Downtown Greenville was filled with joy and energy last Friday night when art and artists lined the sidewalks and happy crowds perused the artistic offerings, listened to the musicians, and partook of free festival food offered to the merry-makers attending Main Street Greenville’s Artisan Walk. A brief chronology of some of the wonders encountered follows.
Upon arrival at the event, Mike Wells almost instantly captured our attention; his skillful guitar-playing and singing were amazing to watch and delightful to listen to. Then, near the end of our time at the Artisan Walk, we encountered Abby Bower of Arcanum, a busy nurse at Dayton Children’s Hospital and new mother, who somehow finds time to write songs that she performs around our area. Her performance of her composition “Hallelujah Anyway” exuded a sense of hope and possibility.
We encountered a wide variety of talents among graphic artists of all ages as we wandered up and down Broadway. Kay Cress worked on a portrait of a beloved pet as she sat at the table displaying her diverse artistic talents. Her exquisite graphite renderings of dogs and horses somehow exhibit the animals’ personalities as well as their physical traits, and her oils evoke the reality of her subjects with their life-like color and detail. Jennifer Overholser captures memories and experiences in her evocative paintings. Especially eye-catching were textural pieces done with a palette knife, including a lovely rural landscape and a depiction of the Annie Oakley Parade in downtown Greenville.
John Kiser’s unique tweed framing of close-up views of guitar parts captured attention; conversation with the retired military man revealed that those frames were created from guitar amplifier coverings; we learned that for around thirty years he built custom guitar amplifiers for customers including Peter Frampton and Dick Dale. John’s paintings aptly reflect his love for vintage guitars merged with his fascination with art.
Dana Stacy, who grew up in Greenville and now teaches art in Columbus, is full of creative ideas, enthusiastically offering tools to inspire others to become involved with the arts She has led three art camps this summer, teaching tie-dying, paper-making, and salt-dough sculpturing to learners of all ages. Twenty-two-year-old Mikhal Gulley said that she’s been doing art all her life, but only began selling her work two years ago. The Greenville resident does it all, working with acrylics, pen and ink, markers, colored pencil, oils, and digital media to create her imaginative and exciting pieces.
Leelah Osborne’s delicately colored cartoon-like scenes demonstrated the ten-year-old’s amazing talent that she says stems from the fact that she “just likes to draw.” Many of her drawings are inspired by video games, a special favorite being Nintendo’s Animal Crossing. Newly-appointed Anna Bier Gallery Director CeCelia Rice displayed three unique ceramic pieces, one of which actually glows in the dark. Other pieces exhibited were an appealing owl charmingly titled “Whose Who, ” and the be-horned “Unicorn Dream” which proved to be a crowd favorite.
Jessica Peters is attending nursing school while also delving into photography, specializing in weddings, senior portraits, and family photos. Her beautiful work captures personalities as well as images. Retired Physical Therapist Abby Journey studied Fine Art at Ball State years ago, and now is “having fun” working mostly in acrylics to create colorful contemporary art featuring a broad variety of colors and shapes that somehow emit a sense of motion.
Chainsaw wood carver Dayle Lewis worked to create an eagle from a tree stump as fascinated onlookers watched; completed pieces on display included an adorable bear cub emerging from a hollow log, as well as other wild animals. His wife, educator and author Denise Jones-Lewis, along with her photographer daughter, Miranda Jones, has created a series of beautiful children’s books which were also on display; The Green in Grass helps teach colors, A Cookie Is a Circle is about shapes, and This Tree is Tall talks about opposites.
These and many more stellar local attractions on display in downtown Greenville reinforced the wisdom uttered by Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz — “There’s no place like home.”