Sending art strolling

Patrons sticking gum on the Traveling Gum Wall during  the “Chew-In.” Patrons sticking gum on the Traveling Gum Wall during the “Chew-In.”

An evening promenade among the artists

By Lara Donnelly

Patrons sticking gum on the Traveling Gum Wall during the “Chew-In.”

Fine art. Catered hors d’oeuvres. Gallery shows. A graffiti-splashed gum wall.

If you’re thinking to yourself, “One of these things is not like the other,” good catch. But at Yellow Springs’ semi-annual Art Stroll, things like the Jafa Girls’ Traveling Gum Wall are par for the course.

Other offerings on the roster for the June 17 event include the grand opening of the Springs Gallery, a little shop of beautiful eclectic art, as well as the Yellow Springs Arts Council reception featuring two simultaneous shows entitled “Lizards in Love, and Other Illustrations of Animal Intimacy,” and “Why Are the Walls Screaming?”

The Village Artisans Gallery will offer up some fantastic art by locals. Outside, Wavelength Beauty Wellness Center will be offering $20 haircuts, with all proceeds benefiting the WYSO public radio station.

At Sherryl Kostic’s whimsically named gallery Would You, Could You, In a Frame, patrons will find an equally whimsical show hanging on the walls. Every two years, Kostic delights patrons with her famed miniature show.

“We have landscapes, we have woodcarvings, we have embroideries,” said Kostic. “Little tiny sculptures made of pewter… I think it’s the whole gamut.”

Kostic likes putting on the miniature show, just because she gets to see art from all sorts of local artists. It’s the whole reason she created the show. “I wanted to see what artists would bring and what kind of art they were doing,” she said.

She certainly gets to see a lot of artwork, because at a size limit of two inches by three inches, it takes scads of miniatures to fill up the gallery. Each one is a tiny masterpiece, and if you’re not careful, you’ll spend all night moving from one diminutive canvas to the next.

While Kostic has a long history of miniatures and other art to draw patrons in to her gallery during Art Stroll, Christine Klinger is hoping to bring in the crowds with her grand opening celebration.

The Springs Gallery, newly opened in King’s Yard, features gorgeous, handcrafted jewelry, elaborate leatherwork and shimmering pottery, not to mention paintings and drawings galore. Most of it is from local and regional artists. Klinger opened the Springs Gallery with her business partner, Gayle Sultzbach, in mid-April, but they kept the fanfare to a minimum. “We wanted to tie in our grand opening to Art Stroll because we knew there would be a lot of people in town,” said Klinger.

The Springs Gallery grand opening will be a busy affair, complete with refreshments and glitterati. Klinger has invited all of the artists currently on display in the gallery to drop by throughout the evening. If a customer has a question about a particular piece of artwork, it’s a good bet the creator will be on-hand to answer it.

“The vast majority of [the art] is original,” said Klinger. “We like to feature and sell the work of local artists so we can keep them doing what they do.”

Klinger and Sulzbach both have a few pieces of their own art in the gallery, including photography and hand painted silk scarves. All of the art on display in the town’s galleries is beautiful and unique, executed by skilled craftspeople. But let’s be honest — you’re dying to know about the gum wall.

“It’s an opportunity for people to be part of a disgusting public art project,” said Nancy Mellon, half of the outrageous and incredibly creative duo, the Jafa Girls. Mellon and her partner-in-crime, Corrine Bayraktaroglu, have been populating Yellow Springs with bits and bobs of fantastical art for several years. Their previous projects include the now-famous knit-knot tree, as well as the Chamber Pot Gallery in the public restrooms at the Yellow Springs Chamber of Commerce building.

The Traveling Gum Wall is not only a “disgusting public art project,” but also a fundraiser for the Yellow Springs Arts Council. Chewers purchase a pack of gum for a dollar, masticate it until it’s good and sticky, then apply it to the gum wall in whatever manner suits their fancy.

The gum wall will be stationed at 100 Corry Street during Art Stroll, so seek it out if your jaw needs a workout. Participating chewers can sign the back to record their contribution.

The Jafa Girls will also be reprising their popular “Free Art Friday” activity. Sharp-eyed Art Strollers are likely to spot some Jafa Girl original artwork stuffed in nooks and crannies around town. If you see some, grab it! As the name implies, it’s free.

Even if you don’t find a piece of free art, Art Stroll is still a great way to spend a Friday night. It coincides with this month’s Third Friday Fling, so the streets will be full of life and fun, not to mention art.

“It’s a celebration of Yellow Springs artists,” said Mellon of Art Stroll. In a town so packed to the gills with artists of one stripe or another, that means it’s one heck of a big party.

Reach DCP freelance writer Lara Donnelly

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