Viewing art of any kind is known as a relaxing and calming time. Not only is that opportunity coming up in the area, but also to view various types of art, with a heaping of local flavor.
Ten different local artists will display their latest work as part of the upcoming Mount Gretna Art Show, running from Saturday, August 20 to Sunday, August 21. The show will take place under the trees in Mt. Gretna. Each day goes from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
One of the featured local artists is Don Kensinger, of Mount Gretna, who will display stone artwork. Some of his work includes an electric lamp that goes through stone by using a cairn, which is a stack of rocks, along with electric that goes through the rocks. Next, Kensinger will have a nook-shook, a cairn made into the form of a human being.
It’s the second year participating in the show for Kensinger, who will also have garden torches, constructing them by taking pieces of granite or sandstone pieces with reservoir underneath that also light up.
“They can be used on coffee or end tables, or your patio or porch,” he said.
And finally, Kensinger will have stone tableaus displayed.
A reason Kensinger loves working with stone is simply because it's different.
“It’s using my hands and being close to nature. It’s a calming experience when you contemplate how many years it took to form the rock, especially the river rock,” Kensinger said, who’s originally from Blair County. “To work with that to make something that hopefully people will appreciate and enjoy is very special.”
He first got involved in the art show just from taking a chance, and from that point on, Kensinger has been pleased with the public’s response to his work.
“The first year I lived here was as a volunteer and I was booth sitter. Then I thought to apply and see if I would be worthy to get in, and been fortunate enough to be in the past two years,” Kensinger said. “I got a lot of positive comments and sales, and it’s nice whenever people who live in the community appreciate something you make. Hopefully I can enhance a part of their house with something I’ve made out of stone. It’s like leaving your mark in a very small way.”
Another local artist participating in the upcoming show is Gerry Boltz, of Cornwall, who’s been a wood carver since 1972.
This year, Boltz will have hand-carved song birds mounted on life-like pieces. He’s also introducing some new work, including a miniature flying snow goose – made by a pin in the wing that goes down into a branch as though its flying by – and a miniature great blue heron – but overall will have close to 40 birds for the show that are life-sized and miniature.
Boltz first got into wood carving while on a family vacation in the thousand islands.
“There was a river man next door to our cottage who made his own decoys while I was there. He brought out a piece of head blank and said to try carving it out while you’re here. I came with a duck head and then made a body out of it, then painted it crudely,” Boltz said, who’s originally from Lebanon and is a Lebanon High School graduate. “Grandpa saw it and wanted it, then my uncle asked for other works like that, and that got me started. I’ve also taken courses from world champion carvers to improve my skills.”
The show comes as nothing new for Boltz, having been involved since around 1976.
“It’s kind of like a reunion because we see a lot our friends and classmates from Lebanon High. It’s just fun,” he said. “You get a lot of people from out of the area, as well, and it’s fun to chat with them about birds and carving.”
But the satisfaction of people showing appreciation for his work never gets old.
“You always feel honored when someone buys a bird to put in their homes. I have birds from Maine to Florida, and some even in Europe,” Boltz said. “I’ve carved close to 1,400 pieces. It’s always a good feeling.”
Other artists participating in this year’s show are Suzanne Bruhn (fabric-fiber), Ryan Fretz (mixed media), Douglas Hain (metal), Brian O’Donnell (jewelry), Alan Resnick (mixed media), Frederick Swarr (mixed media), Jeff White (clay, porcelain) and Marie Wohlfahrt (mixed media).
This year's art show also includes popular street performer Jerry Brown - along with his monkey - as well as Trist 'N' Shout balloon artists and jugglers and a new display titled "Art with a Heart."
Admission is $12 for those 12 and over and free for children under 12. Free parking is available with shuttle service to the show. For more information, visit www.mtgretnaarts.com.