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Fraser Street Art Gallery is a Dream Come True

by on October 02, 2014 10:27 PM

Maggie Wolszczan, owner of the Fraser Street Gallery, has walked in to her studio many times, but Thursday was the first time it gave her chills.

“I finally realized the moment had arrived, and my skin prickled,” she says. “I felt a moment of pure elation at the sight.”

The previous night she’d placed paintings on the walls from local artists including Susan Nicholas Gephart, Chris Bittner and Sarah Kipp. When Wolszczan walked in the next day, it was the first time she saw an exhibit hanging in a gallery that was truly her own.

She’s worked in art galleries in California and Philadelphia since 2005, but has always dreamed of owning her own space. On Friday, that dream finally becomes a reality when the new exhibit opens to the public in a grand reopening ceremony. The ceremony begins at 6 p.m. and will feature live music and offer visitors a chance to meet the artists whose work is on display.

Wolszczan moved into her space on the plaza two years ago, but shared it with Chuck Fong’s Studio 2 Photography next door. On one side of the space was Wolszczan's gallery, and on the other was Fong’s studio.

Communal spaces have a long history among artists, and Wolszczan says having a photo studio and an art gallery in one large space encouraged collaboration between the two artists. However, the combination was “complicated and chaotic.”

Wolszczan recently took over the lease for her side of the space and put up a wall dividing the gallery and photo studio – but she didn’t have her own gallery quite yet. She had to paint the walls, replace the flooring and take care of numerous other odds and ends before the space was truly hers.

“All I want to do is bring people down to the gallery so they can interact with these artists and enrich everyone’s lives,” Wolszczan says. “It’s been a labor of love for a long time to get people into the gallery.”

She says this area is well known for its athletics, but she hopes to draw attention to the rich well of artistic talent in and around State College. Friday’s exhibit will feature lush landscapes, abstract florals and sculpture – as well as a musical performance from one-man-band Danny Brumbaugh.

Wolszczan says the gallery will hold monthly exhibits and encourages any and all artists interested in displaying their work to submit a portfolio. She hopes to work with professional artists, Penn State students and even artists at State College High School.

Though the struggle to find her own art gallery is finally over, a new challenge begins for Wolszczan.

“Now I have to make sure the gallery survives. We’re the only one in State College now,” she says. “You have to be able to engage the community for something like this to survive. You really have to tap into their souls a little bit.”

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Photo Gallery - Fraser St. Gallery Reopening



Michael Martin Garrett is a reporter and editor for StateCollege.com who covers local government, the courts, the arts and writes the Keeping the Faith column. He's a Penn State alumnus, a published poet and the bassist in a local indie rock band.
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