July is at an end, so can First Friday festivities be far behind?
The next celebration by the merchants on Old Main is Friday, Aug. 7.
At Down the Street Art Gallery there will be an ice cream social, with all proceeds going to benefit the Payson Art League’s Arts Education Program, which provides art supplies for the area’s schools. As many art programs are being scaled back or cut entirely due to budget constraints, these supplies are even more important.
Studies show that children participating in art programs: see improved academic performance; have higher test scores; develop skills needed by the 21st century work force, including critical thinking, creative problem solving, effective communication skills and teamwork; express themselves creatively and have enhanced self-confidence; remain engaged in school and therefore less likely to drop out.
So what would be better than cold ice cream on a warm summer evening with the extra, added benefit of helping the area’s youth? It almost cancels out the calories.
Ice cream will be offered for a $1 donation per scoop, with toppings for free. Additionally, there will be an unveiling of Storybead Zissler’s ceramic caricature interpretation of her fellow artists at Down the Street Art Gallery, 703 W. Main St., Payson.
The event is from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 7.
Meanwhile, at the Artists of the Rim Gallery, 408 W. Main, August’s featured artists will be introduced: Angie Cockle, Sandy Pendleton and Glenn Smith.
Cockle works in scratchboard art. The technique consists of scratching the subject into existence on a clay- and ink-coated hardboard. She uses a blade to scratch the ink away, leaving only the clay, and then applies water-based paint for color.
The process takes hours. She said it usually takes her about three months to complete a large piece. Often her clients will want more than a single piece when they commission work, Cockle said.
She is currently working on two different commissions in addition to preparing for the August event at Artists of the Rim.
“Even in this economy, people will still find money to bring their baby back,” she said. Most of her commission work is of pets, many of which have died. She said she seems to work on an equal number of cats and dogs.
She hopes to have a couple of new pieces for sale, but most of the new work on display will be the commissions, which her clients let her exhibit in shows. Cockle will have three prints and 15 original pieces at the gallery in August, plus a large selection of cards created from her work.
Her next exhibit will probably be the Payson Art League’s fall show and sale.
Glenn Smith said this is about the fourth time his work has been featured in the gallery. The photographer will have several new pieces on display, including a shot of a creek in Greer, which he was commissioned to do.
“A client wanted it for sentimental reasons and it came out pretty good,” he said. In fact, the work pleased him so much he had note cards made with the image.
Smith will have the Greer note cards and others available at the gallery, plus about two dozen photos.
He custom mats and frames his work and is available to do the same for other artists and anyone interested in giving one of their photos a special treatment.
For instance, he had one client who had a photo and a poem to inspire her through a battle with cancer. Another client came to him with a photo taken by their son. When the son saw the finished product, with its custom mat and frame, he didn’t even recognize it as his work it looked so good, Smith said.
Smith has his photos printed by a New York firm, Adorama.
“They do excellent work. They have a technique that gives the photos a kind of metallic sheen and it really makes them vibrant. I really like it and so do my clients.”
Smith said the benefits he gets from his work include the opportunity to meet new people. “I really am pleased when people enjoy the work.”
He said he doesn’t make a living at it, but it gives him a great deal of joy.
Smith’s next exhibit may be in the Northern Gila County Fair in September.
Pendleton, who makes her home in Show Low, works in fused glass. She was featured at the gallery last November.
“I’ve been producing fused glass for five years and am now teaching the art form,” she said in the article by gallery member Dick Wolfe that appeared at the time.
“In my earlier years I traveled to Europe and was very impressed with the beautiful stained glass I saw, so when I came home, I began working in it.”
Later she saw what could be done with fused glass — sometimes called kiln glass — and decided to move into that medium. She said it allows her to be more creative.
She works at home, between 16 and 20 hours a week, using four kilns.