Metalworks artist donates featured piece to gala


TROY — An internationally-renown metalworks artist from New Knoxville will have one of the featured art pieces for the Health Partners Free Clinic’s Healing Jar Gala and Art Auction set for May 17.

Gary Hovey is an award-winning sculptor who has been creating animal figures since 2004 using stainless steel flatware, such as knives, spoons and forks, as his medium. All the while fighting the effects of Parkinson’s disease.

The Eighth annual Healing Jar event serves as a major fundraiser supporting Health Partners Free Clinic, located in Troy. The event will be hosted at the Cedar Springs Pavilion in Tipp City beginning at 7 p.m.

Funds raised will be used for continued support for the sole free medical clinic having served Miami County for 17 years.

In 1981, Hovey began metalworking in heading up a fine art foundry. He had become a skilled welder and metal fabricator. In 2004, he began shaping silverware into realistic forms calling them Hoveyware.

Ten years before Hovey began forming cutlery into art, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The illness prevents him from driving, and he is unable work a full-time job. The disease nearly incapacitated him until he participated in a trial gene therapy experiment at the Ohio State University in 2009.

The seed was planted in Hovey in 1978 when he saw works by John Kearney at an art show in Wichita, Kansas. Kearney designed huge animals out of car bumpers. During this time, he married his high school sweetheart, Tonnie, whom he met in a Kansas high school art class.

A Virginia native, Hovey learned bronze casting by working in a foundry in Oklahoma, and welding by working in a shop in Washington, D.C.; before coming to Ohio.

Almost every sculpture is an animal, although he also often creates a habitat for the animal to pose in. His ideas come from photographs he finds online and from requests.

Five pieces created by Hovey adorn the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium, a restaurant at Universal Orlando, in Florida. Also, his work is featured in the annual sculpture tour in Decatur, Illinois. The city has purchased two pieces for permanent display.

Images of Gary’s work is available through his website, www.Hoveyware.com, and in Sidney at Gallery 2:Ten.

Hovey is donating a piece titled, “This Rock’s My World,” a sculpture of two lizards fighting over a rock. The dimensions are approximately 7-inches high-by 16-inches-by-9-inches. The piece normally retails for $550, according to Tonnie Hovey.

The artist works on just one piece at a time. He lays out a pattern, a grid, on his shop floor to determine the size of the sculpture. He starts by making the animal’s head, which he welds from the inside out then builds from the ground up.

Hovey has won numerous people’s choice awards in area art shows and numerous first-place ribbons. He has been featured in three videos for the OSU Wexner Medical Center, the Dayton public television series, “The Art Show” and for Vimeo.com.

Hovey said caring for his family drives him to continue making artwork through the Parkinson’s challenges.

“It’s for them. If you just stop, you’ve given up. And I can’t do that to them. I keep doing this so they will know I will never give up,” he said.

Hovey said he enjoys donating artwork to such causes as Health Partners stating he understands their mission. He looks forward to meeting clinic supporters at the gala dinner.

Health Partners Executive Director Justin Coby said, “We at the Clinic feel so very blessed to have Gary and his wife Tonnie join our list of charitable artists. The event simply could not exist without their generosity.”

Coby also reported that in 2016, the clinic treated 911 unduplicated patients, which equated into 3,406 physician appointments. Coby also noted the clinic provided some 2,393 patient lab/diagnostic tests; and 8,431 clinic-dispensed free prescriptions valued at nearly $1 million. Overall, the clinic provided $5.55 in medical services for every $1 spent.

The Rev. Sherman Bradley of New Life Covenant Church in Cincinnati will be the keynote speaker. Artwork from area artists and others will also be part of the auction through a collaborative effort with the Piqua Arts Council.

Individual tickets are $80 each with a table of eight tickets being $550. For ticket information, contact the clinic at (937) 332-0894, Ext. 208, or by email at Justin@healthpartnersclinic.org. The clinic website is www.healthpartnersclinic.org; and can be found on Facebook at www/facebook.com/healthpartnersfreeclinic.

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