A Lovell woman was recently selected as the second local artist to be featured at the new Gestalt Studios of Powell through the new civic studio award program.
Bobbie Brown will paint and draw for one month starting April 6 at Gestalt Studios, located at the former Powell Polar Plant, 440 W. Park St.
Brown explained that owner Erin Johnson opened Gestalt Studios as a creative space for artists, musicians and anyone else who enjoys a creative atmosphere.
Johnson and her daughter, Kellyn, have converted the former Polar Plant building into a combination studio, store and coffee house. Brown said the Johnsons built a shell into the front room with seven stations for artists around the perimeter. Each station can be rented for $75 per month, and the station comes with a pull-down “Murphy” table with storage space in the wall behind it. When an artist is finished working for the day, the table can be retracted into the wall.
Two of the spaces are reserved for the civic awards, Brown said, typically Northwest College students who are honing their craft.
“It’s their way of giving back to the community, and it also gives people something to look at when they come in,” she said. “I get the use of a station for about 12 hours a week. I basically work on my art, and people look over my shoulder.
“The Gestalt Civic Studio is our way of reaching out to budding artists in our community,” a Gestalt explanation of the program reads. “Our hope is to help these students become more involved in the arts in our area. We see art as a public function – a civic function.”
The first civic award went to Brandi Seeley of Powell, and the second awardee is Brown, currently an art student at NWC.
“I’m on my second childhood,” she said.
Brown said she has been drawing all of her life – both graphite and pen and ink — and started painting with watercolors two years ago via a class at NWC, and she also took drawing classes to improve her technique. She is taking an oil painting class this semester and loves it, she said.
“I like to draw people,” Brown said. “I paint landscapes and people. I’m taking up oil painting this semester and it’s taking off quickly.”
During her time at Gestalt Brown said she’ll do portraits and may “slip in a landscape or a still life.” She’s been copying the masters during class and is now moving into live models, planning to ask family members and friends to pose for her during her time at the studio.
“You might warn people,” she said. “If they walk in and hold still, I’ll draw them.”
Gestalt Studio is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, and in addition to being a working studio Gestalt is also a coffee house featuring coffee, tea, soup, desserts and hand pies similar to a pasty.
In the center of the front room is a sales center where artists can purchase supplies – everything from charcoal and paint to canvasses and easels. It’s a child-friendly environment, she said, with toys and a dollhouse in the back room.
There’s also a weekly jam session for local musicians every Friday night and a poetry reading on the second Wednesday of every month. A writing workshop is planned.
By David Peck