Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Gallery Opening: In Review

Last Friday, October 9th marked an evening of mingling with a downtown block chocked full of people. Over 400 people attended the collection of open houses hosted by some of the thriving organizations and businesses located near the corner of Plymouth's main street, Michigan Street and Garro Street.

New to the block is an up and coming art gallery. For the past few weeks, the store front windows have been covered with white paper that read, “Are You IN? Opening October 9th.” And, according to the droves of people who attended this gallery's opening, it is safe to say that many people here in Plymouth, Indiana are indeed “IN.”

This art gallery removed the paper covering its large windows facing Michigan Street to unveil its new identity to the public during this inaugural reception. The name for this gallery is inSPIRATIVE and it is as unique as the style of work that is showcased and performed in this new venue. inSPIRATIVE will present exhibits from visual- and performing artists.

Gallery director and owner, Angela Leed has had a vision for a growing art community for the past several years. Two years ago, while finishing her graduate study at Bowling Green State University, Angela was driven to return to her hometown area to develop her dream. She moved back to the area with her husband and two daughters and immediately began embarking on her new adventure. Husband Mark Leed has been instrumental in helping her vision come into reality with not only his investment management services but his spousal support.

As a college instructor at both Bethel College and IUSB, Angela wanted to reach out to creative minds of all ages. In the fall of 2008, she started on a new venture and launched Imaginary Art School. Located in one of the upstairs studios at 203 N. Michigan, she has been leading art classes for children ages 5 – 12. Fall classes are currently being offered and her students had an opportunity to share some of their masterpieces during this past Friday night of open houses.

The main artist showcased in the inSPIRATIVE's gallery was Joshua Hozey. His colorful acrylics filled the exposed bricks in this new art space with pictures detailing imaginative stories and expressions all framed and still for the guests to enjoy and purchase like hot cakes.

In addition to the Imaginary Art School's and Josh's exhibits were some of Angela's nationally recognized works of art. Engaging at first glance, examine the story behind the works of art and your appreciation and interest instantly spikes. For many years Angela worked in manufacturing plants of northern Indiana and became fascinated with the conflict between mass production and humanity. As she matured and developed as an artist, she wanted to capture this conflict within her artwork. The process is far from simple as she builds sculptural still lifes from industrial materials, such as wiring, construction fencing or black tire scraps and then uses them as reference for her pastel on paper work. Her creative approach to these hard manmade materials results in a soft, elegant, breathtaking perspective. The movement and color are organic and free flowing and encompass the softness and elegance of humanity.

These works have traveled to New York City, Chicago. Angela's most recent work will be on display at the Midwest Museum of Art, Elkhart, 31st Elkhart Juried Regional Exhibition, Nov. 6 – Jan 3.

Angela has received honors such as the distinguish Medici Circle Leadership award, The Leila Gardin Sawyer Award, The Pastel Artists of Hawaii Award, amongst many others.

As the inSPIRATIVE continues to open its doors to inspire and share the arts from the center of downtown of Plymouth, the community can enjoy the synergy built from its neighboring creative organizations and businesses.

The cornerstone of this growing art phenomenon stands the Heartland Artists. This non-for-profit organization hosted its 21st Annual Juried Heartland Artists Regional Art Exhibit during the evening hours last Friday. The Sisters' Tea Eatery extended their hours to invite guests to an herbal tea and scone tasting. Another existing business, the Herb Store opened its doors to welcome guests to their newly expanded store. A new business, The Midas Center opened its doors for the first time in Plymouth. The Midas Center is a full service communications agency relocated from Chicago. Guests were encouraged to interact from one entry area to another, enjoying the live music by Jim Valez and food and beverages provided by all the open house hosts.

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