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Peter Jon Snyder: An Artganic Life

1/14/2009 —

The Freyberger Gallery will provide a view into the creative process of the artist through the exhibition titled Peter Jon Snyder: An Artganic Life. Rather than establish an exhibition of finished artwork, Snyder will be recreating his studio in the Freyberger Gallery. During the exhibition, he will spend time in the gallery working on his art. The exhibition runs from January 22-March 5, 2009. There will be an opening reception on Thursday, January 22 at 6:00 p.m. This event is free and open to the public and light refreshments will be served.

An unprecedented exhibition, this installation gives viewers an opportunity to genuinely see how an artist works within his space. An artist, designer, landscaper, entrepreneur, gallery director, and television host, Peter Jon Snyder's many identities somehow relate seamlessly. His work is based in an organic (or artganic) spirit of creativity.

When Snyder earned his bachelor's degree in art education from Kutztown University in 1976, teaching jobs were scarce. So, he took a position at Penn State Berks, landscaping and establishing gardens on the campus. He became a member of the campus' Fine Arts Committee, and developed and curated outdoor sculpture exhibitions. In the meantime, the art gallery was established, and Snyder's wife, Shirley, became the first gallery director. Together, along with arts coordinator Betty McLean, they developed a successful summer theatre/summer gallery program.

The next year, the Snyders opened a studio/gallery in downtown Reading, called the ArtFactory. A visionary venue for its time, the ArtFactory invited artists to show art and host events. It became an exciting bohemian art venue for Reading, and lasted five years until the birth of the Snyders' daughter, Piera.

By the mid 1980s, Peter Snyder was teaching introductory art and drawing classes at Penn State Berks. He continued his education, and in 1990, he earned a master's of fine arts from Bard College.

Snyder began to think about other ways to develop his skills. His background in art, sculpture, and gardening led him to launch his own landscaping business called GARDENWORKS with coworker Corey Wise.

By 1998, Snyder had exhibited his sculptures, paintings, and installations in more than 100 shows.

Recently, Snyder and Wise purchased an old car dealership building in Womelsdorf, PA and built café Crave. Decorated in his signature style-with art, sculptures, cast-offs, and color, the two fashioned a distinctive environment where patrons can relax; show or buy art; listen to live music; and enjoy fantastic food, organic coffee, and handmade Italian gelato.

The Freyberger Gallery's hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Thursday evenings until 8 p.m.; and Sundays from 1-4 p.m. For more information, contact Marilyn Fox, arts coordinator, at 610-396-6140 or by e-mail at mjf14@psu.edu.

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