An opening reception at the Alliance Art Gallery (112 N. Main, Hannibal) will be held Saturday, Sept. 10, from 5 to 8 p.m.

Artistic passion can erupt at any moment, even in a college class. Sarah Shoot, the Alliance Art Gallery's September guest artist, discovered that while taking a fiber arts class at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. Working with paper and cloth, she began to “collage her way” into a whole new career — full-time artist rather than art teacher. Winning her first award from a well-respected judge in a juried show provided the tipping point.

As she recalls, she told herself, “I’m going to go for it. That’s what I’m going to do.”

And since 2000, that’s precisely what she’s done. Not surprisingly, one medium led to another. Today she works with fiber, paper, found objects, and metal, creating 2D pieces on wood. And repurposing itself can sometimes become repurposed. Popping a piece of metal off a barn, she saw its potential as jewelry, thus opening a whole new venue for her art.

Today she lives with her husband and two daughters on a five-acre sustainable farm with free-ranging chickens and turkeys. She shows up regularly at the local farmers’ market with organic produce, poultry, eggs, baked goods, and of course … art.

The Alliance Gallery featured member artist, J. Barry Wright, still remembers receiving his first camera at the age of ten. He never let go of his instant fascination with images, eventually getting a Master’s Degree from the Professional Photographers of America. Working in both color and black-and-white images, he hones in on the unexpected, the unusual in the ordinary, the singular. What he captures, in and of itself, often brings Gallery visitors to a complete halt, so drawn in are they to his work.

Wright explains, “I think that one of the reasons I find photography so appealing is that each image is real and a snippet of beauty taken from actual live surroundings.” He adds with a laugh, “And quite possibly the fact I could not draw to save my life.”

But the true unique aspect that Wright adds rests in his subtle enhancements, transitioning the a real life photograph, often of an ordinary image, into unique artistic expression.

Once a portrait photographer, today Wright follows dirt and gravel roads to out-of-the-way places, constantly seeking a way to see the world, particularly the Midwest, through the lens of his camera, bringing it back for us to enjoy.

An opening reception at the Alliance Art Gallery (112 N. Main, Hannibal) will be held Saturday, Sept. 10, from 5 to 8 p.m. A photograph by J. Barry Wright will be given away in a free drawing held at 6 p.m.. This reception coincides with Hannibal’s Second Saturday Gallery Night.