NEW BETHLEHEM – From painters to potters, jewelry makers to sculptors, the new Gallery at New Bethlehem Town Center is now open with 10 artists offering their creations for sale in the heart of downtown.
Housed in the historic Keck Block building along Arch Street, the second floor gallery overlooks the Redbank Valley Trail a block from the Route 28/66 main street.
“It’s been a lot of work and it’s not all done yet,” the building’s owner, Sandy Mateer, said, explaining that since she purchased the large former warehouse building in March 2017, improvements have included a new roof, brick work, plastering and painting, the installation of new restrooms and duct work, a handicap accessible lift for the second floor, and much more.
The second floor space was outfitted with movable walls and display areas for the art gallery, which now features the work of 10 artists from the area. Mateer said additional artists are welcome, but must first pass through a judging panel to be included in the gallery.
“I’m still looking for more artists to fill up these walls,” she said.
In addition to the gallery space, Mateer said the second floor features two large conference rooms that she hopes will be used for art classes and other group meetings.
“We’re hoping for more events,” she said, noting that she hopes the space can be used to help provide local students with art and music programs since cuts to those courses were recently made at Redbank Valley schools.
Currently, the gallery features work from the following artists:
• Wood block prints by Katrina Carlson. Raised in the Pittsburgh area, Carlson said she moved to the Curllsville area after marrying local native, Zane Carlson, also an artist with work on display. Katrina Carlson studied fine art at Edinboro University, specializing in furniture making. After studying print making, and following the birth of her daughter, Emma, she began working with wood block prints.
• Sculpture by Zane Carlson. A New Bethlehem native, Carlson graduated from Edinboro University in 2017 where he studied furniture design and sculpture. Carlson’s sculptures, “Substructures,” uses “architecture as a metaphor for relationships and places in my life.” The works are primarily cast from bronze using the lost wax process.
• Photography by Tom DiStefano. A longtime area photographer, DiStefano’s nature photographs seek out the “little worlds” found in nature, from swirling water to the light inside a flower, to the “universes in lichen on stone.”
• Prints by Mary Hamilton. Longtime print-maker Hamilton has had work featured at the Pittsburgh Arts Festival since the early 1970s, as well as many other shows and galleries throughout the region. Using linoleum sheets, Hamilton carves out each color for the block prints, working from light colors to dark. Because of the process, once a print run is made, no more are possible. The colorful prints often feature myths and legends.
• Pine Spring Pottery by Marie Lewis. Operating a studio from her home in Limestone, Lewis has spent the last 25 years working in pottery. The hobby turned into a professional endeavor about six years ago, and she often hosts demonstration parties for small groups from her studio. Lewis’ stoneware is created by hand, one piece at a time, and offering a number of original designs inspired by the nature and heritage of the area.
• Photography by Vickie Minich-Manners. The New Bethlehem artist started in photography at a young age, and her work focuses on the scenic, landscapes and wildlife.
• Paintings by Linda Moore. A Redbank Valley resident, Moore said she took art lessons from Isabelle Here and Geri Olinger in her youth, and also studied with artists in Canada. Moore said she mostly paints with oils, with some acrylics, on canvas, masonite boards and slate. Her paintings often feature landscapes, birds, flowers and some still life work.
• Beadiful Kreations by Keli Reddinger. A New Bethlehem resident, Reddinger said she is self-taught in her jewelry making, and likes to use all kinds of mediums. Her pieces include bracelets, earrings, necklaces and more, and she offers custom orders, from bridal party jewelry to medical alert bracelets.
• Digital artwork by Carolyn Schiffhouer. Another Limestone artist, Schiffhouer starts with photographs and using the computer program, Photoshop, applies various techniques to create her art. Self-taught, Schiffhouer said she uses the digital tools to enhance the magic already in the photos.
• Photograph by Kyle Yates. Yates’ fine art photography has won many awards at regional art shows. He was named the 2018 Pennsylvania Wilds Artisan of the Year.
Currently, the gallery is open Fridays from 1 to 6 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 6 p.m., and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m., as well as other times by chance or by appointment by calling (724) 664-4754.
Although she operates her business from her home, Lewis said she was grateful to have another space where people can see her pottery and works by other artists.
“It’s nice to have this showcase,” she said, noting that she is a member of Pennsylvania Wilds group. “Tourism is building in our area; I think it’s really going to grow.”