Second glance and a second chance

By on April 13, 2016

The dormant halls of the old Hess warehouse come to life for local art exhibit

Photo by Steve Seeber

Second Friday in Lititz looked like it would be a pretty quiet evening.

There was snow on the way for Saturday, and it hardly seemed like spring … except for all the gorgeous pear blossoms on East Main Street. By Saturday, the white flowers would be covered in large white snowflakes. In April?

The surprise on this Second Friday, which quickly reminded us of how easy it is to Love Lititz Every Second (Friday), was that there were lots of fun things going on throughout town. You just had to know where to look. Or to have someone point them out to you.

 (Left to right) Mike Hess, Cameron Furman and Shirley Flickinger at the warehouse.

Thanks to Donna Edson Felton, this roving reporter discovered that a young up-and-coming artist was having an art show at a secret gallery. Sort of. It was the premiere opening of Mike Hess’s warehouse building, transformed into a two-story showcase for Alastair Blake Peters’ large-scale abstract art.

Located in Juniper Lane, tucked behind the former Hess’s men’s store shop (now Shaub’s), the warehouse has undergone many transformations over the years. Not too long ago, it was used as overflow space for housewares and other things for a consignment shop. Mostly, it was just filled with junk.

“I still own the building,” Hess said. “And it needed to be cleaned out. You wouldn’t believe how much stuff was in there. It was decades of junk from floor to ceiling.”

Cameron Furman and his friends offered to clean the place out for Hess. Why?

“We just wanted to. That’s what Lititz is about,” Furman explained.

So, Furman and his merry band of helpers took on this monumental task back in the fall. Piece-by-piece, they cleared out Hess’s cluttered building and revealed a very cool space with huge windows on the second floor and exposed brick walls.

Furman admitted that he might have had an ulterior motive. He was imagining it as an event venue and gallery space, and he had an artist in mind for the debut of Hess’s warehouse gallery.

Local artist Alastair Blake Peters

Local artist Alastair Blake Peters

“It was a blank canvas, literally, and I thought it would be perfect as a place for Alastair to have an art show,” Furman said.

And that’s exactly what happened on Second Friday. There was delicious food, beverages, and all the movers and shakers of Lititz. Peters exhibited about a dozen huge paintings across the walls of the old warehouse. The place seemed destined to be a gallery.

Peters grew up in Manheim, and now lives in Lititz. He studied at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. He said he was happy to have his first solo show in the Lititz warehouse, which provided the perfect backdrop to his large-scale works. A few were borrowed from Waltz Vineyards, where they accent the winery’s tasting room in the Manheim countryside.

Peters works in acrylics, oils, gesso and graphite. In most of his paintings, color is the star attraction. In “Manifesto Sketch,” he celebrates all the good things in life, like a cup of tea, flowers and fields, and a faithful dog by his side. In “Sheep,” wide open white spaces are balanced by jolts of abstract color, with a cute realistic looking sheep. His newest piece is “Chex,” a study in colors with a more sophisticated feel.

“I wanted to expand my color values with interesting colors that went beyond the expected,” he said.

A premiere gallery showing of a vibrant young artist was an unexpected treat for Second Friday in Lititz. So was a taste-test for a talented home chef who has created a new line of barbecue sauces.

Myles Powell at Zest!

Myles Powell of the Reading area was at Zest!, where visitors could sample his two tasty sauces. Pineapple Buffalo was sweet and fruity, with a bold zip. He suggested it as an ideal accompaniment to grilled salmon. His Raspberry BBQ sauce was a berry-licious blend of sweet and smoke, a favorite with pork.

Powell, who works as a civil engineer, was featured in the Food Network’s “America’s Best Cook” competition two years ago. He has also been in local magazines. Sharon and Jim Landis of Zest! invited him to demo his two sauces, with chicken sautéed by Jim.

Delicious! Both products are available at Zest!, and Powell is expanding his product line with a mango sauce, a dry rub, and more. To find out more about his products, check his Facebook page at 8 Myles LLC.

Sandy at A Tea Affair.

Colorful artwork and summertime cookout sauces were not the only ways to overcome the impending snow storm, which was the talk of the town Friday evening. At A Tea Affair, Sandy served up refreshing fruit teas, like peach apricot. The shop was filled with the scent of blood orange, lemon chiffon, raspberry, lavender, and sweet cherry teas. Whimsical children’s tea sets, pretty tea cups and gifts helped to create a spring-like setting on a chilly April evening.

Ashtin, Jess, Carrissa, and owner Janice Dull serve pina coladas at Café Chocolate.

A few doors down, Café Chocolate was off for for the tropics with their seasonal Pina Colada beverage. The creamy smooth drink blends luscious pineapple with coconut, and is topped with real whipped cream. The only thing missing were the little umbrellas. As for chocolate, the amazing fondue provides fresh dip for juicy fruits like strawberries, pineapple and bananas. It’s a favorite for owner Janice Dull and her chocolate-loving customers.

There was more spring at Heavenly Soaps and Scents, with sweet bath soaps, children’s plush stuffed toys, and adorable baby outfits. Clementine’s was filled with fashions in every color of the rainbow. Sugar Whipped Bakery had cupcakes in flavors like guava cream cheese and raspberry chocolate.

Tony and Kristina Page at Rooster Street Butcher.

Rooster Street Butcher offered a tasty charcuterie and cheese board with meats and cheeses like duck prosciutto, soppressata, house cured ham, smokey bleu cheese, camembert and peppercorn cherve. Smoked chicken salad with bibb lettuce, roast beef with aged cheddar, and roasted garlic and tomato bisque were other tasty menu items.

As it turned out, Second Friday in April was just enough spring to stave off the impending return of winter on Saturday. By Sunday, the snow was melting, and the blossoms on the pear trees could be seen again. Or was that snow?

Laura Knowles is a local freelance feature writer and regular contributor to the Record Express. She welcomes comments and questions at lknowles21@gmail.com.

All photos by Laura Knowles, except the photo of the building, which is by Steve Seeber.

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