Carolyn’s Online Magazine (#COMe)
CONTE DESIGN LIFESTYLE GALLERY
DURING LIGONIER ART WALK 2016
Between 10:00 a.m. and 7:00 p. m. on May 28, 2016, the Ligonier Art Walk will feature Conte Design Lifestyle Gallery, SAMA, Allegory Gallery, G Squared Gallery, Lifestyle Gallery, Dovecote Ligonier, Jamie Cooper Gallery, & Studio and Maine Exhibit Gallery. An artist’s reception is scheduled 5-7 p. m. at Conte Gallery.
It took some kind of personal bravado for me to accept an invitation to participate in an art project, Ligonier in Person…a portrait series commissioned to American Post Pop Artist by the Conte Design Lifestyle Gallery, which would feature the work at the gallery during the Ligonier Art Walk scheduled for May 28, 2016, in Ligonier, Pennsylvania.
The artwork involved being up to 20 persons being photographed by John Ritter, an American Post Pop Artist currently living and working out of Ligonier.
I received the e-mail invitation to participate from a friend and Laurel Mountain Borough neighbor Elizabeth Fuchs. Her parents, George and Olive Conte, own the gallery, a family business.
Elizabeth explained: We were interested in displaying some of his pieces for the Art Walk and in the process of talking with him he presented an idea for a show. He would like to feature people of Ligonier by creating a wall of 20 portraits of people involved in the Ligonier community… Next to the portrait would be a short bio about the person.
I responded, asking if I was an appropriate person to be chosen. After all, I certainly don’t consider myself influential in this community.
Elizabeth corrected my reading of her e-mail, telling me she wasn’t looking for influential people. She wanted people who are involved in the community—which, when I checked, was exactly what the e-mail stated. My, what words we insert in communications when just skimming them! Or maybe it was wishful thinking on my part…
Yes, I’m connected to and involved in the Laurel Highlands/Ligonier Valley community through my writography—my writing and my photography. I facilitate the Foothills Writers group that meets at the Coffee Bean Cafe on Rt. 30 in Latrobe, and I’m a member of the Westmoreland Photographers. I have a connection with Southwestern Pennsylvania through these activities as well as my genealogy research, research on my novel-under-construction (She Saw Her Promised Land), and writing for local newspapers.
Elizabeth told me later she was seeking people she considered interesting, people who had a story. With that, Elizabeth convinced me to attend the March 10 photo-shoot.
I checked John’s website (www.ritterillustration.net) to see some examples of his work. Hmmm…
As reluctant and un-photogenic as I am—photographers usually detest being in front of a camera while they love being behind it— and as curious and hesitant as I was about what John might do with my photograph, I fearlessly stepped up to a seat and faced John’s camera, allowing him to shoot me under the Conte Gallery lights.
Then I boldly asked if I could resume my role as writographer, taking pictures and notes as John continued photographing other.
John Ritter accepted the commission from the Conte Gallery as a means to foster connection between diverse people through the arts. Subjects chosen were those who might not normally be seen—people with different backgrounds and experiences. He’d been spurred to this after seeing someone from Rolling Rock and a farmer without teeth in the same room.
In celebrating this diversity his hopes the people he photographed will gather in the same room.
John, an illustrator, lives south of Ligonier. He takes photos apart and rebuilds them, producing something that is formative to the subject of his illustration. The task takes 4-6 hours per photo.
TWO OF JOHN RITTER’S OTHER SUBJECTS
Ursula is the radio Voice of Ligonier. The radio station operates out of her home and threads through her life, as does the Ligonier Valley.
Chelsea met her husband on a small island while in the Peace Corps. Farming threads through her life. They lived in a local apartment when their 7-year old son took the family on a journey to buying a Ligonier farm—she said they grew into farm life.
She said Ligonier is an amazing place to be, but there is difficulty doing business if you don’t have generational knowledge of the locality.
I hope you can attend the Ligonier Art Walk 2016 and I invite you to make comments in the comment box following this article.