By AARON RICCA/The Bee

KINGMAN – Just as its name resonates, Arthub, a hub of art in downtown Kingman, will put on a small gala to show off some the resident’s accomplishments tonight.

The art venue will host a summertime reception from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday to recognize the hard work of the summertime artists and incoming/outgoing program directors who’ve strived to bring much needed color and culture to the town.

Beginning this September, Anna Fox Ryan will take over the program director position from Janie Stapleton, who has been running the show since spring of 2017. Stapleton has been an Arthub resident off and on since the venue started in 2014.

Along with other downtown developments, art – in many forms – has added to the parade of entertaining and enlightening local activities slowly taking root. Arthub has and will continue to work with Kingman Center for the Arts and Kingman Main Street.

“I really enjoyed connecting the community to Arthub,” Stapleton said of one of her favorite accomplishments while at the venue. “There’s a lot of room for improvement.”

Ryan will open the door to that room.

“I’m in service to the community and the arts,” she said. “I’ve asked some of those in the community what they’re looking for. I want to enliven and empower arts in the community.”

One of those efforts will be working with Kingman Main Street and finding the proper channels to paint more murals, such as the one on 2nd Street and Beale, to beautify otherwise vacant and bland building façades. Ryan will also work with KCA in efforts to get senior centers, schools and youth programs involved with local arts. Some of those events will begin in September. Others will continue throughout her residency.

There were four artists during the summer residency program. Artists from all over the world can apply, and once accepted, will live in the venue’s upstairs living facilities which include five bedrooms, a kitchen and living room.
Located at 402 E. Beale St., not only do resident artists have immediate and leisurely access to downtown Kingman’s eateries and watering holes, locals and tourists have a literal window to watch creativity and inspiration in action. Arthub is an open studio and that’s what the artists want.

“People are in no way discouraged from coming in,” Stapleton said.

She and the other artists agreed that they welcome visitors and simultaneously appreciate the light traffic that if busier, would only distract them from their work.

Artists specialize in different mediums: Painting, weaving, embroidery, graphic design, illustration and photography, to name a few.

Resident Brit Hessler was weaving a tapestry, a project she’s been working on at least 10 hours a day for the last two weeks. From a gaze outside the window, it looks like she’s weaving a rug, but walk inside and ask, she’ll explain that it’s a tapestry. Also, she dies the cloth and fabrics for many of her works with dirt, rocks and plants of the local ecosystems. She was able to explain that to First Friday revelers earlier this month.

“These kids came in, sat down, and I just let them start weaving,” Hessler said. “They looked around and figured out that (art) is something they want to do.”

Hessler, painter Jessica Dzielinski, Stapleton, Ryan and Alexander Rice, all said the landscape and geography of Arizona are things that have brought them here or kept them here longer than they expected.

“I like the hiking and the scenery,” said Rice, a shy, 23-year-old New Jersey native who has embroidered the constellations of the night sky from the perspective of Kingman into a small work of art.

Monolith Gardens, White Cliffs and the Hualapai Mountain trails are part of their regular treks.

“The town and the land really showed up at a transitional point in my life,” said Ryan, a graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia. “I feel a lot of love for the area.”

Arthub is sponsored by Angle Homes. The Bee was not able to contact Angle Homes founder Doug Angle by deadline, but the artists were more than grateful for his contribution their artistic cause.

“Doug’s goal was to give back to the community,” Stapleton said. “So far, it’s worked.”

If local artists need a beacon light, Ryan is lighting a flare to bring them from anywhere and everywhere.

“I’d like Arthub to take on the name,” she said. “The name where artists throughout the county can bring ideas together.”
Much of the resident’s art will be available for viewing and for sale. Light refreshments will be served.

For more information, go to www.kingmanarthub.com.

(Main Photo: Brit Hessler weaves a tapestry in full view of locals and tourists who wonder down Beale Street. AARON RICCA/The Bee) 

 Janie Stapleton shows off her work area and the view that goes with it.

 Alexander Rice searches for inspiration during a break in planning Friday’s reception.

 Jessica Dzielinski was paining what most of us are thinking this time of year (ice).

 Incoming Arthub Director Anna Fox Ryan stands in front of the studio where any passerby can peer in and see the residents at work.