Amid the numerous Shippensburg parades and guest performers sits another form of art — fine arts.
In 1999, south central Pennsylvania welcomed the Shippensburg Arts Programming & Education (SHAPE) gallery.
“SHAPE was started by a group of local artists who were interested in putting together their own art gallery,” said SHAPE gallery director Bridget Palmer-Rosetta.
Over the course of almost two decades, SHAPE has had around 100 art exhibits and moved two times. Recently, the gallery moved to its new location at 19 E. King St. Art galleries, like SHAPE, provide artists with a central location to share their work and receive feedback from others.
“Art provides an opportunity for the people to come together and create ties,” said Shippensburg artist Viktoriya Hoover.
Throughout the year, SHAPE hosts multiple art shows, lessons and parties for the public. The gallery’s main event is its summer Solstice festival, which educates children about fine arts, environmental sustainability and personal health. SHAPE strives to enhance the cultural atmosphere of the town and provide free entertainment.
When school budgets are cut, art class funds are also affected. However, according to the Law Street Media, art classes can increase graduation rates, inspire creativity, keep at-risk children off the street and improve developmental motor skills. In addition, Law Street Media said those with at least four years of art education outscored those who took half a year or less by 91 points on their SAT.
“Art, music, sports activities engage kids’ passions and that’s when they do academically well,” said Shippensburg University art professor Steven Dolbin.
Without the luxury of art classes in the school systems, many children are growing up with no exposure to art beyond their iPads. There are, however, a select few schools that have art classes due to private funding.
Additionally, people do not spend as much money on art when they are struggling to pay for groceries and other necessities.
“I think because the economy is suffering so badly, artists are suffering,” said Shippensburg artist Magdalen Vloutely.
A lot of artists are starting to create smaller paintings at more affordable prices for their customers, according to Vloutely.
Some artists like Vloutely do not create art for profit, but do it because they simply love art. Vloutely said she gives the money she raises from her paintings to St. Seraphim Center, an organization dedicated to serving meals to those in need.
With the rising electronic age, many argue physical art is slowly slipping away. However, Dolbin said artists are always eager to adapt to new technology. Art is still evolving.