New exhibit at the Community Arts Center a celebration of friendship, life, and art

By KATE SNYDER 

Community Arts Center 

The Community Arts Center’s newest exhibit started as a simple lunch among friends. Three Danville artists — Sarah Wiltsee, Donna Forgacs and Barbara Lockhart — would meet together for lunch and companionship, talking about life and art. 

“The last couple years have been challenging for all three of us,” says Wiltsee. “But it was cancer that bonded us. We became our support group, having lunch and just saying whatever we needed to say, knowing the time and space we shared was safe. As time passed, we realized that Barb was having a setback and we decided we needed something to plan for and look forward to.” 

Forgacs agrees and says, “We know that art is healing and the creation of art takes your mind off whatever is going on in life. The theme of color is cheerful, up-lifting, a way to brighten days. Preparing and meeting together was a way of supporting each other.”

The friends approached the Community Arts Center’s Creative Director Brandon Long, with the idea of a three-woman group show and he eagerly agreed. The resulting exhibit — Expressions in Color — will be on display at the Arts Center from June 1 through July 30. The exhibit showcases the unique styles and interpretations of its three artists and celebrates the friendship that they share.

Expressions in Color is sponsored by Community Trust Bank. Dave Maynard, President of the Danville Market, says “Community Trust Bank believes that investing in quality of life of our community is vitally important to the overall health and vibrancy of our community. We are proud to support this excellent exhibit that showcases the work of three of Danville’s finest artists.”

The three featured artists produced work in very distinct styles. Barbara Lockhart, who passed away in January, worked mainly with graphite, charcoal and pastel. Her subject matter varied, but horses had been a long-time passion for her and are the subject of her pieces in the current show. 

One of Lockhart’s pieces in the show is unfinished. She was working on it at the time of her passing. Long says this piece is one of his favorites. 

Barbara’s paintings of horses always seem so smooth and polished, yet they somehow have this great dynamic energy — almost as if you can see and anticipate the horse’s next move across the canvas.  In this unfinished painting, we are treated to seeing the sketch that lies beneath the final coats — and the energy is all there. You can see how she calculated the horse’s anatomy and how she captured all of the movement in these early stages of the work.”

Forgacs is a lifelong nature lover who captures and preserves its beauty through oil paintings saturated in French Impressionism. She bases her studio paintings on her own photographs or creates paintings “en plein air” to capture a scene before her while standing outside. Although deeply connected to her Kentucky heritage, Forgacs also paints scenes from her world travels, particularly France. In fact, the reception for the exhibit was scheduled toward the end of the show because Forgacs will be traveling in June.

Wiltsee is drawn to abstract artwork with vivid colors and different shapes. 

Wiltsee says, “For this upcoming exhibit I started out to paint different subjects or types of abstracts and after the first two I realized that I was painting only women. After some discussion with Brandon and the other two artists in the exhibit, I got the go ahead to just have women and make it my theme! Perhaps the pull to paint only women reflects on the journey we were taking as friends.”

Forgacs says that working collaboratively on a show brings a lot of benefits to the artists. 

“We care for, encourage, and support each other. Sometimes, producing that much creative work on a deadline can feel overwhelming. Or maybe you get stuck and run out of ideas. The others can cheer you on.” Forgacs says. “Preparing for the show has challenged me to work on large canvas. It was scary at first, but fun once I learned how.  It stretched me in a way that I would not have done on my own.  The large space can allow for more freedom of movement and expression.”

Long agrees. “I think the planning of this exhibit really pushed these artists to do their best.  I can see a lot of progress in their most recent works prior to this show. I see them taking greater risks and digging deeper into what makes their work unique while working together to make sure that the art works as a cohesive exhibit.”

Wiltsee adds, “Working on this show has been difficult, especially when we knew Barbara might not be there to see it. We discussed that possibility one day in December over lunch when Barb brought up that maybe we should get a replacement for her in the exhibit. We told her we started this together and we would end it together and that her art would be shown alongside ours regardless of what happened!”

Expressions in Color will be on exhibit at the Community Arts Center through the end of July. There will be an Artists Reception on 5-7 p.m. July 21, during which Wiltsee and Forgacs will each give away a small painting to one of the attendees.

Beginner Ceramic Workshops

Registration for each workshop is $30 per person and may be completed online at www.communityartscenter.net/ceramics-program

Lotus Candle Holder – Saturday, June 17 | 10am to 11:30am
Ceramic Woven Basket  – Wednesday, June 21 | 7:00pm to 8:30pm

Ceramic Wall Vases – Saturday, June 24 | 10am to 11:30am

Coiled Ceramic Vase – Wednesday, June 28 | 7:00pm to 8:30pm

Introduction to Wheel-Thrown Pottery

Thursdays, June 22 to August 3
7pm to 9pm | $120

If you’ve always wanted to learn to use a potter’s wheel, this is your chance! No experience necessary and registration is limited to 8 potters to allow for one-on-one instruction. 

Bookworms Art Camp – June 5 to 9

Rainforest Adventure Camp – June 12 to 16

Fabulous Food Art – July 17 to 26

Take Flight – July 24 to 28

Camps for rising 2nd through 6th graders

9am to 12pm OR 1pm to 4pm

$100 per camper ($125 after May 14)

Middle School Nerd Camp – July 28 to August 4

Rising 7th through 9th graders

1pm to 4pm

$125 per camper ($150 after May 14)

Mini Camp – August 7 to 11 – NEW SESSION

Rising kindergarten and 1st graders

$100 per camper

Starry Night Studio: van Gogh’s Starry Night
Tuesday, June 13 | 6:30pm to 9:30pm | $35
Don’t miss your chance to recreate the iconic masterpiece that inspired the Starry Night Studio painting workshops! Register online at www.communityartscenter.net