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Local Artists to Display at Fifth Third Center

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The lobby of Fifth Third Center in downtown Dayton will soon be adorned by the digital photography of Gina Duncan and the hand-crafted gourds of Judy Riesser. The Miami County residents will be the featured artists, April 1-30, 2013, at The Gallery at Fifth Third Center, One South Main Street, Dayton, Ohio. (Third and Main Streets).

The artists will host an Opening Reception from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., Friday, April 5, 2013, in the first-floor lobby in conjunction with the Downtown Dayton First Friday art hop. Light hors d’oeuvres will be provided by Greenfire Bistro of Tipp City. Enter through the Third Street entrance or the Ludlow Street Parking Garage (parking will be validated.) In addition to the reception, the exhibit may be viewed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays through Fridays and 8 a.m. to Noon on Saturdays, April 1-30, 2013, in the lobby as well as the Second Floor Gallery near the parking garage access.

Duncan, of Troy, and Riesser, of Tipp City, have been friends for about 20 years and are both charter members of Tipp City Area Arts Council. (TCAAC) “It was only natural,” Duncan said, “to include Judy in this exciting venture.” Duncan received a call in 2012, from the Fifth Third property management firm regarding the display. “It was very rewarding that a member of their firm had seen my photography in another venue and recommended me for the 2D display.” Duncan had first seen Gourd Art by Judy at the Tipp City Farmers’ Market and knew the decorative pieces were the perfect 3D complement to exhibit in the gallery showcases.

Duncan turned a 25-year hobby into a web-based business in 2008, when she founded Believe Photography & Fine Art. In addition to Internet sales (www.BelieveFineArt.com), she also displays her matted and framed photographs, gallery-wrapped canvases, ArchiTEXTure Name Frames and more in a number of Miami County establishments, at regional art shows and competitions. She annually launches young shutterbugs into the world of digital photography during a summer student enrichment program sponsored by TCAAC.

Photo note cards and gift sets are also available for purchase, Duncan said. “I am on a mission to reestablish the handwritten letter. Compare Grandma’s hatbox, brimming with personal letters, filled with family history and anecdotes to a disorderly pile of misspelled, grossly abbreviated e-mail messages. Which would you rather discover in your attic one day?”

Riesser, a former junior high art teacher, paints in acrylics, paints scenery and murals and is currently taking lessons in watercolor from fellow artist, Rusty Harden. She said she was inspired to broaden her skills to include gourd art five years ago upon observing a beautifully bejeweled gourd housed in a glass box at a festival in Sedona, Arizona. “The jewels” Riesser said, “were worth thousands of dollars.” Riesser thoroughly enjoys creating her own line of fine art gourds, but explains that her jewels come from Hobby Lobby craft store.

According to Riesser, gourds have “become the canvas for creating new art pieces using leather dyes, inks, acrylics, oils, pencils, and pyrography, a form of wood burning.” Inlays, such as feathers, metals, weavings, clays and natural fibers also add to the enrichment of the gourds. Many techniques typically used on canvas can also be used in gourd art. Gourds are carved, sanded, filed and sawed into beautiful and unusual shapes.

Riesser said she orders gourds from, California, Arizona and Pennsylvania, as well as, New Baltimore, Ohio, where she has partnered with a grower whose sole objective is to harvest the seeds. Though many people think of birdhouses when they consider gourd art, Riesser describes her art as “birdhouses and beyond.” She has enriched her interest, her abilities and techniques by attending a number of workshops and festivals across the country and is a member of Ohio Gourd Society and National Gourd Society. Reisser said that sales from the summer Farmers’ Market helped to fund her recent mission trip to Guatemala.

Contact: Gina R. Duncan at GDuncan@BelieveFineArt.com