Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Bob’s Art Blog: The Year in Art Part II and the Amie Bantz Show

You Were Always on my Mind

Millworks artists occupied a large space in my head during 2021, all in a good way. They accounted for eight different chapters in my blogs during the period of time from March through December. Ladies before gentlemen, so here are the femme fatales of Millworks.

A number of female artists were already covered in Part I, and there is still a handful left for me to meet at Millworks in 2022. Herewith is the rest of this artistic group found on all three floors at the Millworks Loft Studios.

Tami Bitner, acrylic artist, paints in richly lustrous jewel tones and often employs a cold wax process. She is also a member of the “Mixed Media Art Group.” Reina Wooden (R76) amplifies her art with elements of symbolic sensations emanating from societal conflict and seeks positive resolution in their depiction on canvas. Kristen Fava’s medium is Old World letterpress printing as a graphic designer. Owner of Rexmake, her art at Millworks is focused “works on paper” that draw on a neutral palette.

Art by Yachiyo Beck

Elaine Elledge is also a printmaker with fantastical drawings in pen and ink of parachutes that are like poetry, precision put to paper. Her hot air balloons lift viewers up and away. The Fine Art of Yachiyo Beck deserves to be capitalized as she ascribes to the aesthetics of beauty as found in Asian art. Portraying soft and serene still-lifes, florals and landscapes, her art begs to be viewed up close. Linda Benton McCloskey is a master painter working in varied approaches to her craft that encompass cold wax and encaustic, contemporary and abstract art as well as oil paintings. She is a member of the International Society of Experimental Artists. Averill Shepps is an enamelist of consummate skill. She has honed her craft for over half a century, perfecting the art of jewelry making and enameling bowls of beauty as well as paintings. She is a member of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen.

Art by Ann Benton Yeager

The husband and wife team that forms Fennec Design, Joel and Justin Arawjo create housewares, textiles and jewelry with a thread of ingenuity. Their collaboration draws on nature and its role in elevating design with a purity of spirit and beauty. Rebecca Adey’s ModSew Designs is a Peaceable Kingdom menagerie of loveable critters and creatures. All adoptable animals made from three-dimensional “paper-cut portraits and plush mount sculptures” are created with a sense of whimsy and wonder. Mary Kandray Gelenser turns cast-off fabrics, found objects and ephemera into wondrous assemblages of art. Her compositions become stories of their own, full of history and archival materials from the past to become lasting treasures. Ann Benton Yeager, abstract artist of renown, was the “People’s Choice Artist of the Year” voted by readers of Harrisburg Magazine and the award was well deserved. Benton Yeager’s paintings use a color-laden cold wax process and her oil paintings are deeply saturated in tones and texture. She also specializes in mixed media works that incorporate hot wax elements.

Marsha Souders works in the medium of clay monoprinting. Over the course of the past decade, she has developed her own signature style with a nod to cave paintings that date back 30,000 years ago. Her process encapsulates paint-dyed clay slips applied to Remay paper which when rolled onto a clay slab, creates a singular image. Judy Kelly is affectionately known as “Robot Girl” at the studios as her unique figures are made from found objects of varying size, color and proportion then assembled, named and given their own back story. She also works in collage, oil and abstract paintings and wax as well as jewelry.

Meg Caruso is the creative director for TheBurg and is a ceramicist who creates a collection of objects d’ art with elaborate finishes, elevating a bowl to a work suitable for framing. Her “Quiet Clay” grouping commands attention without uttering a sound. Author and illustrator Lauren Castillo is a Caldecott Honor Award winner and recently published her latest book, “Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us,” which is all about the friendship between the title figure and best friend, Mutty. An endearing tale for children and adults, Castillo’s illustrations melt the hearts of her readers. Erin Musselman’s “Lupine Ceramics” are a testament to her skill as a potter and jeweler. She creates baskets, bowls, earrings and vessels that provide a visual punch to “art of the everyday,” as she describes her collection of housewares and wearable fashion.


Follow the Bouncing Ball: Oddities That Captured my Attention. Antiques, Comic Book Heroes, Vegetables & Peabody and Sherman

The Carlisle Antique Mall (CAM) is doing its part to revitalize downtown Carlisle by reviving an old dinosaur of a landmark building, an original Montgomery Ward store building from 1918. This brings a fresh spin on the block of N. Hanover Street that is having a ripple effect across quadrants and streets of historic importance. The entire downtown is benefitting from a renaissance of sorts from CAM’s basic premise of selling antiques to its special monthly events to a weekly Saturday flea market. CAM is thundering retail therapy under its owners, Richard and Tiffany Lawson. To learn more, visit The Art of Making What’s Old, New Again.

Photograph by Larry Washington Jr.

The Justice League of Art stems from my overactive imagination of a child of nine reading DC Comics, Justice League of America with its elite group of superheroes. Harrisburg has its own unique art superheroes that fly just under the radar. Comprised of abstract artist, Bethany Nicholle, metal manipulator, Keegan Beinhower, photographer about town, Larry Washington Jr. and portrait painter, Grace Robinson, collectively they light up the night sky to make Harrisburg a more interesting place enhanced by their art.

Art by Lina Ferrara

“Summertime and the garden is sprouting all over”…sang owners of Radish & Rye Food Hub, Dusty and Julia James, who elevate the art in vegetables to new heights at their Midtown outpost. Halifax-based “Veg Out” is part of the Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program headed by Melissa Barrick in the Broad Street Market. The Veg Out stand provides seasonal produce that anticipates the needs of shoppers for “The Art in Vegetables”. On a laconic summer morning at Negley Park, Peabody and Sherman (yes, from “The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show”) happened upon a plein air class in a corner tucked away from the mainstream. No words were spoken, only deep concentration. Among the artists was Lina Ferrara, fully immersed in her work in progress of the Susquehanna River. Lina teaches oil painting at the Carlisle Arts Learning Center. For more info, read All the World’s a Stage.


Back Stage: The Gang’s All Here

The unsung heroes of art institutions in the area are what keep the wheels of art in motion and the glue that makes it stick. Art Association of Harrisburg (AAH) includes Randy Miller, webmaster design, Crista Sanfillipo, gallery assistant and drawing instructor, Jonathan Frazier, gallery assistant and painting instructor, Nate Foster, gallery assistant, drawing instructor and new father, and Paige Colditz, gallery assistant. Susquehanna Art Museum (SAM) is comprised of Tina Sell, director of education, Ross Tyger, director of the Van Go! Museum on Wheels and events manager, and Mark Bradshaw and Liliana Wara-Goss, visitor service managers. The Carlisle Arts Learning Center’s (CALC) team is made up of Amanda Kistler, administrative assistant, Maureen Madio, education director, Lauren Aungst, ceramics and youth programs, Savannah Manetta, CALC collaborative instructor and Tom Oakes, ceramic technician. Perry County Council of the Arts (PCCA) staff is headed up by Jasmine Coldert, gallery director, Leah Keilman, gallery manager, Missy Smith, communications director, Rachel Barron in charge of art and education, Kathleen Meglio, finance manager and Jacob Smith, gallery assistant.


Bob’s Art Blog Part II, The Year in Art is proudly sponsored by the Amie Bantz Show Live From State College

Art by Amie Bantz

Amie’s guests include a campus full of students at University Park to view her blockbuster exhibit, “Lunchbox Moments.” Artist Amie Bantz had more than a “moment” in 2021 as one of her pet projects Lunchbox Moments shared hundreds of them viewed by art patrons that flocked to the exhibit in August at the Carlisle Arts Learning Center. Now that 2022 has arrived, Amie has taken her powerful presentation on the road to State College at The Hub Galleries Exhibition Cases on main campus in the Robeson Gallery opening Jan. 26 and running through May 15. Highlights include the “Cases Reception” for the artist on Feb. 8 from 5 to 7 p.m. when you can meet and hear Amie discuss the evolution of the exhibit. From Feb. 9 to 11, she will lead workshops and presentations with students as well as members of the AAPI communities. The exhibit revolves around a wall of statements depicted on lunchboxes gathered by the artist from a wide cross-section of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. If you happened to miss the exhibit last summer, State College is a short road trip of 75 miles from Harrisburg, well worth the drive to view “Amie Bantz Presents: Lunchbox Moments: Seek Understanding. Share Stories. Stop Hate.” The lunchbox narratives provide storytelling at its best presented to “provide empowerment to marginalized voices in using a platform to raise awareness.” The project is presented in partnership with Adult Learner Programs and Services, Residence Life and the Sustainability Institute. Seven stars out of five; “A Must See Exhibit” (Art WRLD). We now return to our regularly scheduled feature.


The Merry Men of Millworks Manor

The gentlemen artists of Millworks are, in a “manor” of speaking, an eclectic group joined by the common thread of manhood. In an ongoing adventure from their studios, I met quite a group of interesting, innovative individuals.

Art by P.D. Murray

Starting with P.D. Murray, an expressionist painter of movable part works, he takes the notion of a “diorama” to extraordinary heights. His cross-cultural conversations involve a painterly patois all his own. Paul Gallo, one of the Seven Lively Artists, demonstrates why, with his dramatic, outsized oil paintings full of energy pulled from his orbit. John Davis, multimedia artist, is also the art gallery educator and visual art coordinator at the Milton Hershey School. He works in oils, acrylics, ceramics, mosaics and found object art. Caleb Smith, instructor of film and photography at Harrisburg University, captures photos on digital plate and is a driving force behind Moviate. Retired art educator, Richard Souders, is a photo realist of street scenes seen and snapped. Paul Vasiliades, portrait photographer of weddings, branched out to his newfound passion for expansive landscapes through his many travels. Paul Zemiatis and son, Alexander, create scents to soothe and surround one in olfactory pleasures with their Moonrise Candle Co.’s unique fragrances. The latest addition to this group of merry men are the HuckleBuckle Boys, Garrick Dorsett and Zack Rudy who expand their minds on a regular basis to reveal potent poster children of this world and certainly others. Monoprints are their latest offerings digitally or hand-cranked old school.


The Independents: Artists in Their Own Rite

Art by Jessie Waite

‘Dube, dube, do…what were the chances?’ Carlisle’s own “photographer-will-travel” used the Carlisle Arts Learning Center as her studio in mounting the one-woman show, “Dramatis Personae,” by Nicole Dube. The title is Latin for persons of the play and the exhibit explored the schism of self. The face we show the world each day may be far different than the one we hold inside that waits to come out. Dube dramatically captured the two sides to a ‘T’ for transcendent tableaux as we are all but actors on the stage of life. “I wish that I had Jessie’s girl”—Waite, Jessie is a girl –in fact, I happened upon her abstract art, Jessie Waite’s “Map to Somewhere” this summer on a drive with the top down. I took in the scenery from places found along the way in her vibrant art that was as varied in her paintings as the terrains they depicted. Jessie Waite gave me the map to somewhere special, and I never had to leave the comfort of my easy chair. “Suzanne takes your hand…” sang poet Leonard Cohen. The spelling changes ever so slightly to Susanne Robinson who is not only a congregant at Market Street Presbyterian Church but a fiber artist of great skill able to weave color and narrative content into her richly textured tapestries. As a member of Arts on the Square Gallery, which is the latest addition to Harrisburg’s gallery scene, Susanne’s works may be featured at shows periodically in the coming year. Her rug-hooking art must be seen to be fully appreciated.

“Walden Pond” is a historic landmark found in Massachusetts. Gail Walden Coleman is also an abstract artist but, up until this year, she felt there was one key thing absent from her paintings. By adding water, not from the pond, to the mix, she discovered what set her apart. A splash of H2O released the floodgates of fantasy found in color and context.

“All you need is love” could be photographer Kim Love’s Instagram handle but instead it is “exposure with light.” Ms. Love’s black-and-white photograph titled “Gratitude” added a special quality to the association’s walls for its juried show this summer. It would later be included in the city government’s exhibit of her photography, “The Forgotten City.” The exhibit runs through Jan. 31 at the MLK City Government Center.

Art by Stephen Haas

Stephen Haas turned the house upside down this summer and made it his own with a mural that hopefully will withstand the test of time. Stephen is a muralist, cartoonist and balloonist who flies to and lives on a planet entirely his own. He had a number of coups this year, including capturing the Broad Street Market design award for its T-shirt contest, but he outdid that with a room-sized mural of Calvin and Hobbes for a client. One can imagine Stephen echoing Calvin’s words, “It’s a magical world, Hobbes ‘ol buddy. Let’s go exploring.”

Remember Hailey’s Comet? Haley Harned, photographer and visual stylist, shot a still life image for TheBurg’s November cover and creates art for various publications that are instantly recognizable. She is a Savannah College of Art and Design graduate. Lucy Giboyeaux is a Puerto Rican sculptor, painter and multimedia artist who pays homage to her heritage and cultural customs through her work, including keeping the Taino language alive.

“Whiskey bartender,” Krissy Whiski, shared that 2021 proved challenging at times but still made quite a splash at the Art Association’s “Nothing Pretty” exhibit and even got to travel to deliver her paintings to her clientele throughout the United States.

Art by Jim Caufield

Read all about it! Harrisburg artist landed on the pages of the New York Times with his whimsical hand-wrought forest house, “Not Gingerbread,” made of twigs and found objects incorporating nature through his art as a board member of The Friends of Wildwood and “Art In The Wild.”

Julie Riker, aka “The Camp Hill Kid,” rode out of the West (Shore), to the AAH to kick off 2021 with sidekicks Maureen Joyce, Carden Holland and Peg Belcastro for the Art Association’s first show of the year, “Observations and Experiences” in January. Later in the summer, Julie unveiled a Camp Hill vintage-styled postcard mural for the borough, adorning the law firm of Reager and Adler on Market Street.



Art by Michael McCullough

“The Hills Are Alive With the Sound of Art…” close to the Mason Dixon Line, an annual art event every fall, in 2021 marked its 14th go-round of an open house art show in the Fairfield Valley. An eclectic 11 shared the stage by way of picturesque cottages, cabins and castles to Cashtown and points beyond. The Foothills Artists Studio Tour is led by its founder, Jack Handshaw, who brought together crafters, painters, sculptors, jewelry makers, potters a wood turner and fiber artist to amaze and astound visitors. Taking place over the weekend before Thanksgiving, this is a holiday open house you will want to mark on the calendar for next year. The artists Joh Ricci, Rod Stabler, Ann Rupert, Judy Pyle, Geoffrey Thulin, Laurie McKelvie, Geoff Grant, Anne Finucane and Michael and Sharon McCullough graciously set the table visually with a Thanksgiving dinner of art with all the fixings. Maureen Marks Art qualifies for the local “teacher of the year” as she completed another year of children’s art birthday parties and art classes for the younger set at her Linglestown studio. Maureen starts them off early at age 3 and even has adult classes for the kids at heart. Family paint nights are available for ages 8 and up.


On the Road Again: Millworks Redux 

Art by the HuckleBuckle Boys

Millworks artists took advantage of the glorious fall weather, anticipating the upcoming holiday season when they took their art on the road this year. Pamela J. Black was a featured artist at Nemacolin Luxury Resorts at their Laurel Lane Gallery located in Farmington, Pa. Her show, “Changing Seasons,” was a highlight for the resort’s holiday season. Reina Wooden (R76) headed off to the Steel City to show her abstract originals in Pittsburgh. The HuckleBuckle Boys Zack Rudy and Garrick Dorsett headed out on I-78 to Easton for a special reception and show featuring their “The Wandering Ox” at Hemlock Art Space and Gallery in the downtown district. Their one-of-a-kind art was appreciated by an urbane crowd of hipsters.



It’s Your Thing

Millworks art director, Tara Chickey, orchestrated The Odd Ones Bizarres throughout the year and the indoor show, held Thanksgiving weekend, played to a packed house of patrons. Lined up, the love was obvious for all the odd ones that inhabit the Millworks studios and what they created. La Cultura continued its venue of variety, opening its doors consistently throughout the year for creatives, artists, poets, businesses and entrepreneurs to showcase their special events. Elyse Irvis continues to hold and highlight what is timely for the city’s professional needs. One such business, Vintage Wasteland, takes advantage of La Cultura’s vantage point with access to shoppers looking for retro clothes, accessories and special finds on a regular basis. Fashionista Jazmine Soberanis is a leader locally in “thrift resale” for the stylish public.

Owner Makayla Burton of Derry Street’s art gallery and ice cream coffee shop, The Tiger Eye, recently adjusted the shop’s hours to take advantage of art patrons coming out on the weekends for fresh jewelry, paintings, home fixtures and more. The art is featured on a rotating basis from her sweet roster of artists that rival the temptation of her Hershey’s ice cream choices.

Instagram handle “dirt petal”…an advice column for the followers of organically dyed wearable goods features the work of Jovana Sarver. Her galaxy of glamorous botanicals blossoms on her creations. Dear Miss Petal, please advise.


And that’s the year in art!

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