SNOW HILL – As local officials tout the potential of Snow Hill, an artist from Ohio is hoping to help spur the town’s revitalization with a new gallery on Pearl Street.
Paul Volker, a well-known Ohio artist, has taken on the task of renovating the space at 112 Pearl St. to serve as his new gallery after moving to town with his family last fall.
“I think I found a good spot,” Volker said. “If you can make that place work, you can make any place in Snow Hill work.”
While many of the historic buildings in town are in need of rehabilitation, the shop space Volker has taken over is in the roughest of conditions and is in need of a complete interior renovation. The space will be redone from ceiling to floor, as its floor was actually taken by previous tenants when they moved out years ago.
“Anything can be fixed,” Volker said, “you just have to want to do it. Every good piece of art takes a bit of work.”
The artist gave town officials and representatives from First Shore Federal, the bank that owns the building, a “before” look at the soon-to-be gallery this week. He expects one to two months of work before the studio — Green Pearl Contemporary Fine Art — is ready for his paintings.
Once remodeled, the gallery will feature track lighting and paneled walls to feature Volker’s work. His artwork, he explained, is based in humor.
“I like a challenge,” he said, “and humorous art is a challenge. Humor has a place in theater, movies and TV but in art it’s not quite as accepted. I try to change that.”
During the past 25 years, Volker has produced more than 3,000 works of art, much of which is owned by collectors throughout the country. In addition to being humorous, Volker’s work is unique in that it’s done exclusively with house paint—often discarded house paint.
“It keeps it from going to a landfill,” he said.
Officials from First Shore Federal, which is located just down the street, said they were thrilled to see someone take an interest in the long vacant storefront.
“As anybody who saw that area knows it’s about time something was done,” said Marty Neat, president of First Shore Federal. “We’re really excited.”
Volker too is eager to see the project complete. While he’s aware that Snow Hill is still full of vacant buildings, he’s optimistic that his is just the first of many to attract new tenants.
“The economy’s turning around,” he said. “This is the beginning of an upswing.”
He believes the fact that Snow Hill is a Maryland Arts and Entertainment District and the efforts of local leaders will help draw other artists to the town.
“I think it’ll be the next big thing,” he said. It reminds me of SoHo. I call it SnoHo. There are so many great spaces here artists just need to find out about it.”
For more information about Green Contemporary Fine Art, contact Volker at 614-395-6783. For more information about business opportunities in Snow Hill, contact Michael Day, the town’s economic development consultant, at 443-735-0957.