The SHAPE Gallery, known as Shippensburg Arts Programming and Education, is a gallery located in downtown Shippensburg. Known for its many gallery exhibitions and artistic education, SHAPE has been part of the local community for over 20 years.
His newest exhibition, “Alfresco: Open Air Photography,” debuted Jan. 14 and will run through Feb. 18.
With a wide range of photographers, Alfresco puts a lens around the real world and, as the name suggests, the outdoors. The exhibition features works ranging from urban sprawl to the rural hinterland. All photographers come from different backgrounds, from seasoned professionals using high-tech cameras to newbies using smartphones.
“We don’t hand-select artwork…we don’t judge at all,” said Joshua Rosetta, president of SHAPE Art. Since 2010, Rosetta has worked alongside dozens of artists who have come to SHAPE to learn and exhibit their work. Rosetta and gallery associate Tonya Sheaffer praised the SHAPE art program and its educational aspects.
“Here at SHAPE, if anyone has an idea — even if it’s crap — we encourage others to try it out,” Rosetta said. Shippensburg, like many small towns in the region, struggles to discover new works of art.
“It’s different when you go to DC or Pittsburgh or Philly or New York. You don’t have labels. When you grow students in areas where art isn’t as important, expression is not always taken into account,” he explained.
SHAPE has been one of the leading organizations fighting to rejuvenate art in the region. SHAPE offers a wealth of outreach resources such as summer camps, art classes, live demonstrations and art auctions. For young artists just starting out or those who want to continue honing their skills, the program works to fund art supplies to support students.
The gallery itself also offers an advantage; submission of artwork is free and has no additional requirements for entry. Matt Hathaway, a senior from Shippensburg University has never shown his work at SHAPE before. His works are now exhibited in “Alfresco”.
“Really, when I was planning this show, I had (Hathaway) in mind,” Sheaffer said. Young art students represent one of the greatest potentials to bring artistic culture to the city.
“The underground art world, even here, is very unique,” Rosetta explained.
SHAPE has continued to highlight the uniqueness and individuality that some student artwork brings to their doorsteps.
“It’s not always about what you can hang on the walls…it’s not always about the same mediums like photography or oils,” Rosetta said. “Sometimes it’s something completely unique. When we have completely different art, that’s what some people are looking for, that’s why we try to bring people from different cultures so that people in that area can be exposed to those different forms.
SHAPE has worked over the years to make the gallery a melting pot of different works and ideas. One of the most notable was an exhibition she curated in October 2019 called “Creature Feature: A Dark Art Exhibition,” which featured more surreal and macabre artwork than what one would usually see in a gallery. gallery.
Some of his exhibit ideas for 2022 include a woodworking-themed exhibit, a naturalist-themed exhibit, and an environmental impact exhibit. In all of these exhibitions, SHAPE is determined to further involve SU students.
“We really want to team up with the university to help students have a real experience with art…art is so unique to the individual, and the benefit now is spreading your work,” said Rosetta said. “It’s the perfect time for students to come forward. Really try to make those connections.
For more information on SHAPE programs or to become a member, visit the SHAPE website at shapeart.org.
The information is also available on the SHAPE Facebook page @ShapeArt for more details.