As Gallery Draws A Crowd, Artists Enjoy Space's Success

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Wednesday was a gorgeous day in Payson and Charles Shillingburg and Phyllis Haddon decided to take a walk down Main Street while waiting for their car radio to be installed.

When they saw the Artists of the Rim Gallery sign, they decided to take some time and wander through the gallery.

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Donn Morris, left, is pictured here with "Buckaroo I" next to Conrad Chapek and a variety of his custom trees. The public is invited to a reception for work by Chapek and Morris from 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 6, at 408 W. Main St. in Payson.

"It's our first time seeing it," Haddon said.

"We think the gallery is really nice," Shillingburg added.

Although these two art lovers hail from nearby Christopher Creek, people from as far away as Europe have signed the gallery's guest book.

By drawing the public into the gallery to discover local artists, the space is a success, according to one of January's featured artists, Donn Morris.

A success that has been "better than we initially anticipated," he said.

From 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 6, there will be a reception at Artists of the Rim, 408 W. Main St. in Payson, featuring Morris' paintings and artist Conrad Chapek's hand-crafted silk trees.

"We always look forward to the public's reaction to new work," Morris said.

While Morris' cowboys and other Southwest-themed art hangs in one section of the gallery, Chapek's trees of wood and silk complement artwork throughout the space.

The trees range from a foot tall to pieces that reach all the way to the ceiling.

Chapek uses a variety of silk leaves that he places on branches of manzanita he has power-washed and sealed to show off the burgundy, tan, black and brown streaks that wind naturally through the wood.

When my wife and I first moved to Payson (from Illinois), I fell in love with the unique anatomy of the manzanita.

The wood inspired him and he has been creating custom silk trees for several years.

There are bonsai-styled pines, tall Ficus and flowering trees in the gallery.

"It is a pleasure working in the gallery," Chapek said. "I enjoy the camaraderie and the beauty."

Morris echoed the sentiment, "There is something good happening on Main Street."

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