Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Excitement Looms, Art Gleams, Gallery Glows with Enthusiasm

Michele Craft with Bonnie Koenig paintings ©Mary Montague Sikes
Beautiful art enchants me. It always has. Enthusiastic people inspire me. They always will.

The Ward Center for Contemporary Art has both. On the second Friday for the Arts, that is evident. At mid-afternoon, artists begin to appear, bringing in new work, photographing their shows already hanging, discussing past events. Soon, musicians begin to wheel in instruments and set-up equipment. Caterers show up with their necessities for a successful Open House.

During the process, there are lots of smiles, especially from Michele Craft, the Center's events coordinator, and from Tammy Gray who is charming and enthusiastic as she tidies up the entrance and offers help where needed.

"It's just fun," Craft says. "Last opening I met so many people. Just love it." Born in Manhattan and from Rochester NY, Craft started working at the Art Center during the summer. She and her husband live in Petersburg.

Bonnie E. Koenig is one of the artists featured in the Grand Gallery during this Open House. A native of
"Responses to Nature" - Bonnie Koenig ©Mary Montague Sikes
Virginia, she finds her inspiration in the "intricacies and colors of nature and from natural formations." She loves beautiful landscapes and painted more traditionally early in her career. Some of her work now is from on-site compositions; other pieces come from an internal source.

Koenig uses unconventional tools such as kitchen spatulas in her mixed media paintings. She says that patiently layering colors "creates mood and place" in her work. They are lovely and thought-provocative works of art.

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