Owning and operating the gallery has been a family affair for the Sirofchucks. Daughter Clair, who grew up in the galley, now often attends buyer's shows and helps with clients.

“The gallery for me has far exceeded my original expectations as a show place for my work,” said Paul Sirofchuck. “It has grown to become an extraordinary show place for the American artist.”

With the gallery's growing clientele and increasing number of participating artisans, the next logical step was adding additional space to better house the Sirofchucks' work and the gallery's changing exhibits/shows.

“Ligonier is a great little town, and the appreciation for fine craft and art is growing ever rapidly,” Paul Sirofchuck said. “We just couldn't fit all this great work in the existing turn of the century house anymore.”

The addition, designed by Paul Sirofchuck, offers a view of an existing maple tree and the future lower level patio/sculpture garden.

Paul Sirofchuck's reputation for award-winning furniture design and craftsmanship has drawn clientele from across the county.

“The new gallery space gives me the opportunity to exhibit more of my work in a spacious natural setting,” Paul Sirofchuck said.

The expansion doubles the gallery space, allowing for exhibit space on the first floor and a lower level for a variety of art classes. The building is now handicap accessible.

Twenty (plus) artists who have exhibited at the gallery in the past and present have been invited to celebrate the anniversary of Main Exhibit Gallery at the reception.

Wood, steel and cement artists Paul Sirofchuck, Andrew Jacobs and Jack Mayer; photographers Alexis Dillon and Skip Allen; painters Maura Kohler-Keeney, Jeannie McGuire, Sue Pollins, Ernie Witalis, Bill Hoffman and emerging artist Xan Mayer will be attending the event.

Additionally, printmakers David Clark and Mary Hamilton; metal artists Martha Murphy and Melissa Davenport; wood artisans Edric Florence and Miguel Burgos; glass artist Mike Mangiafico; ceramicists Jim and Linda Winegar, Rob Korczynski and Gwen Korvick are slated to attend.

Jewelers Cheryl Robertson, Lisa Pierce, Jennifer Gourley and Laurie Leonard; fiber artists Sandy Kephart and Helen Sirofchuck and collage artist George Wazenegger complete the list of participating artists.

The show will run through Aug. 31. Call 724-238-2310 or visit www.MainExhibitGallery.com for information.

Cami DiBattista is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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