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Alana Barner

Cornerstone’s Artist of the Month for February 2020

Alana Barner

Alana is a Central PA native who always had a passion for creating. In middle school, she took a few art lessons at the Harrisburg Art Association and those lessons helped her discover a passion that fueled Alana to continue learning and improving her skill. After graduating high school, she focused on many forms of creativity such as sewing, jewelry making, and crocheting. In 2013 she started painting more and began selling artwork in 2016. Alana paints many things in nature as she finds inspiration along hiking and biking trails and her garden. In addition, she enjoys infusing emotions elicited from music into her artwork. Working with acrylic paint really helps Alana to achieve the bright vivid colors and layers to create texture in each piece as she strives to evoke an emotional response in those admiring my work whether the inspiration and focus is either nature or music.

Here is a Q&A with Alana Barner, Cornerstone’s Artist of the Month for February 2020.

How does your medium inform your viewpoint? Or what do you like most about your medium?

I love using acrylic paint because I can really work with layering color, and adding bits of texture in each brush stroke. The vibrant colors really help reflect my moods and inspire emotions in others.

Who or what have been your artistic inspirations?

Nature is my strongest inspiration. I spent much of my teen years being outside, hiking and exploring when I could. I continue to do that with my family when ever possible. Taking colors and shapes that I find and transferring them in my own way to canvas is something I really enjoy. Another inspiration I use is music. Sometimes lyrics or a melody will just grab hold, and I don’t feel settled until I have the chance to transfer that feeling into a painting.

Do You Have a Favorite Piece in Your Portfolio?

My favorite piece has actually sold this past year. It was a white silhouette of a stag one a bright colorful abstract background titled Untamed. This piece represented inner strength and resilience to me. This was one of those pieces that what I intended to paint, changed and took a life of its own. Each step I just got more excited to see the way it all came together. The end result was not at all what I had in mind, but it was truly what the painting was meant to be.

What would be your advice to artists just starting out in your medium?

My advice for any artist, would be to just enjoy the process and focus less on the end product . Don’t stress about the details not being exactly what you had planned, but acknowledge the beauty of what you have created.

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David Mark

Rediscovering a passion…

In 2013, after competing at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, David Mark‘s electric blues band decided to part ways due to logistical challenges. However, it was a positive turning point for David as he began his official journey in sobriety and as a full time acoustic guitar player.

David Mark

For over 20 years, he continue to hear the same compliment, “you have your own sound, its creative, awesome and unique.” His appreciation for blues, jazz, fingerstyle, funk, psychedelic and rock blends itself into a pure form of artistic bliss and he had the opportunity to explore this creative approach with his former duo bandmate before he relocated to Lancaster, PA.

After a brief five year hiatus, David is back with a new approach to performing as his attention is focused on creating more original acoustic instrumentals that blend all of the genres mentioned above with the occasional cover-tune. Come experience a show…you won’t be disappointed.

“The best feeling is watching a stranger sway to the groove of your music.” …DM

90% of David’s set list includes originals along with select cover tunes:

  • “You know I’m No Good” – Amy Winehouse/li>
  • “Bertha” – Grateful Dead
  • “What’s Going On” – Marvin Gaye
  • “Root 66” – Nat King Cole
  • “Baby I Love You” – Aretha Franklin
  • “Chevrolet” – Taj Mahal
  • “Woman Be Wise” – Sippie Wallace
  • “U.S. Blues” – Grateful Dead

David Mark on Facebook

Check out the Cornerstone music schedule for upcoming shows by David Mark.

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Jessica Phillips-Rife

Jessica Rife

Singer/songwriter Jessica Phillips-Rife has been performing in Central Pennsylvania for 25 years. She is a classically trained soprano, pianist and songwriter. Jessica has recorded an album of original music, Blessings, and has been performing lead roles and is a featured artist with several local opera companies including Capitol Opera and Harrisburg Opera.

As a versatile musician, she also performs oldies, rock, pop, country and Broadway songs, all of which you’ll hear at Cornerstone. You’ll enjoy hits from over five decades, in addition to her original music.

Jessica currently resides in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with her husband, Rusty and their rescue cat, Oliver, both of whom she wrote songs for on her album. When not performing on the stage or composing new music, she enjoys preparing and arranging music for upcoming events.

Check out the Cornerstone music schedule for upcoming shows by Colette.

Jessica Phillips-Rife on Facebook

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Michele Lee Kozimor

Cornerstone’s Artist of the Month for January 2020

Michelle Lee KozimorLocal artist, Michele Lee Kozimor, has been honing her acrylic and mixed media techniques for the past several years. Michele is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Elizabethtown College. Originally from New Jersey, she earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from The Pennsylvania State University after receiving her B.A. from Elizabethtown College. Michele’s familiarity with the sociology of art, allows her to use performance art in her teaching at the collegiate level. She is the 2019 recipient of the Kreider Prize for Teaching Excellence at Elizabethtown College. During the Kreider Prize lecture, she used performance art to illustrate the art of teaching. The resulting acrylic and pyrite painting, The Art of Teaching, hangs in Alpha Hall on the Elizabethtown College campus. Michele’s academic work also focuses on the study of organizational behavior. She frequently conducts team-building workshops using performance art which results in the creation of an acrylic painting that the organization can proudly display. Michele receives artistic inspiration for her simple, flowing, and organic pieces from her volunteer work at the newly inscribed UNESCO World Heritage Site Fallingwater. Her artistic work is strongly influenced by her training in Reiki and personal interest in crystals. As a practicing Reiki Master/Teacher, many of her paintings depict the fluidity of Reiki energy and the colors of the 7 primary chakras. Each of her paintings are Reiki energy infused. Through her paintings we experience the peace of living a life undivided. Michele accepts commissions for paintings customized to meet specific client preferences.

Tell us briefly about your background & how you got started in your medium.

My art background is a tale of cooperative networks beginning early in my life. As sociologist Howard S. Becker states in his now classic work, Art Worlds (1982), “Think of all the activities that must be carried out for any work of art to appear as it finally does.” By the age of 5, I was immersed in the art world. My parents, George and Nancy Kozimor, continually provided me with unique opportunities to view the work of classic and contemporary artists in museums, galleries, and shows.

One pivotal experience occurred in 1980. My father drove into NYC as we often did to dine at Panchitos, a favorite Mexican Restaurant in Greenwich Village. On this trip, my father had a surprise. He heard about a limited showing of the exhibit Pablo Picasso: A Retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and was going to expose his daughter to art that was changing the world. Upon entry to the museum after waiting in a significant line, we were told we would not be able to see the exhibit that day. My father’s gift of persuasion enabled me to view a special collection of the works of Pablo Picasso. I remember standing in awe at the pieces before me. That single exhibit had an immediate and lasting impact on me for it sparked both a love of art and a keen interest in how artists shape the social world.

A short time later, at the age of 9, I won a juried art contest in the state of New Jersey with a cubist inspired painting celebrating New Jersey Art Week. Despite continued exposure to the art world including personal interactions with known artists like Thomas Kinkade and Ingrid Muan, my life took a more academic path in sociology which put my own artistic work on hold. My inspiration to create was reignited after viewing the performance art (acrylic on canvas) of Jonas Gerard in Asheville, North Carolina. Prior to visiting the studios of Gerard, I hadn’t considered painting since I graduated high school. Instead, I focused on the art of teaching and exposing my daughter to the art world like my father did for me. In October 2019, I chose to unite my two passions by giving the Kreider Prize for Teaching Excellence lecture at Elizabethtown College which unconventionally included performance art involving the audience in the creation of an acrylic painting which now hangs in Alpha Hall on the campus. This is my first public show of my art. I am grateful to Nicole Miller and the owners of Cornerstone Coffeehouse for allowing me to display my art in one of my favorite places to gather with friends in central Pennsylvania.

How does your medium inform your viewpoint? Or what do you like most about your medium?

My medium is acrylic on canvas, but most pieces also contain pyrite dust. I have included pyrite dust in my painting for numerous reasons connected to my view of life. First, I incorporate pyrite as a natural element inspired by my volunteer work at the recently inscribed World Heritage Site Fallingwater. Fallingwater is the iconic Kaufmann home designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright over the Bear Run waterfall in Mill Run, Pennsylvania. Second, I have had a profound interest and exposure to gemstones similar to my background in art. I spent many fun days with my parents digging in “carnelian creek” for golden quartz and the prized carnelian in the Watchung mountains of New Jersey. I knew that crystals had an effect on me, but more recently, my work with Kate Pruiett and Angie Yingst, has taught me how crystal energy can influence our mood and vibration by having them in our environment. While on a vacation in the mountains of Colorado with my parents one summer, I panned for gold and found pyrite. While our guide told me it was worthless, I loved the sparkle and joy simply looking at this stone gave me. Today, as Reiki Master/Teacher, I use pyrite in my art to evoke feelings of protection and shielding from negative energy. Pyrite is also known for its shine (or fire) and ability to spark creativity.

Who or what have been your artistic inspirations?

Although I have already touched upon this briefly in my answers to the other questions, I have been inspired by the work of many classic and modern artists, but none more profoundly than Ingrid Muan. Ingrid Muan was an artist, scholar, professor, and my mentor (until her untimely death in 2005). She co-founded Reyum, the Institute of Art and Culture in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. As a visiting assistant professor for a course in art history at Elizabethtown College, she reinforced the cultural value of my early exposure the art world. Our interaction outside of the classroom, in her off-campus studio located in a large garage, fondly reminds me of the 2003 American drama Mona Lisa Smile. There, covered in paint, we discussed the social structure of the art world and how art could be used to control or liberate the human spirit. We also discussed the connection between art and teaching, a theme I am just returning to over 20 years later. Using the classification of sociologist Howard S. Becker, Ingrid was a maverick. Despite the start of the career as a conventional novice, by the time I met her she challenged conventions of the art and academic worlds. Today, her reclaimed oil on wood-block rendering of my own eyes commissioned by my father, reminds me to live in my authentic self and that art has the power to offer social commentary.

Do You Have a Favorite Piece in Your Portfolio?

Right now, I do not own my favorite piece, The Art of Teaching, as it is the Kreider Prize performance art piece which currently hangs on the wall of Alpha Hall at Elizabethtown College. This is my favorite piece because it symbolizes the undivided self. The piece depicts my life journey and was created during my recognition for excellence in teaching. It reflects relationship-centered learning including the influence of my parents, mentors, students, friends, and colleagues. I am positive that Ingrid Muan would smile at the thought of a piece of my art hanging in the main administrative building. A second piece, Living Simply, is also a favorite and was similarly created with contributions from members of my 2019 first-year seminar class. This piece will be on display at Cornerstone Coffeehouse during my show

What would be your advice to artists just starting out in your medium?

Remember that art happens through cooperative interactions – show gratitude for the contributions of others, harness your many life experiences, learn from other artists, challenge convention, and above all let your intuition be your guide.

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Colette Eckert

Colette Eckhart

As a local artist from New Cumberland, Colette Eckert has been performing solo and in musical projects for the last 20 years. Whether it be in living rooms, backyards, coffee houses or local pubs throughout Central PA, Colette has a passion for music and has enjoyed each experience along the way. Having primarily performed with her former band Maiden Ground, and her current project Crossfire3, playing classic rock/folk/blues covers, Colette is also finding her voice as a singer/songwriter when time allows.

Stay tuned as she is completing an original music project, scheduled to be released this summer.

Check out the Cornerstone music schedule for upcoming shows by Colette.

Colette Eckert on RevebNation

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