A member of the artists’ guild exhibits at the Stanardsville train station | Lifestyles

Submitted by Chee Ricketts, Board Member of the Art Guild of Greene

The Art Guild of Greene is pleased to announce that member artist Sara Gondwe is the first exhibitor to hold a solo exhibition at Stanardsville Station, 126 Main Street. Gondwe’s vibrant and expressive abstract compositions will adorn the walls during the months of April and May.

Born in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, Gondwe now lives just north of Charlottesville, having moved to the area nine years ago. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in philosophy and education and spent most of her professional career in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where she was a K-12 reading specialist. . Her commitment to education was so strong that she started the first Gettysburg Literacy Council, hosting her in her home. While working with the Council, Gondwe used art projects with immigrants as a method to foster language skills.

Retiring from teaching allowed Gondwe to pursue her passion for creativity. Entirely self-taught, she began to paint. Inspired by a first grade teacher’s melted crayons project, she embarked on an experimental journey working with the crayons used by elementary school children.

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Gondwe’s process is fascinating as she uses no brushes in her paintings, which are done on a wide variety of surfaces (wood, canvas, metal, glass, fabric). Instead, Gondwe offers a collection of different types of irons, each with a different texture. She uses the flat surfaces of the irons to melt and blend pencils and she creates smaller details using the sides and tips of the irons. Embedded in the surfaces, one can discover many “found” objects, from safety pins to beads and small toys. Recently, Gondwe has started using metallic fabric paints and nail polish to embellish certain images.

Gondwe considers her process to be meditative and she says that when she paints, all her worries disappear. She prefers painting in series on related subjects and is “famous” for her whimsical “zebra trees” and paintings of fish. Having spent several years in East Africa as a young adult, she continues to be heavily influenced by the rhythms, bright colors and patterns evident in African culture.

A member of The Art Guild of Greene, Gondwe is also an active member of BozArt Collective, a group of artists from Charlottesville and the Fluvanna County Arts Council. She was recently included in a group show at the McGuffey Art Center and has had solo shows at Martha Jefferson Hospital and the Albemarle County Library, as well as PA and Medicine. His paintings have received major accolades including Best in Show at the Fluvanna County Arts Council Annual Exhibition, Artists’ Choice at Luray with the Shenandoah Valley Council, Third Place at the Fredericksburg Center for Creative Arts National Juried Exhibition and many honorable mentions.

Stanardsville station is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. All are welcome to stop for a cup of coffee, use the internet or visit friends. Sponsored by the Stanardsville United Methodist Church, the facility’s daily host is church volunteer Joel Warren. The church holds classes and Sunday school meetings in the building, and community groups are welcome to register to hold meetings in the spacious, bright rooms.

Throughout the year, the Art Guild will continue to sponsor the exhibitions of its member artists. The Guild also initiated a plan to hold quarterly meetings in conjunction with the art exhibits at the Station. Guild members can meet Sara Gondwe in person at the Guild’s annual meeting, which will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 1 at the library. The guest speaker will be Mike Ryan, and he will share his experiences as a graphic artist who designs US postage stamps and other official logos.

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