Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Local artists show ‘down under’

Artists Down Under fill empty space with creativity

Express Staff Writer

Shawna Ward and Marie Stewart, from left in the front row, and Eric Ward, Mark Sheehan, Donna Savage and Narda Pitkehtly, from left in the back row, are featured in the Artists Down Under in lower Giacobbi Square in Ketchum. Photo by Willy Cook

Since December 2010 the empty space in lower Giacobbi Square has been quietly filling up with business. It's not a new store, it's Artists Down Under.

A group of local artists have gathered their handmade creations and organized a collective artist space to sell art.

"Marie Stewart opened it in December," said painter Donna Savage. "It's her brainchild."

Savage said people and customers have found the space on their own, whether it's on their way to the rest rooms or out of curiosity to come down the stairs and see what's happening.

"It's all word of mouth," Savage said.

The opportunity to gather various artists together in one space has not only given them a place to sell their works, but prompted them to make new friends.

"There's a great energy down here," Stewart said. "The space also has the potential for events."

The collection of art ranges from acrylic paintings and acrylic painting on clothing by Stewart in her signature Australian style to handmade furniture from reclaimed Wood River Valley wood by Eric Wood. In addition, Gordon Wood and Todd Kaplan have photography on display and Narda Pitkethly has an array of hand-blown glass items. Also included in the space are metal sculpture by Mark Sheehan, ceramics by E.J. Harpham, jewelry by Libby Massey, photography by Julie Pendelton, stone and metal planters by Mike Baldwin, prismacolor pencil drawings by Brentano Haleen, gourd art by Rachel Broderson and chests by Jeff Sewell.

Opening Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the artists take turns working in the space for each other educating, meeting, greeting and selling art. In the summer, the plan is to have the space open seven days a week.

"It's a great mix," Savage said. "It's a great art location because it has a warehouse feel. You can see everything."

All the artists said they could not do this if it weren't such an affordable situation.

"We're just paying a percentage of our sales instead of rent so it really works," Kaplan said. "I've gotten exposure and people have asked me for photographs. It's a good tradeoff."

For details on becoming part of Artists Down Under, call Marie Stewart at 788-4833 or e-mail

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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