By Belinda M. Paschal
PIQUA — Passersby in the 300 block of North Main Street were treated to demonstrations of art in various media Friday evening, when Piqua Arts Council and downtown businesses partnered for PAC’s Spring Art Walk.
Whereas previous Art Walks have involved as many as 20 venues, the spring showcase was held at a mere four sites, a plan designed to make the Art Walk a more intimate experience, said PAC Executive Director Jordan Knepper.
“We want to go back to a smaller, more manageable concept,” he said. “Not only is it more intimate, but because of the demonstrations, it’s interactive and engaging for the people.”
At Second Story Gallery, 319 N. Main St., Annie King worked on a graphite drawing of horses to add to her collection of pieces for sale. “I do mostly mixed-media, lots of collages with different papers glued on and painted,” she explained.
This was King’s first Art Walk, which she saw as an opportunity to expose people to the arts as well as broaden her area of exposure for her work. A retired art teacher, King soon will retire a second time — this time, from from her job as a secretary at Bellefontaine’s Holland Theater — and devote herself full-time to her art.
Next door at Can’t Stop Running, 321 N. Main St., Dan Knepper, an Art Walk returnee, etched the beginnings of a watercolor that will be part of a series of concept pieces. The piece features a young girl in front of an easel holding a work by Jean-Michel Basquiat; Knepper said he plans for a subsequent work to feature a reproduction of Mark Rothko’s art.
Knepper’s work can be viewed online at danknepperart.weebly.com.
Across the street at 314-318 N. Main St., painter Meghan Hager had set up shop in Barclay’s Men’s & Women’s Clothiers for her first Art Walk. An avid horse rider, Hager often includes an equine theme in her work.
“When I was in college, I worked on other subject matter and it was good to branch out, but realism is definitely my niche,” she said.
In an interesting twist, Hager took private lessons from King when she was in high school; that mentorship has grown into a long-term friendship. Her respect for King was evident in the praise she lavished on her former teacher.
“(King’s) grasp of color is incredible. She’s very intuitive,” Hager said. “I’m not your typical right-brained artist. I’m very structured and methodical.”
Hager said she’s been pushing herself “out of my comfort zone” and trying to experiment more with color and different-sized pieces. And like her mentor, she’s hoping to reach a broader audience by participating in events like the Art Walk.
“It feels good to meet other artists,” said Hager, who originally is from Bellefontaine and now lives in Tipp City. “The Miami Valley is a lot more hospitable to my type of work than, say, Columbus (where she attended college). There are a lot of good opportunities and I like this area.”
Hager also does photography and hosts two websites, meghanjillhager.wordpress.com and meghanjillhager.shutterfly.com.
At Ken-Mar Antiques, 322 N. Main St., Dennis Walker displayed a broad selection of multi-colored blown glass pieces and the tools used in their creation. His demonstration also included a slideshow of the firing process.
“It’s kind of a cool hobby,” said Walker, a computer programmer/engineer for Jackson Tube who has been blowing glass for about four years, since getting hooked on the craft after watching a demonstration at the Toledo Museum of Art.
Belinda M. Paschal may be reached at (937) 773-2721 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall.