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Balloon-themed fall exhibit at ArtWorks

By Jasmine Willis

DANSVILLE — The Fall Juried Art Exhibit took on a balloon-theme this year to partner up with NYS Festival of Balloons.

Dansville ArtWorks will showcase the exhibit from Aug. 29 until Oct. 26 with the following artists; Syrena Carver, Deborah McAfee and Ed Barlak, Jeff Miller, and Nastya Vishnevska.

Melissa Gartz has some of her work on display to showcase the Friday Painting Parties.

Dorothy Hotchkiss and Salome Farraro teamed the organizations together for this exhibit. PHOTOS BY JASMINE WILLIS

There will be about 15 pieces on display in the storefront for the upcoming Upcycle Auction in October.

McAfee said she normally works with taller pieces, but she wanted to do a smaller piece for this exhibit.

“We thought about a rhyme with the little girl holding her balloons watching the hot air balloons in the sky. I put waterfalls in there since we are known for having many waterfalls in this area. I have always loved working with wood,” she said. “I painted each wooden piece and we put them together. Ed asked to help me this time. I normally do these on my own. I told him he could help me sand and make leaves.”

Deborah McAfee and Ed Barlak worked together on this unique piece. PHOTOS BY JASMINE WILLIS

McAfee added she hopes to do a much bigger project with Barlak for the Inspiration Trail coming up.

“We want to do things to bring people down to Main Street. We hope to do a much bigger project for the town for the Inspiration Trail,” she said. “I was happy we did the balloon-theme this year for the fall exhibit. You don’t see a lot of paintings of balloons like this online. We wanted to do something different. We are glad we finally got to do this.”

Barlak said the piece was all McAfee’s vision in her mind, and he was glad to be able to help.

“It was all her vision in her mind. It was neat to see the wood become this amazing work of art. We had fun with the little balloons. I had a lot of fun sanding,” he said.

Carver said she likes to make things unique for the exhibit.

“The beach one was inspired by me dreaming of returning to vacation. We went to the coast for vacation recently. The alien one I did for fun to do something unusual. It is the Martians first flight,” she said. “I never seem to be part of the crowd, and I am always going against the grain.”

Carver said she enjoyed the balloon-theme since they are more of a challenge to do.

Syrena Carver loves to make something unique and unusual. PHOTOS BY JASMINE WILLIS

Dorothy Hotchkiss, NYS Festival of Balloons committee member said she loved having art brought into the festival.

“It is very nice for us to have art brought into the festival. We love how the community has responded to our festival. Our hot air balloon festival is a natural thing for this community. We have hopes to expand. We want to thank Dansville ArtWorks for having this balloon-themed exhibit this year. We love including art this year,” she said.

Salome Farraro, Dansville Artworks board member said several from both committes were in charge of picking the Best of Show this year and the honor went to Jeff Miller.

“I want to thank everyone for contributing. It might be a small exhibit, but it is a very colorful and vibrant exhibit. This is so much of what Dansville is about. It is a big piece of history and life in Dansville. We thank everyone for contributing,” she said. “Encourage people to come and visit and take a look at all of these pieces.”

Jeff Miller won Best of Show for Balloon Glow. PHOTOS BY JASMINE WILLIS

Miller said the winning painting came from a photo taken at a Dansville Balloon Glow many years ago.

“I had the photo in previously for another exhibit, and I wanted to put it in again. I decided to paint the image in the photo and there were a number of challenges in doing it. I have another one I finished last year with the art festival. The third one I finished in the summer. My next couple paintings I would like to do are another balloon glow and a close up of the balloon festival,” he said. “I like that I got Best of Show. It is the first award I have ever gotten here, and I have been submitting art here for a long time. It is nice to get one. It took me about 20 years to master this kind of style of art. I use a pallet knife instead of a brush to add the texture. The artists (Vincent) Van Gogh and (Claude) Monet inspired me.”

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