By Vicki Clark
The Gila Pueblo College art class, also known as ‘ArtUs,’ is returning to The Little Gallery in Kearny for its 9th annual show with an opening reception Sunday, April 7, from 2 to 4 p.m. The exhibit is hosted by the Church of the Good Shepherd and will remain in The Little Gallery until May 9. The reception is open to the public and refreshments will be served.
This annual event showcases a group of Copper Basin area artists who for the most part have been together for over 16 years. Although sponsored through the college, ArtUs is more than just a class, according to Patricia Lewis, who is the instructor, and mentor of the group. “We share and care for one another and it shows in the work that’s accomplished, she said.” All work on display is new and has been completed within the last year.
The group is made up of people from Dudleyville to Riverside, and all points in between, including Kearny and Hayden. All the artists started their journey into the creative world in much the same way, a classroom situation and a dream. Several winter visitors are also part of the group.
Artists in the group are free to explore whatever subject matter and medium that interests them and the results are spectacular according to Lewis. Mostly the group works in oils, but oil pastels, acrylics, water color, pencil and charcoal are also included. And this year gourd painting, woodworking and a special quilting aspect will be added.
Exhibitors are from all walks of life, age groups, and levels of experience and offer an unique look into what can be accomplished when people who share the same interest get together and do what they love.
Students studying, associated, and/or showing with the group this year include Lina Cruz, Cobina Martinez, Darlene Dull, Gary Hill, Ellen Endsley, Vicki Clark, Frankie Olmos, Elly John, Richard Olejniczak, Sam Hosler, Guyrene Ward, Peg Middleton, Joyce Palmer, Donna Gennicks, Carol Hosler, Nancy MacClennen, Becky Drew and Joan Hill.
“Pat” Lewis holds an Art Education Masters degree from Arizona State University and has taught painting, drawing and design at both the elementary school and college levels. She is an artist in her own right who has worked in several mediums.
Lewis says she loves teaching above all else she has ever done. She especially enjoys working with this group. “Everybody just continues to produce, it’s really exciting,” Lewis said. “Many of the artists have stuck with me for a long time…we have some leave and then we have new comers…who settle in and become part of the whole artistic atmosphere.
“The main theme I stress is not to be afraid, go for it, if it doesn’t work out, you can always hide the work under your bed.” Lewis said. “That rarely happens…we really have some wonderful talent.”
The show can be viewed after the opening on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. or by request by calling Sam Hosler at 363-9781. The Little Gallery is located next to the Church of the Good Shepherd on Senator Chastain Street in Kearny.
The church compound also offers a spectacular walking experience through The Little Garden. Paths lead walkers through the desert around the church with amazing views of the mountains in the distance and the valley surrounding the Gila River below. This time of the year the desert is alive with the beauty of spring and the walk is very rewarding. The Little Garden is always open.