Heartwood Hearts Broken: Artists plan one ‘Last Hurrah’ to say goodbye to gallery

Heartwood Hearts Broken: Artists plan one ‘Last Hurrah’ to say goodbye to gallery



Edward Hejtmanek says it’s time. His wife, Anita, knows he’s right. But they’re both sad — and so are dozens of artists and hundreds, if not thousands, of art lovers who have patronized Heartwood Gallery in south Fayetteville for the past 19 years.

The gallery, an artist-run and artist-staffed cooperative, officially closed Dec. 31. A three-day “Last Hurrah” Jan. 24-26 will let former Heartwood artists sell their wares in the space at 428 S. Government Ave. and say thank you to their fans and friends.

“Edward and Anita have been wonderful to us who needed a place to show our work. They gave folks the courage to try,” says Margery Shore, a potter who has been part of Heartwood for 17 years.

“Some of the artists would have never had an opportunity to sell their work if it had not been for the hard work, kindness and dedication of Edward and Anita,” adds jewelry maker Teresa Chard. “They kept this gallery going.”

“Patrons enjoyed meeting the makers, discussing local issues, purchasing one-of-a-kind items locally made,” Shore puts in. “We have had visitors buy items which have gone throughout the United States and all over the world.”

“And because these were local artists, the money made through Heartwood gallery has stayed in the local communities,” adds Chard. “More than likely the money made went to dance classes or groceries, gas and bills — or buying the other artists’ artwork. We are each other’s greatest fans!”

“I will miss talking to patrons about how they found us and chatting about their lives,” puts in Shore. “They enjoyed the experience of Heartwood and the 100-plus-year-old building that housed it!”

The gallery opened in 2000, when Edward Hejtmanek built a new woodworking shop and moved out of the structure at 428 S. Government Ave.

“We started with 17 artists and gradually increased it to a maximum of 30,” he says. “We didn’t have room for any more than that and couldn’t afford less than that!”

Each artist paid a modest monthly fee and a portion of the utilities, Hejtmanek explains, and each artist took turns working at the gallery. Their profits were their own.

“It was a wonderful experience. I met and made so many good friends, both the artists and members of the public,” says potter Mary Curtis.

“Heartwood was cozy and unpretentious but with very classy art and artists,” says basketmaker Susan Bell. “I will miss it very much.”

“I think I can say everyone was surprised and saddened to hear the news the gallery would be no longer,” Shore says of the closing. “The community of members were drawn together here, and that camaraderie will disappear. We all acknowledge the upkeep of the building is a chore for Edward. We all understand his decision to close.”

There is hope the relationships formed at Heartwood will lead to future collaborations.

“Personally, I have become very close to Mary Curtis, an original member, and now work with her in her studio — which has changed my work,” says Shore. “Three potters who showed here have banded together to form a group ‘Babes of Mud and Fire,’ which will be doing pop-ups and shows. People are looking into other possibilities, so the Facebook page will remain even though the gallery is closed. Any information will be posted there.”

As for the Hejtmaneks, both plan to take some time off from art and enjoy traveling. Edward, who is 70, says he’ll continue woodworking, but he won’t take special orders. And Anita, 73, thinks she’d like to return to creating full-size stained glass pieces — “but not until after I’ve had a break!”

Daughter Darcy Ames Harris plans to move her business, Crimson & Clover, into the former Heartwood Gallery space.

“And we definitely plan to get more serious about selling the property,” Edward concludes.



Heartwood Artists

‘Last Hurrah’

WHEN — 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Jan. 24-25-26

WHERE — The former Heartwood Gallery location at 428 S. Government Ave. in Fayetteville

COST — Artists will be selling their work individually

INFO — Email margshore@aol.com

Categories: Cover Story