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Antietam Ironworks to Host Pop-Up Art Gallery

Lin Henry wears many hats. She's an art lover, retired school teacher, businesswoman, environmentalist and an advocate for McConnellsburg's "Main Street."

"I taught school in this town for 35 years and never gave one thought to it prior to opening a business here. Now I'm of the firm belief that we need a healthy, strong, Main Street," said Henry, who operates "Tickle Your Fancy Gifts and Tea," from a historic 1899 building located at 110 Lincoln Way West. The business was once home to a tin shop and is maintained by her landlord Glenn Cordell, who renovated the Fulton House, a local stone tavern built in 1793.

One day when Lin was viewing her cousin's collages, her thoughts turned to the local art scene and what she could do to promote talented area artists. Her vision soon morphed into reality with a project that would tie her love of art, Main Street and historical properties into one nice, neat little bow called "The Second Story."

Enter Antietam Ironworks

"My cousin David Henry creates beautiful and unusual landscapes by painting pieces of paper. I wanted a place to share David's work and as I looked around McConnellsburg, there was no space that seemed appropriate, until I saw the second story of Antietam Ironworks," said Henry.

Located along the Lincoln Highway at the intersection of First Street, Antietam Ironworks hand forges wrought iron railings, fences and gates at the old Sagner building, which was purchased by Fred Gunnell. Gunnell ran the company until his passing two years ago. Today, Fred's wife, Kathleen, continues to manage the building, which was once a sewing factory, a dog food factory, then a space where they made harnesses for aerial lifts, according to Henry.

"It had a lot of lifetimes," said the businesswoman, who enlisted her husband Johnny Greathead, to help renovate the second-floor space. "We knew we were working with many limitations. It's on the national registrar of historic spaces and didn't have lighting and modern conveniences, but in the end it worked out very well," said Lin, adding that people now remark on the beauty of the space.

From Pop-Up to Permanent?

Henry said she would love to see more artwork featured in the re-purposed space now that it has been renovated into a beautiful backdrop. However, with many such endeavors, the key to continuing the momentum is through funding, which is often scarce, but Henry says she is optimistic as she looks towards the future.

"Fred Gunnell always had a dream of having something wonderful here and there's such a fabulous feeling about this space; I'm hopeful that when the exhibit concludes that it won't be the end. In the meantime, however, we're going to have a very nice show featuring eight very talented people," she said.

Participating artists

The eight artists whose works will be featured include:

• James Gunnell, who operates the business Antietam Ironworks, will be showing some of his traditional and creative works in functional iron. View his website at antietamironworks.com.

• David Henry, who spent most of his life in Harrisburg, moved into a remote log cabin close to Sinoquipe Boy Scout Reservation two years ago. He enjoys landscape painting in oil and abstract painting in acrylic. He creates "painted paper collages" by repurposing junk mail into landscapes. James prefers "En plein air" painting and has studied landscape painting for 11 years with JD Wissler, a well-known Lancaster-based landscape painter and teacher. He has been a member of the Seven Lively Artists since 1996 and is an active member and supporter of the Art Association of Harrisburg.

• Dee Henry currently teaches in the Central Fulton School District and in 2010 was chosen as "artist in resident" for the month of July in Acadia National Park in Maine. She exhibits her paintings in many local and regional shows and maintains a blog of her artistic endeavors at deejhenry.blogspot.com.

• Tom Duffey specializes in watercolor, painting landscapes inspired by his travels. The retired high school history teacher and Pennsylvania historian operates Towne Framing, located a block from Antietam Ironworks.

• Anne Gobin specializes in portraiture and still life and has been conducting private art lessons since 1980. Anne takes on commissioned work as well. She considers herself an "evolving artist," who is always striving to sharpen her skills by painting with others, taking workshops and teaching.

• Linda Mosemann specializes in landscapes and pastels. The retired elementary teacher and Penn State graduate majored in art education and organized arts festivals for young children. Linda also submits her work for competitions hosted by the Cumberland Valley artists at the Washington County Museum of Art and the Franklin County Art Alliance.

• Sandra Barton works in watercolors and is known for portraits and landscapes inspired by her travels. She lives in the mountains of Fulton County and has created art for as long as she can remember, citing her elementary art teacher as one of her earliest influences.

• John Himes is currently teaching sculpture, stone carving and stained glass at the Community College of Baltimore County. John will be sharing his collection done in alabaster, marble, soapstone and Douglas fir.

• Fulton County Barn Quilt Group will show several of their large, hand-painted barn quilts and will be on hand to share information with those who may be interesting in participating.

IF YOU GO

"Second Story"

WHAT: Works by eight Fulton County artists, plus wooden quilt blocks destined for the county's Frontier Barn Quilt Trail.

WHEN: July 10-12, 17-19 and 24-26

HOURS: 6-8 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays and 2-4 p.m. Sundays.

WHERE: Antietam Ironworks, 201 Lincoln Way West, McConnellsburg

WEBSITE: antietamironworks.com

NOTE: Children must be accompanied by an adult. The gallery is on a second floor accessed by stairs with substantial railings.

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