By ELISE McKEOWN SKOLNICK
The halls and studios of Ward Bakery Building on lower Mahoning Avenue were filled with a variety of art Saturday, all of it handmade by local artists.
Included were ceramics, paintings, sculptures, photos and more.
The open studio shows take place twice a year by the Artists of the Mahoning Commons.
Tracy Segreti, an artist who’s had a studio in the downtown building for 22 years, participates in each show.
“It’s been really great, because no one knew what this building was about before that,” she said. “It’s nice. We get a great turnout. And who knew that anyone cared?”
Segreti started out making wood block prints, and still does some of that work. Then she started painting on silk. At Saturday’s Holiday Open Studio and Art Sale, she offered silk scarves, paintings and wall hangings.
“The scarves are probably the most popular thing I’ve ever made,” she said. “Everybody loves the scarves. So I keep making them. To me they’re paintings when I’m doing them; I don’t really think about them as scarves.”
They have been purchased as wall hangings as well as scarves, she noted.
“And I think that’s a great compliment,” she said.
Todd and Lisa Smith of Poland have attended the Artists of the Mahoning Commons shows for a couple of years.
The crafts are unique, Lisa pointed out. Both like to support local artists.
“You always see something different, whether it’s pottery or painting or something done with fabric. So it’s interesting to come and see what’s new,” she said.
She found items for both herself and to give as gifts.
“And it seems like there’s new people every year, too, and that’s what makes it fun,” she added. “You don’t know what’s here until you show up.”
Todd Smith said he also liked the location.
“It’s a unique setting,” he said. “I’m glad they’re using old buildings in Youngstown for a purposeful thing, rather than just sitting empty.”
The Holiday Open Studio and Art Show included local artists other than those with studios in the Ward building.
Noreen Yazvac, an artist with a studio in Canfield, brought her paintings to the show.
She participates in the shows at the Ward Building regularly.
“It’s just so much fun,” she said. “It’s so nice to see people come in and really take part and enjoy the local artists. It’s just so nice to meet everybody.”
Yazvac has been painting since she was a child, and uses both watercolor and acrylic. Recently, she started doing some encaustic work, which is a wax process.
The holiday show does well every year, she said.
“The community support is overwhelming,” she said. “They appreciate it so much. They want to buy from local people.”
Carol Mathews and her granddaughter Brittany Mathews, both of Boardman, attended Saturday for the first time.
“It’s lovely,” Carol said. There’s “very unique, individualized-type gifts.”
A massage therapist, Carol was drawn to a display of oils.
Brittany said she liked the show.
“There’s a lot of pretty pottery,” she said.
Brittany, 13, enjoys photography. She said the artists in the building inspired her to do more art.
The show continues from noon to 5 p.m. today.