Gallery displays varied works from local artists

By Sarah Brown
Lebanon Local
Artist Evan Degenfelder says painting is good for the soul and broadens the mind.
It’s been her life’s passion, and she wants people to feel happy after visiting her new gallery.
“You should receive something by viewing the work,” she said. “It should elicit a feeling in you, because art’s really personal.”
Opened last November, Degenfelder’s JEKYLL Gallery and Studio, 45 E. Sherman St., invites everyone to relish what they see behind its glass block windows.
“I just want them to enjoy,” she said. “Enjoy looking at things and enjoy what it took to get it here.”
The space displays paintings by both Degenfelder and Judi Mintzer, and cards designed by Maryann Ewing. It also features beaded jewelry created by Degenfelder using Lucite, plus rare and vintage beads from the 1920s to 1970s.
“I really love beads and have been a collector for several decades,” she said. “I amassed a huge quantity of the vintage.”

A DISPLAY features jewelry made by Degenfelder from Lucite, as well as vintage beads from the past century.

As such, she admits it’s hard when a piece sells because she knows she won’t find those particular beads again. She can talk to customers about each of them: the French faceted rose, the Lucite moon and the Lucite with gold threads, the harlequin, the vintage Swarovski, the glass bubble and the German beads.
But painting remains her biggest passion.
“(That’s) where the real me is,” she said. “I’ve just been a painter for so long, that’s where the real creative force, or the real creative urge is, is for painting.”
The artist’s life spans an assortment of experiences, including three published novels and a career in aeronautics. Degenfelder was an illustrator and graphic designer for NASA’s Space Shuttle program, working with companies like Lockheed Martin and United States Boosters, before quitting to paint professionally full-time.
After moving to Lebanon in 1999, she opened the Backroom Bead Shop and JEKL Gallery, at Jacob’s Well Coffee House, where Hazella Bake Shop now resides, at 878 S. Main St. Degenfelder later expanded to 865 Main St., but didn’t find enough support to keep her business running. Now she’s giving it one last shot, to see if Lebanon’s ready for her gallery.
Degenfelder’s work includes award-winning landscapes, but she considers herself a figurative painter, having loved the human form as art since her first life-drawing class. She creates most of her art in oil, but has also done some acrylic and pastels. She’s currently finishing a series focusing on early 20th-century child labor, a subject that moved her during recent research. It’s an example of where she finds her inspiration.
“All you have to do is open your eyes and look around,” she said. “There’s lots of things to inspire.”