Fraser St. Gallery celebrates one year of exhibits, cultural events

Fraser St. Gallery owner Margaux Wolszczan poses with the work of Georganna Lenssen, left, and a portrait she created, which are both part of the One Year Anniversary Celebration Show.
Fraser St. Gallery owner Margaux Wolszczan poses with the work of Georganna Lenssen, left, and a portrait she created, which are both part of the One Year Anniversary Celebration Show. Photos provided

Downtown State College’s Fraser St. Gallery celebrates its one-year anniversary this month with an eclectic show featuring artists from the area and beyond.

The festivities kick off Oct. 2 with an opening reception for the month long One Year Anniversary Celebration exhibition.

An ever-evolving space, the Fraser St. Gallery invites a creative dialogue between artists and community members through regular exhibitions and other cultural events. The gallery offers regular, monthly exhibitions throughout the year, with artist submissions always welcome.

“Art and the creative impulse have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember,” said Margaux Wolszczan, owner and director of the Fraser St. Gallery. “I live and love in full color, expressing it all on canvas.”

Wolszczan’s formal training began with a summer painting program at Parsons in New York, shortly after completing high school. Soon enough, she enrolled at Ringling School of Art & Design in Sarasota, Fla., where she received a bachelor’s degree in painting.

As she developed as an artist, Wolszczan began to explore gallery work. She trained for several years in La Jolla, Calif., followed by more gallery work in Center City, Philadelphia, after which she returned to State College, in search of a new dream — her own gallery.

“The story of the gallery really begins with my parents, with their belief in me and in this gallery dream I had been harboring for some time,” she said. “An opportunity presented itself a year ago, so we decided to push forward with the idea of a family-owned art gallery. We decided to take a gamble and jumped in, head first.”

When the gallery opened, the future was unknown and they had no idea how it would be received by State College residents. But Wolszczan is pleased that the community has responded with great positivity.

“I am so grateful for the support we have received this past year — it is truly heart warming and motivating,” she said. “I can only hope that we can continue to inspire people with the artwork we exhibit and the musical guests we present at the gallery.”

For the September exhibit, Wolszczan chose to go with a guest curator, Penn State School of Visual Arts assistant professor Brian Alfred, who selected 10 student works to exhibit at the gallery.

“My goal here was to engage the Penn State art community with the gallery,” she said. “The show was a great success and I hope to work with the Penn State community again in the near future.”

Over the course of the last year, the gallery has continued to evolve, showing artists from both the State College area and beyond. For the anniversary show, Wolszczan chose some very talented individuals, some local and a few from out of town as well. Artists featured in the show include Patrick Lee, from Pittsburgh, Georganna Lenssen, from Philadelphia and Molly Sprain, who hails from Wisconsin. Artists Elizabeth Parrish, Adrienne Waterston and Sean Bodley reside in the State College area.

Bodley is a member and instructor at the Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania in Lemont and the Bellefonte Art Museum. He is currently working on a year-long oil painting landscape series, “Capturing the Light of Central Pennsylvania,” which includes many plein air paintings of historic or uniquely local imagery.

Musical entertainment for the opening reception will be provided by Williamsport musician Sean Farley from 7-8 p.m. The show will consist of both paintings and sculpture. All artwork is for sale.

The gallery will raffle off donated gift cards and goodies from downtown merchants, and The Allen Street Grill will donate appetizers for the anniversary celebration.

Over the past year, Wolszczan has been very grateful for the downtown businesses that have sponsored their musical guests, whose performances have made their receptions lively. Those businesses have included Rotelli, Hotel State College, Artemis Massage Studio and Anthym Running to name a few.

“I also have to thank George Arnold for incorporating the gallery into the First Friday movement,” she said. “Our opening receptions have become a First Friday staple and we couldn’t be happier with the turnout.”