Recently Brandy and I went to Spitzer Art Center for Howard Zehr’s opening of Pickups: A Valley Love Story.” (If you missed that post, you can get caught up to speed with one quick click.) That evening we were treated to a lovely crowd, lively music by Shenandoah Alley, savory snacks, and refreshing bevs. Not to mention, a whole lot of creativity.
As I moved through that light-filled building, people danced and tapped their feet and rocked their chairs to the twangs and plunks of bluegrass. They sipped sweating glasses and threw their heads back in peals of laughter. They spilled out onto the wide porch and the plush yard and flopped on soft blankets under the big tree. And I thought, what a lovely place to spend some time.
My friend Jewel, who used to teach art at my school, volunteers at the center. Having recently started back to school, I was glad to see her there and have a chance to catch up. Upstairs from the gallery are several artist studios — seven, I think. In fact, two or three of them are currently available for rent. The Pinwheel Collective works out of a studio at Spitzer, as do Barb Gautcher and Pat Augsburger.
Jewel has a studio at the back of the house — a beautiful, bright space colored with sunlight and supplies. Why is it weird to walk through an artist’s studio? Is it just me? It feels like walking into someone’s bedroom… because really, it is a sacred, intimate space, but it’s also a place for working, and I’m always nervous I’ll touch something or knock something down and mess up someone’s work.
I carefully and gratefully explored Jewel’s living, breathing studio. All the furniture mismatched and scuffed. Tubes of paint that have been squeezed to their absolute limits. Brushes that she’s washed a thousand times. The sloped roof and the siding and a wall of windows. So much history, so much potential. Jewel never stopped smiling the whole time she was in there, like she was lit from within.
You can bask in the light there, too, on Saturdays from 10 – 2pm, and on the first Friday of every month starting at 5pm. Or you can rent one of those gorgeous studios and sit in beauty every day. Visit them soon!
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