DANSVILLE — The local art center honored the Star Wars craze with an exhibit to interpret what space means to the creative minds in the region.


Dansville ArtWorks held an opening for the Space Exhibit on May 3 with Chewbacca and Darth Vader making a special guest appearance.

This was all to honor Star Wars Day on May 4th, but also the memory of the real Chewbacca, actor, Peter Mayhew, who passed away on April 30.


Dansville ArtWorks has an autographed Boba Fett Blaster by actor Jeremy Bulloch. You can enter to win it until June 29.


Nicole Alioto, Dansville ArtWorks board president, said the cash raffle is coming up soon as well. This is a huge fundraiser that will benefit Dansville ArtWorks and the Foundation of Dansville Education. These tickets are on sale now for $20 each and the theme this year is Picture the Future. It is Aug. 3 from 3 to 5 p.m.


Derek Wadsworth, Dansville Foursquare Church associate pastor, came dressed as Chewbacca to the special event. He recalled seeing Star Wars in the drive-in when he was a child.


“I wanted to help support Dansville ArtWorks. It is important to give people a place to come for art. It is important for students to have an outlet for art after they graduate from school,” he said. “ArtWorks has all different themes here that is beneficial to the community. Our partnership with them and the community center has been beneficial.”


Wadsworth said Alioto had provided an art class for the after school program at the community center once.


“We plan on hanging that art piece in our new daycare center once it is complete,” he said. “It is a really beautiful piece that several students worked on.”


Alioto said she gave the students a chance to choose a favorite piece to work on without knowing who the artist was, and they chose modern art piece by Brito.


“We had a lot of students working on the piece at once, so I had them each take one piece of the painting to work on. I separated all the pieces with thick outlines,” she said. “It really turned out amazing. They all did such a great job.”


Wadsworth said that having the art center in the community gives the youth a safe place to go for art and music. They have a chance to express themselves through several creative mediums.


Samantha Davis has been an artist most of her life, and for these exhibits she did two very large acrylic paintings on space.


“I like to do acrylic pours, but these are the largest I have ever done. I wanted to do pastels this time. They represent the galaxy to me,” she said. “My glass vase was done the same way, and it also represents the galaxy.”


Shawna Apps has an art business “Back to the Drawing Board” out of her home in York. This is something she had always dreamed about, and now has a customer following.


“I like to give myself a 23 day drawing challenge with family and friends giving me ideas. This one on display is of the starry night sky and trees. The first thing I ever wanted to be was an artist,” she said. “I have done a few festivals in the summer and fall, but I mostly stick to doing my art in my home. I have my kids who like to help out in the studio. I like to do drawings, paintings, and watercolors. Mostly I do animals and landscapes, but sometimes I will do portraits.”


Jeanne Gridley said Fairy Doors has gotten a new partnership with Rinker’s Readers.


“We have been reading fairy stories to all the classes at the Primary School in Dansville for Rinker’s Readers. We have given them color sheets to work on, so they can bring them back to us for their own book,” she said. “I asked them if they had their own fairy book what would it look like, and what would it be called? This encourages art, reading, and the imagination. They can bring them in through the month of May.”


Gridley said she is glad this new project is exposing young children to the Fairy Doors, but also allowing them to be in an art gallery on Main Street.


“I really love seeing how creative the kids get when they bring the color sheets in,” she said. “If we run out of books we will just get the names of the kids from the teachers and order more. It has been a really fun project to work on. We all benefit from this project by working together. I like that the kids will get to see their work on the gallery walls too.”


The Space Exhibit runs from May 2 to June 29. It showcases work from Nicole Alioto, Shawna Apps, Leanne Brewer, Samantha Davis, Christine Ferrigno, Mike and Jeanne Gridley, and Cris Riedel. Dansville ArtWorks is located at 153 Main Street. The hours are Thursday noon to 6 p.m., Friday noon to 6 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The next Open Mic Performing Arts Series is The Wray Boys Do Country on May 24 at 6:30 p.m. with open mic at 7:15 p.m.