Gallery Oasis: Haven for area artists

GALLERY OASIS OWNER, Nicci Leamon shares a conversation with artist Travis Nelson during Sunday’s opening reception of the gallery, which is located inside Hawthorne’s Attic in Casco. (De Busk Photo) What: Gallery Oasis Where: Inside Hawthorne’s Attic, 27 Roosevelt Trail, near Thomas Pond in Casco  Hours: Sunday, noon – 5 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Artists interested in showing their work at Gallery Oasis: Please contact Nicci Leamon via e-mail,   leamon@fairpoint.net or phone, (207) 627-6814.

GALLERY OASIS OWNER, Nicci Leamon shares a conversation with artist Travis Nelson during Sunday’s opening reception of the gallery, which is located inside Hawthorne’s Attic in Casco. (De Busk Photo)
What: Gallery Oasis
Where: Inside Hawthorne’s Attic, 27 Roosevelt Trail, near Thomas Pond in Casco
Hours: Sunday, noon – 5 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Artists interested in showing their work at Gallery Oasis: Please contact Nicci Leamon via e-mail, leamon@fairpoint.net or phone, (207) 627-6814.

By Dawn De Busk
Staff Writer
CASCO — Casco resident Nicci Leamon holds a very academic job filled with hours of research, historical writing, proofreading and editing.
Art is the dessert that she put on the backburner or in the refrigerator to chill — until now.
Leamon’s life was once immersed in art. First, she attended The New School in New York and then in Holland, where she studied for 10 years, and taught for two years.
“Living in Amsterdam, all those years — Amsterdam was pretty small, and I used to ride my bike under Rijksmuseum” and two other world renown museums.
“I’d bring my son every day to one of the museums. You’d see (Vincent) Van Gogh and Rembrandt” van Riijn, she said.
“Also, Amsterdam was filled with little galleries — a constant influx of new art coming in and out,” she said.
The idea of providing a small space for up and coming artists stayed with her like a quiet spring bubbling beneath the earth.
Now, art has returned to her life full force in the form of a new undertaking: Gallery Oasis in Casco.
Most entrepreneurs think about starting a business first, and then checking the real estate market, looking for the right location. In Leamon’s case: She saw the vacant space in Hawthorne’s Attic and then she envisioned a gallery that could house the work of local artists.
In fact, she questioned her sanity, saying to herself that the last thing she needed was to take on another project.
“I guess this is going back to what is close to my heart. I love to see what other people are doing, and to encourage them,” Leamon said.
“I see so many really good artists who are starting out and have no opportunity to show anywhere. I thought if I had a small gallery, I could give them the opportunity to show, and keep their prices relatively affordable,” she said.
On Sunday afternoon, her new business, Gallery Oasis, held its first artists’ reception.
According to Leamon, the opening went well, with about 30 people stopping into the space. Additionally, artist Travis Nelson sold four of his acrylic on canvas paintings, and Anne LeBlanc sold one of her fused glass chimes.
Leamon discovered Nelson’s art through a friend who referred her to his Facebook page.
“His art is all about colors, designs and lines,” she said.
LeBlanc is Leamon’s younger cousin.
“I knew she was taking these classes, and I wanted to see her work. There are a lot of fused glass artists out there. She has a unique sense of color,” Leamon said.
“She is fairly new and her items are selling as soon as she finishes them,” she said.
“It’s another art form. Because it was so colorful, it would fit well with Travis’ paintings,” she said.
“Travis has been painting for so long. He is evolving as an artist. It is nice to see how he is evolving, and to see where he is going,” she said.
Prior to showing his work in Gallery Oasis, he had sold a few pieces and given away many as gifts, Leamon said.
“It gives him a reason to keep going. Someone is recognizing and confirming what he is doing. It’s not like he is sitting in a closet, painting,” she said.
“Some people paint because they want to be famous. Others paint because they love it. He cannot stop painting because he loves it,” she said.
Leamon’s plan is “to feature a new artist every six weeks,” while still keeping the pieces of other artists on display.
Interested artists can contact Leamon, and from there she will look at their portfolios and determine whether their pieces are something people would really want to have in their houses.
“This is the whole point of the gallery. I want someplace where other artists who cannot get into bigger galleries can show. It is a really competitive area. People have a place to show where the art is still affordable,” she said.
“Travis had never seen his art in one place. It was so gratifying to me when he saw all his work displayed there. He said, ‘Wow, I created it, and people are buying it,’ ” Leamon said.
What better affirmation for an artist.
“Gallery Oasis is clean and bright and colorful, and there’s a bench to sit on so people can look at the art, appreciate it, and hopefully buy it,” she said.
“It is a labor of love,” she said.
To see the artwork of Travis Nelson, check out TRAVART Movement on Facebook. LeBlanc’s business is called Kiln-formed Glass Designs, and she can be contacted at ALEBLANC.1216@gmail.com

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