A dream of local artist Ben Beck finally came into reality on February 14th, 2014, the day Sans MOCO Art Gallery officially opened after the hard work and long hours put in by volunteers. For those unfamiliar with the impressive space located on the top floor of Fresh Grounds Coffee House, the Gallery features an individual’s or small collaboration of artists’ work. The display may be of sculptures, sketches, paintings, quilts, or even a combination of things. Shows last approximately six weeks and are vastly different but always of great quality.

Lindsey Werger, who has a degree in art history and is the Gallery’s curator, had never met Beck until after the Gallery’s opening. Beck and Werger struck an instant friendship through their shared passion for art. Many Fresh Grounds attendees have been surprised and pleased upon discovery of the Gallery. Werger asserts, “This Gallery is a blessing to our town.” She is “confident it is here for a reason.” She feels more like herself when she is in the Gallery and believes many others feel the same way.

Sans MOCO, meaning ‘without modern conformity,’ is a reference to Romans 12:2, a verse Beck actually has tattooed around his arm. Sans MOCO was created with hopes of reaching out to creative minds who may feel like they are on the fringe of society, a feeling Beck had often experienced when he was younger. It reinforces and encourages people to follow their passions and honor God in the process. It also offers a chance for those who do not know God to leave thinking about Him. Beck’s motive ultimately had been to create a comfortable and inspiring environment for relationships and communication to prosper. The Gallery acts as a fantastic opportunity for talented people to display their hearts while also creating an engaging situation for art fanatics to discuss and share the experience.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.
— Romans 12:2
The studio was meant to inspire, and inspire it does. (Photo Credit: Dr. Kevin Smith)

The studio was meant to inspire, and inspire it does. (Photo Credit: Dr. Kevin Smith)

The Gallery comprises half of Sans MOCO. Just as great an opportunity are the classes available through the Atelier. Art is the objective but new-found friendships and communication are often the side effects. An interview with Devin Sulick, a senior at Greenville High School, and his mother, Terri Hoffacker, contained lots of laughs and revealed truths that can’t be found on a flyer. They have been taking a drawing class together because of Devin’s aspirations to pursue computer animation. Sans MOCO has proved itself to be not only a great tool for Devin to build a foundation and hone his skill but also a unique and fun experience for their family to share.

Hoffacker and Sulick both agreed on how much they have been enjoying the class. Hoffacker took art throughout high school, but this class allowed her and her son to learn in a more personal and in-depth way than in a crowded classroom. In fact, they have even had classes outside to get a fresh perspective. Sulick believes the drawing class will help him to be able to see things more analytically in the future. Beck has pushed him to notice every shadow and every line when examining a picture or the way light falls through buildings outside, things we usually take for granted in our busy lives. Sulick is a senior who will soon be away at college but Hoffacker is considering continuing with the Atelier on her own.

You don’t have to be an artist to enjoy what Sans MOCO has to offer. The Gallery and Atelier both offer chances to improve your skill, simply have fun, or appreciate and encourage someone with talent. If you are interested in getting involved or learning more, please feel free to stop in the Gallery and check it out.