After an unfortunate closure lasting several months, Shippensburg Arts Programming & Education (SHAPE) held its reopening reception last Friday for the 15th Annual Membership Exhibit, “Perception: The Journey Of Our Senses.”

Many 2-D and 3-D pieces of creative works, including paintings, sculptures and photography, were scattered throughout the gallery to represent our five senses of sight, tough, smell, sound and taste.

A few artists set up CD players with headphones and cleansing wipes for protection for their pieces that represent sound.

Sense of touch pieces were designed with fabric.

Our sense of smell was awakened by pieces that depicted images of objects that onlookers could imagine in real life.

With limited attendance as recommended by CDC guidelines, SHAPE asked artists, members and guests to stagger their visit. Other safety precautions maintained were 17 stations of hand sanitizer and masks available for those who forgot theirs.

Marketing Director Suann Lehman curated the event, as well as submitted her artwork into the exhibit.

“We’re so excited to be able to open, that’s for sure,” she said. “The artists are so talented. The nice thing about doing this is every artwork piece has to tie back into one of our senses.”

“The thing that I love about this is that there are so many different types of mediums,” Lehman added. “There’s 3-dimensional, 2-dimensional and just a wide variety of art.”

In mid-June, a pipe burst in an apartment above SHAPE and hundreds of gallons of water leaked down into the gallery, which ruined the floors, walls and ceiling.

SHAPE is embarking on a fundraising campaign to raise $6,400 to cover the cost of the flooring in rooms that were not damaged by the water. The board wanted to replace the flooring in the entire gallery, so it was not mismatched. 

“This show was actually supposed to take place in May,” Lehman noted. “So, of course we had to close down because of COVID and then we had a water main break upstairs. We had to replace the floor, tiles, drywall and the ceiling.”

Volunteer Coordinator Diana Nazario noted donations and volunteers would tremendously help out the gallery.

“We are in desperate need to raise the money to finish paying for the floor, and the fact that we were closed for so long didn’t help,” she said.

A GoFundMe has been started to help SHAPE raise the funds for the floor repairs. To donate, visit: www.ShapeArt.org, and click the link “Floor for SHAPE” to visit the GoFundMe page.

Nazario added, “We are always looking for volunteers and there’s a link at: ShapeArt.org to click on and sign up, and we will let people know of availability on the calendar.”

The exhibit features some controversial pieces by Glenn Quader Sr. regarding chaos in the nation.

His painting titled “Abortion” represented the extreme amount of abortions that take place in our country.

“I am very opposed to abortion because I believe it breaks God’s commandment,” noted Quader. “Since 1973, when Roe v. Wade was approved, there have been 28 million abortions. That does not include abortions by rape, incest and birth defects.”

Another painting by Quader titled “Crooked New York” displayed the Statue of Liberty’s torch bleeding fire on its heart while a tsunami is rolling through.

Quader, who has painted for 50 years, is a longtime member of SHAPE.

“I’ve been a member of SHAPE for about six years now and I’ve done every members’ exhibit that they’ve had,” he said. “Once a year, they normally have an abstract exhibit and I do those, too.”

“I paint every day, and I produce 12 to 14 new oil paintings every year,” Quader added. “As a funny note, I have run out of walls in my house. I’ve got paintings all around the whole entire country including California, Arizona, Florida, Missouri, Wisconsin, Virginia, Maryland and many in Pennsylvania. That’s what happens when you paint for 50 years.”

Alice Armstrong and Barbara Miller visited the art gallery to indulge in the colorful work of the membership exhibit.

“We love it,” said Miller. “We come down here all the time when they are open.”

“It’s wonderful they’ve been able to open and we’re really glad,” Armstrong added. “We waited for this.”

Artists Mary Hickman and Pam Bartl were excited for the exhibit to take place.

“I think it’s great that they figured out a way to make it happen,” Hickman said. “I’m grateful to the people that got it together.”

“I’m a local painter,” she added. “I have a couple plein air pieces, which are painted outside, which would be local scenes. It’s always a good thing to get out and paint.”

“Suann Lehman has done a fantastic job today in organizing it, as well as Pamela Soaring Raven,” said Bartl. “They’re great people to work with.”

“It’s nice to have a theme for a show, too, especially a member show,” Bartl added. “It gives a focus so you don’t have as many things scattered. So, if you have a center point that you can work off of, it becomes a more structured show. It kind of gives the artists a challenge.”

“I am a weaver, a potter and a painter,” Bartl noted. “To have a gallery space like this in Shippensburg is unbelievable. It’s quite a lovely exhibition space and the work is fantastic.”

Hickman noted her thoughts on the artwork around the gallery.

“They fit the theme well and they’re all very interesting,” she said. “They are nice different types of work united by the theme.”

Board Treasurer and Education Coordinator Pamela Soaring Raven, who is also a SHAPE artist, noted her enthusiasm for the gallery to reopen.

“I’m just excited that we’re open again because it’s been a long journey, not only with COVID but with the water damage,” she said. “I’m excited to know that we’re back in business and to see what happens from here.”

Kathy Eddinger stopped in at the members’ exhibit to absorb the artwork.

“I’m glad that the reopening was a member show,” she noted.

Exhibiting SHAPE Member Artists:

Chuck Armstrong

Pam Bartl

Anne Cherry

Andrea Finch

Staci Grimes

Mary Hickman

J. Brandii Kligge

Devera Lang

Brenten Lehman

Suann Lehman

Roberta Lula

Jim Mackey

Carla Smith

Pamela Soaring Raven

Glenn Quader Sr.

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