by Len Lear
A Flourtown artist who was severely injured in two car accidents will have her work for sale in numerous local businesses starting next week, and her art will support three great causes; she will be donating 5% of sales to the Springfield Historic Society along with 5% of sales to the Black Horse Inn and 5% to the Friends of Historic Bethlehem Pike to continue their mission of maintaining the historic fabric of Bethlehem Pike.
Anthe Capitan-Valais’ rendering of the historic Black Horse Inn on Bethlehem Pike previously inspired and aided in its restoration. She is continuing to lend her talents to help the restoration process, this time with the help of several shops in Flourtown.
Artworks by Anthe will be on exhibit for the remainder of January and through February in several local stores. An opening reception will kick things off at Arnica & Ivy Day Spa, 800 Bethlehem Pike in Flourtown (215-233-0235) on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 19 and 20, 4 to 6 p.m. Local cabaret performer Anne Ellithorpe will be singing a few numbers both days at about 5 p.m.
When asked about her work, Anthe replied, “Creating work is much like breathing; I simply do it because I must to stay alive … Nothing in life is exactly what it appears to be, and art in my estimation should reflect the same as life, the unexpected.”
Many years ago Anthe, who graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1995 in her 40s, was a talented dancer. However, she was hit by a drunk driver in 1981 and was so badly injured that it took her seven years to recover, although she said her recovery was never complete, only 80 to 85 percent.
“I was parked in Clifton Heights (Delaware County) when a drunk driver hit me,” Anthe explained. “It was his third drunk driving incident. The car pinned me in, but fortunately it was right in front of a fire station. After they got me out of the car, it blew up. The drunk driver got six months at a work farm but not for the drunk driving. It was because he assaulted a cop who questioned him.”
That accident clearly put an end to Anthe’s dancing career but not to the passion she had felt when dancing, which remained within. Now through her love of art, she is able to once again express the movements she remembered so vividly through the digital collages she creates along with her paintings.
In addition to her earlier dancing, Anthe has always been an artist. “When I was a child, I would take the cardboard pieces out of my dad’s laundered shirts to paint and draw upon,” she said.
“I couldn’t wait for the next delivery of clean shirts as it would be loaded with many a blank canvas for me to make my creations. I used to get paint-by-number kits, and I was never one to stay in the lines, so with those paints, my imagination and the cardboard from my dad’s shirts, I would paint.”
In 1993 Anthe was involved in another serious auto accident. Again while she was parked, her car was slammed by a Septa bus. She said the resulting injuries “put an end to my printmaking.”
Born in Detroit, Anthe lived in Michigan until she was 10, then lived in Ohio until the age of 24; then a short stay in Long Island, New York, and then Delaware County, where her near-fatal accident happened. She met her husband in 1982, moved to Chestnut Hill and was married in 1983. The couple has lived in Erdenheim since 1986.
Anthe has managed to merge her love of dance with her talent as an artist. “After becoming a professional artist, I was invited to attend a residency in St. Scholastique, Montreal, Canada,” she explained. “During my stay I was taken by my hosts to the Winnipeg Royal Ballet. where I saw a rendition of Alice in Wonderland called ‘Wonderland.’ It was a contemporary ballet without costuming which used lighting to chase the dancers on the stage. This was primarily the only light in the hall. I decided to draw while sitting in the audience, in the dark, while I watched the performance. When the lights came on and my drawings were revealed, I was in awe of the drawings.”
Lately Anthe has created works inspired by monitoring classes or attending live dance performances at Swarthmore College, where she is now a guest artist in the performing arts department. She will soon be affiliated with Eastern University as well.
She has also taught drawing to at-risk children with the Chester Children’s Chorus. Some of her latest works were created by drawing directly on the iPad during classes and performances or in her studio, creating a digital sketchbook.
These pieces are then put into her computer, manipulated by adding colors and then printed. She has created an endless array of works in variations of colors and patterns.
The works that will be on view during the fundraiser for the three local non-profits are mixed media works on paper, paintings on panel and digital collages from her latest collection and series, ” I Dance in My Heart,” which will be on exhibit at Arnica and Ivy Day Spa.
Anthe will also have other events and assorted works at Barbara B’s Jewels, floral etchings and watercolors at Botanical Expressions, Cisco’s Bar and Grille, Pulse Dance Studio (in the Acme Shopping Center in Flourtown), Picture Framing Gallery, Salon-Salon, Scarlet Begonias, collages at GiGi’s Consignment Boutique and other locations to be announced. Check with various locations for times and dates.
For more information or to check out Anthe’s blog, visit www.artworksbyanthe.com