A Shippensburg University three-dimensional design class filled the second floor of the Appalachian Brewing Co. on King Street with cardboard sculptures on Tuesday.
The previous home of Knute’s Bar & Grille is owned by John and Debbie Knutelsky. They leased the building out to Artie Tafoya from the Appalachian Brewing Co. (ABC) about a year ago. The second floor served as a storage space until Alan Dietrich-Ward, SU history professor, connected Steve Dolbin, SU art and design professor to the Knutelskys.
The three-dimensional design class — taught by Dolbin — is a foundation course and is mostly filled with freshmen. They displayed several cardboard structures that resembled everyday household items scaled up on the upper floor of ABC. Among them was a padlock and key, a toothbrush with a tube of toothpaste, a lamp, a watch and more.
The exhibit is a part of an initiative to connect the university to the Shippensburg community, Dolbin said. Dietrich-Ward helped connect Dolbin to Knutelsky to set up the exhibit.
Dietrich-Ward said they designated the upper floor of the restaurant as an artistic space, in addition to the Shippensburg Arts Programming & Education (SHAPE) Gallery and The Thought Lot.
“This is going to become our third great artistic space in Shippensburg. It’s a trend now. Three is a trend.”
“The Shippensburg community and the university have never fully combined in a way you need these days,” he said. “There has always sort of been a dividing line. In some ways, the dividing line has been the rail trail.”
Dietrich-Ward, who serves on the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail Council, wants to use the rail trail to make connections with the town. He has begun to do this through the Shippensburg Station, a museum off the rail trail, but wants to push further.
“If we want to get the university into town, you need to make it open and welcoming,” Dietrich-Ward said. “Art, heritage, outdoor recreation, performance. That is the magic sauce that makes a community a place where people want to live. And Shippensburg has all of those things — and our job is to put those things together.”
Dolbin said he stepped down from being chair of the art and design department to take a personal break.
“Now, because of Laurie Carter, I am re-energized. I want to do as much as I can and take advantage of the support she is giving us,” Dolbin said.
The student exhibits will remain open until early this week, according to Dolbin.
After that, SU professor Ben Culbertson will exhibit his ceramic work, followed by a printed art exhibit. He wants to see the ABC’s venue display senior exhibits, as well as professional artists in the community. Tafoya and Knutelsky also want to sell exhibits in the foyer of the restaurant.
“When you go through the town, you don’t know this is a university town. We’re four blocks away,” Knutelsky said. “It’s unfortunate that we haven’t been able to combine the two and both be successful.”
He feels the town scares away potential faculty and students, and sees opening an art gallery in the top floor of the brewery as the first step in a plan to anchor more people to the community.
“We can support it, food and beverage-wise,” Tafoya said.
Knutelsky said, “It’s a team effort. We want to build the downtown and we want to build the university.”