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Ariel Buck Dooley
Rob Prellwitz
Anita Bradley
Will Beger
John MacManus

Local resident. Born Dublin Ireland. Came to United States in 1982.


Award winning Urban Designer. Co-founded the design studio Altamanu in Chicago with a focus on public work including the design of parks, schools, plazas, and the streets that connect them. Known for community involvement and the inclusion of major pieces of public art in his projects. 


Currently experimenting with various media with a focus on Chinese and Japanese ink landscape painting.



        Rob Prellwitz has been a lifelong resident of La Porte, Indiana.  He resides with his wife, Annie who is a retired Music Therapist and piano instructor.  His oldest son, Luc, is the Chef du Cuisine at he nationally renown restaurant “Beast” in Portland, Oregon.  Son, George Matthew is a singer/songwriter who performs lead vocals and lead guitar for his band “Midwest Hype” and also performs as a solo artist.


Rob’s career as an artist started when he was first able to hold a pencil/crayon in this hand.  He earned his Bachelor or Fine Arts Degree from the University of Notre Dame and Master of Arts degree from Valparaiso University.  


He retired after forty years as a secondary education teacher.  In addition to working as an art instructor, he also taught special needs students.


In the 90’s he, in cooperation with the La Porte City Park and Recreation Department, and a fellow teacher, started the first summer art education program in this region.  Designed to foster the creative resources of young people, pre-school though middle school, Rob established a now widely duplicated genre.


His work, like with most artists, has changed over the years.  Primarily he is a realist.  There have been ventures into Impressionism and Abstract Expressionism.  His subject matter is varied.  He has a special fondness for drawing the human form and portraiture.  But nature and man-made structures also present themselves as models for this art.


Rob has created pieces using many familiar media—oils, watercolors, acrylics, and ceramics.  However, he has always enjoyed the meditative characteristic of drawing.  While the ability to draw is needed as a foundation for any artist, regardless of their medium, drawing is seldom the medium used to create a final, complete work.  Tackling the subtle transitions from light to dark and using the line quality nature of drawing can and do combine to make highly realistic, three dimensional renderings.  When the drawing implements add color to the piece, the color becomes the defining element, while the intricacy of the drawing maintains its integrity.  This process from black and white to color pencil drawing is the artistic evolution through which Rob has gone.


The color pencil technique Rob uses requires several hours of focused attention.  A 11” x 14” piece takes forty to fifty hours to finish.  Many colors are overlaid to create rich, deep hues.  Minute detail is attended to, to smoothly transition light and shade and color to adjacent color.  The satisfaction is in the overall process and in sharing the end result.

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Jeannie Lacocque

As long as I can remember I have always needed to express myself through art and dance. I wove beautiful raw yarn, I sculpted using clay, plaster, and wood. I did hand building with clay. I took some classes and generally  immersed myself in photography for years. It took this meandering road to become an acrylic artist. I watched every YouTube video I could to learn different techniques in acrylic pouring. I poured paint onto canvas, tiles, and rocks often for 5 hours a day. It was so exciting to move paint around on a canvas and other materials.

Learning to mix paint, broadening my understanding of color theory, and using different mediums became my consuming passion. 


I also love teaching. I love to see my students’ faces gleam with happiness when their paint moves across a canvas and they create beautiful designs. Sometimes my mistakes turned into my favorite pieces. This type of acrylic painting is not always predictable but it’s also forgiving. Sure it takes skill and knowledge but so much of this kind of painting is like “the music of what happens”. It is an adventure that is so exhilarating that I want to share it with you.

Come and paint with me!

Loretta Friend

New paintings to come


Loretta is the owner of Elsie Earl Studios and art dabbler.


My passion is providing the opportunity for others to try, learn, share, enjoy, and gather around various forms of art.


A little before and after raising five kids I spent my work hours in different forms of media: sign painting, newspaper, commercial and public (NPR) radio, and community and public (PBS) television. Over the years I have spent my free time in theater, improv, art, film, and commercial and digital art.


As my full-time work ended I thought it would be fun to have an art space that offered people the opportunity to paint plaster objects.  I enjoyed doing that as a child at summer camp and brought my own kids to paint at the Whatsit Shop in Dexter, MI.


I ordered the first shipment of plaster objects at the end 2015 at my new art space in Ann Arbor.  Families, senior groups, day camps, and couples came to paint.  Eventually various art classes were offered in water color, abstract, mono print, different painting styles after famous painters, collage, etc.


I moved to New Buffalo a year later in 2016 and opened a new art space in the social hall of St. John’s on Buffalo Street which included a gallery in the banquet hall.  I added a pottery studio which stayed open for individuals to work in while the rest of the art space gradually closed during Covid in 2020-21.  With the help of friends and gallery artists I finally moved everything out of the building in the summer of 2021.


One year later in July 2022 I purchased this present space.  After five years of showing other artists’ work in my former gallery I have finally mustered up the courage to show my own photography and some prints of paintings that I did for various fund raisers in Ann Arbor.  


I find myself enjoying mostly painting buildings possibly because of a plein air drawing class I took when I was 21.  I do have a painting given to me by that instructor, Joe Mayer, whom I had visited in 2016 for the first time since that summer class in 1975.  I had shown and sold his work in the Buffalo Street gallery.  He has since passed away.

Josephine Bellalta

Local resident. Born London, England, raised in Chile and the United States.


Award winning Landscape Architect and Urban Designer. Founded design studio Altamanu in Chicago with a focus on public work including the design of parks, schools, plazas, and the streets that connect them. Known for community involvement and the inclusion of major pieces of public art in her projects.


Recently she has returned to her work as a ceramicist.

Artists’ Statement  (John MacManus)


Recently I became fascinated by Chinese and Japanese ink and wash landscape painting and the ability of artists to capture and convey a variety of landscape forms with a single color.


There is a great emphasis on the ability to capture the perceived “spirit” or “essence” of a subject over direct imitation. Features of a landscape are often reduced to a graphic symbol that conveys deep meaning.


The waterfall, a common element of these paintings, also has great meaning in most cultures. It can symbolize life, purity, fertility, abundance, and transformation.

Water is often created by leaving a white space emerging from the background color. I reversed this and tried to use a single color to capture the essence of the waterfall and to reflect on the movement of a brush in a single stroke.

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