Eclectic, funky, colorful, appealing to the sensesâ€”lotions, candy, creatures furryâ€”acrylics, oils, pencil artâ€”portraits, carvings, found-object artâ€”bling and retro and great photographs. These are some ways of describing what youâ€™ll find at A Crazy Lady on 4th Street Gallery.
Shelly Wilkerson is the â€œCrazy Lady,â€ so-named by her partner/husband Glen Wilkerson.Â Glen told his wife that opening a new gallery in this economic climate in the town of Bremerton was â€œa crazy thing to do,â€ but he nevertheless joined the venture, becoming one of its artists.Â So far so goodâ€”the gallery and retail shop just celebrated its one-year anniversary.
In this first year, Wilkerson has gathered together 23 diverse artists and artisans.Â The central principle is not so much determining what defines â€œartâ€ or â€œfine artâ€ but rather a question of where is the â€œheart.â€ You can find it in the moss and bark collected and turned into birdhouses. You can sense it in a wooden, carved rabbit.Â Perhaps you can â€œreadâ€ the unwritten messages in the intense, heart-felt paintings that focus on the environment.Â Your heart might be touched by the notecards done by school children or the effort that goes into Jeremy Hannafordâ€™s welded pieces, accomplishments of a quadriplegic. Or, you might recognize yourself in one of Wilkersonâ€™s paintings (such as the one above).
Wilkerson jokingly refers to herself as â€œthe dictator,â€ but she is the central person who interviews prospective artists, rents out space to them, and calls for their bimonthly meetings.Â Her personal story is as compelling as her presence.Â Originally from New York, Wilkerson was a closet artist for a number of years until the fateful events around 9/11 and being laid off from her long-time job as a contractor for Boeing.Â She turned to her art to find solace and eventually founded Cat Companions, LLC, of which the gallery is a division.
The gallery, combined with a retail shop, is housed in the 4th Pacific Arts Building adjacent to the older Amy Burnett Gallery.Â They both participate in Bremertonâ€™s First Friday Artwalk. Each month the resident â€œCEOâ€ (the gallery cat) relinquishes some attention and allows a different artist to be spotlighted for the Artwalk.