EMMA ROUTLEY/CHRONICLE PHOTO

Artists Roka Walsh, right, and Sheri Smith-Holgate said they were sure to follow Covid-related guidelines.

SPRINGFIELD – This spring, change is in the air, and as vaccinated residents are able to gather in small groups mask-free again, two artists combined their creative endeavors and hosted their first art show in more than a year.

Masks were at the ready, but not necessarily required at the Pop-Up Studio Show in Springfield on Saturday, May 8. At the doors of her backyard on a sunny Saturday, artist Roka Walsh welcomed patrons, friends and the public to a gallery showcasing Walsh’s mixed-media print work and fellow artist Sheri Smith-Holgate’s baskets woven with pine needles.

Clearly, the artists admire each other’s work. Walsh referred to Smith-Holgate as having a “real, true vision” and Smith-Holgate said Walsh’s art “is to die for.”

“Our work goes well together because she doesn’t need much wall space,” Walsh said, referring to the tabled displays of Smith-Holgate’s coiled baskets while her own artwork hung above. “And we work really well together.”

EMMA ROUTLEY/CHRONICLE PHOTO

The pop-up gallery featured cards, framed prints and table-top pieces.

Galleries are an artistic event Walsh and Smith-Holgate are well acquainted with, having participated in shows together for the past five years. Access to this particular show was unique in that it was granted by answering the following question: “Are you fully vaccinated?” 

If the answer was yes, masks were off, and attendees bonded freely over art and refreshments. Walsh said she called OHA prior to the event, and as long as there were no more than 10 vaccinated people in the space at one time then mask-free browsing was safe.

Walsh and Smith-Holgate unite in drawing inspiration from nature, but differ in the way they express themselves. Walsh utilizes her background in graphic design to produce print works, while Smith-Holgate crafts pieces with her hands. Smith-Holgate reports both artists had successful sales at the show.

“Here’s my main thing: buy local,” Smith-Holgate said. “You can get something reasonable and handmade from us rather than going online or to a big-box store. Find an artist and support local artists.”

Both artists look forward to more art shows in the future, and Smith-Holgate hopes to offer classes again in June. For more information please call 541-232-5544.