Virginia Artist turns Covid & Cancer Catastrophe into Gratitude in Action

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Sandhi Schimmel Gold created a magical cavern of color, craft and fine art in her Midlothian neighborhood. At the end of March, she is closing her gallery due to a cancer diagnosis, and the complications of holding gallery events and shows during a pandemic. While her gallery is still open, Sandhi is making efforts to give back to the community in several ways.

The creative process is what gives me joy. Once each piece of art is done, I set it free for the world to enjoy.

Fine artist Sandhi Schimmel Gold opened a small, colorful art studio and gallery in 2019. It was a promising time for the Midlothian-based fine artist to open a business where she could not only create, but also display her colorful art work, and feature the work of many other artists.

Eclectica! Art Gallery, a gazebo styled building in historic Sycamore Square was transformed into an explosion of color and textures. It features fine art, craft, fiber, glass, sculptures, mosaics, furniture and more. Everything made by hand, everything either created by or curated by Sandhi Schimmel Gold.

Schimmel Gold has an international following, has work in numerous fine art galleries and has been commissioned by a variety of national and international corporations to create eco-friendly fine art. She is the original "green" fine artist who developed a technique to utilize paper that would otherwise go waste and upcycle the paper to create colorful and intricate fine art. She has been recycling paper to create portraits, landscapes and abstract art for over 25 years.

The artist hand cuts junk mail, postcards, greeting cards, packaging, calendars, etc. into small paper "tiles," that are affixed to her original paintings. Her work is in the private collection of numerous celebrities, in private homes throughout the world, in corporate headquarters and permanent museum collections. Sandhi has often been featured in the media; online, the radio, in magazines, on PBS and television, including Access Hollywood.

When the gallery was about to open its first national juried show in March 2020, "Vernal Equinox," Virginia Governor Northam shut down the state due to Covid-19. The show was cancelled and the gallery was closed for two months. Business never got back to normal.

In August, Sandhi received a breast cancer diagnosis. Over the next several months forllowing surgery, Sandhi closed the gallery as she underwent chemotherapy. The first treatment landed her in the ICU for several days. Without the dedication of a huge group of doctors and nurses, she might not be alive today. After her second treatment, she developed a serious infection. Once again, medical staff acted quickly to help.

This terrible set of circumstances gave the artist an opportunity to rethink her purpose and future. Sandhi is a prolific creator. Not only in paint and paper, but also as a 3-D artist, making mosaics, fiber art, jewelry and more. She creates art to give pleasure to others.

In 2020, the artist donated original work to nonprofit organizations, including a portrait of Rosa Parks she donated to Girls for a Change. This month, the artist wishes to donate a portrait of Billie Holiday to a local nonprofit organization or school that serves the Black community.

To honor the numerous medical professionals that were and are part of her ongoing treatment, as well as those working through a pandemic, including hospital workers of all stripes, Schimmel Gold is offering a free original work of art. Schimmel Gold and her daughter, under the guise of “Ibby and Ommie” created hundreds of small, colorful works called “Treasure Tiles.” These pieces are on canvas, and each 3-D mixed media treasure tile is embellished with paper, gold leafing, mirrors, and a variety of personal objects and souvenirs. They might feature toys, antiques, vintage jewelry, beads, rhinestones, wood, mahjong tiles, tools, dolls, etc. No two are alike, and they come in a rainbow of colors. Hospital workers — from nurses and doctors to janitors, administrators, and catering staff can visit the gallery to choose an original work.

Sandhi is also offering cancer survivors a 50% discount on ANY artwork that features the color pink.

Although Sandhi will continue to create her glorious, colorful art, the gallery will be closed at the end of March. Sandhi will be available for commissions. Collectors are asked to follow her website for updates.

Visitors are asked to make an appointment online at http://www.eclecticaartgallery.com before visiting the gallery and are required to wear a mask inside the gallery space.

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Sandhi Schimmel Gold

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