Buttons and butterflies add whimsical touch to Art Walk

By: Loryll Nicolaisen, Journal staff writer
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Jay Stargaard is giving new life to old buttons. The Weimar artist, who works with recycled and found objects and materials, used a huge oak branch found knocked off one of her trees after a recent storm as the starting point for “Toys of Fairies and Dragons II.” Using green thread and tons of buttons she received from friends and family, Stargaard spent four solid days spinning her artistic web at the Arts Building Gallery. “Everybody has a story about buttons,” Stargaard said. “Everybody who came in picked a button. Nobody throws them away. They’re teeny sculptures on their own.” It’s the perfect piece to welcome Arts Building Gallery visitors during “The Whimsy of It All,” a show that officially kicks off during Thursday’s Auburn Art Walk. “She just went into her own world but she was so interactive with community,” Shawn Baldwin, gallery program specialist for The Arts Building Gallery, said of watching Stargaard work on “Fairies & Dragons.” “When I look at it, it’s this wonderful story of our community.” Those visiting the Arts Building Gallery, 808 Lincoln Way, during the Art Walk will also see pieces created by local artists Anton Nemeth, Michelle Brunmier and Michael Bookout. “I tell people, it’s almost like you’re walking into a sophisticated children’s pop-up book,” Baldwin said. “Someone in the building told me it makes them want to skip around.” Rosie Stilwell, a longtime Art Walk Committee member, said there are many reasons to come out for the second Auburn Art Walk of the year. Businesses throughout Old Town and Downtown Auburn moonlight as galleries during the Art Walk, which is held 6-9 p.m. on the second Thursday of April, June, August and October. Art Walk is free and open to the public. “It’s the beginning of summer, and we’re approaching the longest day of the year, so you’re going to have the most daylight for viewing all year,” Stilwell said. This Art Walk’s highlights include the creations of Live Oak Waldorf students on display at Me Gusta Baby, 895 Lincoln Way. “That’s cool because student art, we like to be able to include that in the Art Walk,” she said. Also worth checking out is the Old Library Art Studios, 175 Almond St., where a centennial celebration for the Carnegie Library takes place in conjunction with the Art Walk. The event features historical displays, art and refreshments in the back-yard garden. Stilwell said Art Walkers should also stop by the Old Town Art Gallery, 218 Washington St., to see “Wet and Wild,” the gallery’s June show.