Annual art walk introduces young artists
Friday evening will be the eighth year for the annual Spring Gallery Walk in Sewickley and, if anything, a stroll down Beaver and Brad streets will prove a lot has changed over those years.
For starters, this will be the last for Bird in the Hand Gallery. After 37 years in business, gallery owner Katherine Amsler has decided to call it quits and close down her unique shop that was Sewickley's first gallery.
Amsler plans to close the gallery in early June after a showing of the work of Cynthia Cooley that opens on May 5 and closes June 3. "She was my first show and she'll be my last," Amsler says of Cooley, who has one work, an oil painting of Pittsburgh steps titled "Leticoe to Downtown," in the current group show that dominates the first floor.
"It's time to retire," she says. "I'm getting older. It's time to get out. I think my husband is tired of being my chauffeur, my cook. He wants me to start cooking again."
Everything is on sale, from the various pieces of Mexican pottery and South American crafts collected over decades of travel to works by longtime gallery favorites Frank Dininno, Don Graeb, Gregory Kavalec, Jebby Potter and Judi Collins.
Further up Beaver Street another longstanding gallery, International Images, will carry on with business as usual. The current show proves it with animal drawings in oil sticks by Victoria Page, of Los Angeles, and mezzotints by Joop Vegter, of The Netherlands, both of whom have longtime associations with gallery owner Elena Kornetchuck.
Page's expressionistic drawing of a tiger and the frenetic "You Stepped Out of a Dream," which features a running ostrich in vibrant, sumptuous color, are perfect examples of that artist's ability to imbue life in her work, while Vegter's mezzotints of still-lifes such as "An Amish Still Life," which depicts a colander, bowl and jar, offer little slices of domestic bliss.
Not far away at The Sewickley Gallery and Frame Shop, the Pittsburgh Watercolor Society presents "Waterworks 2006," an exhibition of more than 70 works in various watermedia such as watercolor, acrylics, ink and gouache.
Boasting more than 250 members, the Pittsburgh Watercolor Society has been around since 1946 and was one of the first of the art guilds associated with the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. This annual exhibition dubbed "Waterworks" has been a club tradition since 1973.
Like in previous years, this show is a chance for members to present their best and brightest. Some show extreme technical proficiency over demanding mediums, such as James LeFebvre's delicately painted leaves in "Sea Grapes II" or the drippy-yet-controlled wet-on-wet color technique that captures a butterfly collection perfectly in Don Nelson's "Death's Shadow," while others show more conceptual thought in terms of subject matter such as Betty Reid's humorous "Asking the Blessing" and Allen Morris' evocative "Nile Crossing," both figural works with something to say.
The last stop is Sweetwater Center for the Arts further down Broad Street where visitors will find a "Youth Art Exhibit." The work is a compilation of drawings and paintings by artists ages 8 to 17, all of whom are under the private instruction of Jeffrey Evancho, art teacher at Sewickley's Quaker Valley Middle School.
Many of the works on display show a skill level that defies youth, making one wonder 'What's next for Sewickley?' After all, this Spring Gallery Walk more than ever, will prove that all things have a tendency to change.