BUCKHANNON — After many months of work and dedication, The Blaxxmith gallery opened July 16 to exhibit local artists’ interpretation of “Flying Too Close to the Sun.” The Grand Opening included a donation of artwork to the City of Buckhannon for all to enjoy.
Owner Tim Hibbs has been a working local artist for more than 20 years. Hibbs’ first art exhibit in Buckhannon occurred in 2001 at Aesop’s on Main Street. Since then, he has toured up and down the East Coast at juried fine art exhibitions.
After being shut down for over a year due to the pandemic, Hibbs relocated The Blaxxmith gallery to a more visible area on Main Street. This year, they also formed ‘The Infamous Art Collective’ in reference to a group of French Creek men who stood against slavery in 1856 and were labeled by the editor of The Herald, ‘The Infamous Nine.’ This is a grassroots movement and like ‘The Infamous Nine’, the collective group is full of skilled local artists who welcome diversity in the art community and their work.
Every month, The Infamous Art Collective is pitched a theme, which they then have roughly three weeks to interpret what that theme means to them. The first themed show, ‘The Importance of Dreams’ was held in 2017. Since then, the collective has explored thought provoking themes which produces a new gallery showing every month full of fresh, eye-catching art.
These events are always open to the public and free. Members Heather Coleman, Danielle Coleman, Stacy McLaughlin, Rachal Mercado, Julia Bettis, Jennifer Walsh, Ava Hibbs, Alice-Gervais, Jon Benjamin, Holt Thomas, Ryan Spangenberg and Tim Hibbs have submitted beautiful creations for the show.
During the July show, Hibbs donated a large hand forged metal sculpture to the City of Buckhannon for everyone to enjoy downtown. The city’s newest art installation has wings that stand a little over 5’ tall with a wingspan that is 8’4” wide and welcomes passersby for photo opportunities.
The story of turning trash into treasure has wonderful meaning for Hibbs and his fellow collective artists, as where others may see nothing, artists see everything.
“My husband had a vision of creating a one-of-a-kind sculpture using donated materials and donating his time to create this piece and then donating it to the community for them to enjoy,” explained Sasha Hibbs. “Local art deserves to exist. Our collective isn’t corporate funded. We invest in the gallery with what money we can round up from our pockets, and what we lack in funds, and resources, we make up for with heart, vision and skill.”