WHITE MILLS - The world was given a chance to discover the artistic talents of the youth in the region a few weeks ago. At The Art Factory of White Mills January 13, teenage artists from Western Wayne, Honesdale and Wallenpaupack high schools displayed a number of their works in various mediums for the third High School Emerging Artist Showcase.

The showcase started when Jerry Davis who is the owner of the gallery, wanted to reach and build the local “art community” by introducing The Art Factory to the public, he said. By having a student showcase, Davis hoped people would realize what is available at the gallery that he opened with his wife Cindy, after working in the electronics industry for years.

Before opening the gallery, Davis first discovered the joy of art from the stained glass he made. In the gallery some of his work is on display, with one consisting of 600 pieces done in Tiffany style. Davis said he like glass because the pieces can be simple or quite “complicated.”

‘Like we’ve got to do this’

Although he never took any courses, today Davis teaches classes for stained glass, which are just a few of the many lessons happening at the factory. While seeking quiet in the countryside, “by accident” Davis said he found the factory in White Mills. Originally from New Jersey, he called finding the factory “bizarre” because it was “like we’ve got to do this.”

Transforming a 104-year-old building into a gallery was a challenge, but also “interesting” said Davis, who laughed at what he and Cindy have done in a matter of six years. Aside from finding fun in stained glass, he also got involved in juried art shows where a panel of artists determine if artists are “good enough” to show.

With so much room in the factory, the couple decided to “build a gallery,” said Davis. Once pictures were posted to Facebook, the whole project just “exploded” with artists expressing interest and consequently, the doors to The Art Factory of White Mills opened August 2016 with 22 artists. Now, there are 62 artists with more than 1,000 pieces of art. Classes are happening and more are planned, but there is still “work to do,” Davis said.

Davis believes The Art Factory isn’t a typical gallery, since he is open seven days a week, has a different setting to work in and shows many forms of art that are primarily by local artists; but it’s a place where people can learn or teach by “trying to tap into their talents.”

Mostly local artists

Davis said he wants all artists at the factory, including teenagers, to “bring in new artists” and “promote the art.” As the only gallery he has built, Davis wants a place where people can see the skills of local artists through more than 1,000 pieces. Yet, he wants more people to show.

Most artists are local, but there are also some from the New York City area, including a photographer who has shot for Time Magazine. The local artists come from Wayne and Pike counties, but also across the border into New York. 

An artist, Davis said shows their talents in many ways, and shares their “inner feelings” with others by exposing them to “different aspects” of art. The number of area artists and their talents, Cindy called “mind-boggling.”

Through The Art Factory, Davis said he wants people to come and see what their neighbors might be able to do; yet they’re not aware of it. Prior to opening, Davis wasn’t aware of the many local artists, which he considers to be “unbelievable” because he’s only showing those who have visual art to present. Yet, there are many musicians in the area too.

Prior to the student showcase, Davis said he didn’t realize the talent students have. But now, he sees that the levels are “abundant and so fantastic.” The discovery is a “pleasant surprise” that continues.

The number of persons who feel they aren’t artistic and yet, after they take part in a class end up discovering skills they didn’t realize they had, is “amazing.” he said. There was a student who had never painted before, but once she finished the four-week class, her work was worth hanging in the gallery.  

Set of teeth

Inspired by a fascination with teeth, Mikayla Schaefer literally painted a set of teeth that were on display for the High School Emerging Artist Showcase. A student from Wallenpaupack, Schaefer said it is how “symmetrical” teeth look, whether “nice or nasty” that intrigues her. Her concentration for the show was the human body. Rather than painting the teeth white, Schaefer decided to make them yellow, so they would look “nasty,” she said. 

Schaefer who has been painting for a few years, only recently started oil painting. She likes oil painting because the paint is wet longer and as a result, she has more of a chance to blend colors, which makes the work “a lot richer,” she said. When showing her art, Schaefer said she enjoys the responses she receives from people.

A sophomore at Honesdale High School Sierra Friscia, presented a few drawings, one that was a graphite drawing of an interior and exterior door. The graphite, she explained is specific to the type of pencil used to draw the image. An assignment for a class, Friscia used a grid to draw the piece. Rather than using a ruler, she said the grid allowed her to get more detail, and it was actually “easier.” 

Also on display, from a sketch in her sketchbook, Frisica painted “Black Eyed Susan” later adding yarn to the piece. Using watercolor, she said the piece was her favorite because of the textures she was able to create, due to the various techniques, she used.

Take you places

Art, Davis said, is important because it is a way for people to “express” themselves and a truly talented artist will “take you places you never dreamed of.”

The students’ pieces were judged, but not as if they were in a typical gallery. Instead, Davis said they were looking for art that had “feeling in it” and it had to portray the “artist’s ability.”   

Davis said he wanted to have students share their work because so many artists never get that chance to share. Because they are creative, their “excellent talent deserves to be seen,” he added.

For more information
The address for The Art Factory in White Mills is 736 Texas Palmyra Highway (which is Route 6). For more information about The Art Factory in White Mills visit https://www.theartfactoryofwhitemills.com/ or on Facebook.