Move to bring good things to group of artists

By Jeff Smith

Artforms artists together — One of the last times a group will be together at the old Artforms building as they try to infuse holiday spirit into the shop with Santa Claus and treats. They will be preparing to renovate the Bloom building and make it their own going forward.

Artforms is moving on up. They are going to be in the space Bloom was in at Old World Plaza.

It will also its 20th year in 2018.

Nancy Reinart, who will be the Artforms president next year, said that move up in front will be good since there are some people who think there are just offices in the back of Old World Plaza. Many of the artists are returning into the new space and new artists are coming on board.

Artforms started out as a small group of artists that wanted to display their work and sell it. It is a space that promotes locals who have artistic talent. Today, there is a lot of variety of the art with 21 artists. There are people who have paintings, felt work, photography and even wind chimes.

Artforms has been in its current space for 10 or 11 years. They have been figuring out how to paint and et up the new space. Most of artists are pretty excited about the move. They plan to be in their new space by the middle of January. They will then take a break for the rest of winter and they will be ready to sell art again in April.

Joe Reinart, current president of Artforms, said the move will be good as they will get more foot traffic off of the sidewalk on Main Street.

“It will also be brighter,” Reinart said.

He has been apart of Artforms for 10 years.

“It’s been fun. You meet a lot of people,” Reinart said.

People come from across the waters to the Black Hills and Reinart said it’s fun to see where his art ends up.

Reinart turns wood and does stone wrapping. He finds his wood and his stone pieces with the exception of some turquoise. He explains that with stones he cuts them, polishes them and wraps them up with wire.

For wood turning, the hardest part is finding the old, cedar fence posts.

Luckily, he knows ranchers that can give him some fence posts when a fence is broken. He cuts them into smaller pieces.

“I usually have to go out and find fence posts a couple of times a year,” Reinart said.

He keeps some of the old, original wood there to give it a rustic, authentic look. Sometimes he will leave barbed wire there too.  He makes coasters and vase with the cedar wood fence posts he finds, all of which are in abundance at the Artforms shop. The wood turning process usually only takes a couple of hours.

He also makes deer antler back scratchers and buffalo rib shoehorns. There is also wine stoppers for people looking for something more inexpensive.

“Tourists want something unique to the area. They don’t want something commercially made,” Reinart said.

As a co-op, all of the artists play a part in the management of the shop. No one person stays at the shop at a time. Instead there are shifts that people take. In summer there are two shifts; one in the morning and one the afternoon. In the spring and fall there is just one shift since the shop  is just open for five hours a day. The artists generally have to be there just three to four times a month. Altogether, there are about 300 shifts a year.

It is a very flexible schedule and people usually work the same times every month.

Pete Stach, Artforms member who makes windchimes out of wine bottles, said the move is going to a good fit.

“This plaza is well-maintained but being on Main Street, per se, makes all of the difference,” Stach said.

With the new building, Stach said they are going to make it look like they are in art business. There will be some special features and a whole redesign of how things are displayed. The color schemes in the store and lighting is also going to be different.

Stach has only been a member for a year but said it’s been a wonderful year.

Stach said he appreciates the fact that all of the artists care about art and can display it together.

“None of us could afford the rent on our own. None of us don’t have that much that we could fill up a studio like this,” Stach said.

Everyone truly does their part and they each get to showcase their artistic talent.

“We work together and it’s very gratifying to see your work out here,” Stach said.

A meeting is held every month to talk about finances and what can be done with advertising.

Many artists are going to pitch in to renovate the new space and move everything over.

“We’ll start painting soon,” Reniart said.

Reinart said 50 percent of the artists have been there as long as he has been there.

Some stay for two or three years and then they quit making art or move away.

“Some have been here since the beginning,” Reinart said. “It’s a pretty great group of people.”