Giving The Gift of Art at Village Artisans Gallery

By Tim Smith

Photo: ‘Rock-A-Bye Baby Mandala’ by Amy Blount Achor at the Village Artisans Gallery

Yellow Springs has long held the reputation of being an artist-friendly community. From visual arts to writing to music, one can find numerous examples and venues. One of these is The Village Artisans Gallery, a co-op of local artists. Through Dec. 31, they will be hosting their first Gift of Art exhibition at their gallery located at 100 Corry St. in Yellow Springs.

Pam Geisel is one of the co-founders of The Village Artisans.

“The Village Artisans co-op was founded in 1983 as a way for local artists to have a venue to sell their art without having to own and manage their own brick-and-mortar shops, which would leave little time for creating,” Geisel says. “It was also a way to pool resources and managerial skills. Our goal is to sustain interest and excitement for the arts through our artwork, exhibits, and demonstrations.”

They host gallery shows featuring artisans throughout the year, in addition to themed exhibits that call for submissions from the entire community, the most recognized being the free Art on the Lawn event—which brings 100 artists from the state. This is the inaugural year for The Gift of Art, and it was a team decision, intended to give back some of the support shown by the community.

“We were discussing how to encourage people to shop local, small businesses, and also support local artists. We’ll have 19 artists. Twelve of them live and create in the Yellow Springs/Clifton area. The other seven live and create in the Miami Valley area,” Geisel says. “Yellow Springs is very supportive of the arts and that has been demonstrated by the number of community members who participate in our themed community gallery exhibits… Hopefully, visitors to The Gift of Art will take away a piece of art that they intend to give as a gift!”

The artisans have exhibited in the area and across the U.S., receiving national recognition for their work. Visitors from all over also come to them from Dayton, Columbus, and Cincinnati.

“We take turns working in the shop, so each time you visit,” Geisel adds, “you will be speaking to one of the artists and most likely a different artist each time.”

Regarding the philosophy of Gift of Art, she explains, “The adage about gift giving is that it’s the thought that counts. We provide thoughtful, unique, one-of-a-kind, handcrafted items in a wide range of prices. Buying from Village Artisans directly supports local artists and a local small business.”

A variety of mediums will be on display and for sale: jewelry, woodwork, pottery, photography, paintings, drawings, fiber, sculpture, glass, enamel, paper art, calligraphy, and mixed media.

Co-op artist Kathryn Pitstick, a printmaker, has cultivated a following for her work far away from Yellow Springs.

“My prints have been shown in Kyoto, Japan on a regular basis, every couple of years via the Dayton-Kyoto Print Exchange with the Dayton Printmakers Co-op,” she says. “A gallery exchange showing our work next to theirs and their work here next to ours. This show is now on view at the Springfield Museum of Art. I make woodcuts, intaglios, silkscreens, linoleum cuts, and lithographs. There is a following for original prints.”

Glass and lampwork artist Theresa Mayer points out that the gallery strives for variety in what they display, to appeal to anyone who walks through
the door.

“We try to keep a balanced representation of different art mediums in our shop,” she says. “Different mediums draw different people. Someone coming in to look for a quilt may look around and find that they are also attracted to a wooden piece or glass piece or a painting. It is wonderful to watch people find an art piece they didn’t know they were looking for catch their eye, make them smile, and touch their soul. We also have several writers who have their books available at the gallery.”

In addition to its visitors, the artisans try to create a supportive space for its members.

“During the year, we hang seven or eight shows in our lobby gallery… The themes not only give our shows a cohesive look but inspire artists to try something new, which helps keep us fresh and exploring new mediums and ideas,” Mayer says. “Not only are we a co-op that helps artists have the ability to sell their art, but we are also a supportive community of artists that encourages each other to explore, expand, and grow in our art forms.”

The Gift of Art runs through Saturday, Dec. 31 at The Village Artisans Gallery, 100 Corry St. in Yellow Springs. Current non-event gallery hours are Monday – Thursday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 12 – 5 p.m. The week of Dec. 19 – 24, the gallery is open Monday – Thursday until 6 p.m., Friday until 7 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 24 until 6 p.m. The exhibit is free and open to the public. For more information, please call 937.767.1209 or visit VillageArtisans.Blogspot.com.

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Tim Smith
Tim Smith is an award-winning, bestselling author. Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Smith at TimSmith@DaytonCityPaper.com

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