Every parking space in downtown Dunsmuir was filled as art lovers turned out in full force to see the work of six local artists.

Dunsmuir came out of winter hibernation last Saturday when the Siskiyou Arts Museum hosted a double art opening after their annual month-long January closure. Every parking space in downtown Dunsmuir was filled as art lovers turned out in full force to see the work of six local artists.

Cheryl Petty’s show entitled “Around Town” was comprised of a sizable body of work featuring plein air paintings of scenes in and around Dunsmuir from 2007-2009. A longtime Dunsmuir resident, Petty said she first discovered the town when camping and vacationing in the area many years ago.

In addition to capturing many familiar scenes with her rich, signature, Van Gogh-inspired style, Petty has also made her mark in the landscape of Dunsmuir’s history through her many community involvements. She was the founder of “Dunsmuir Art Walk” and “Taste of Dunsmuir.” Petty was also a former Dunsmuir Chamber of Commerce president, as well as the owner of the former Window Box Bonsai Accents & Art Gallery.

In addition to being an artist, Petty is also an author who has written and published a trilogy of novels about Chinese espionage, inspired from the year when she lived and worked in Beijing. Petty said she is currently working on 35 illustrations for a science fiction book which she is nearly finished writing.

Petty said, “I always have like five or six projects that are in various stages of progress. But I like to have a product at the end. I like to be able to say, ‘This is a book, and I made it. This is a painting, and I made it. This is a cake, and I made it.’ I like to make things.”

Petty’s “Around Town” show, which is sponsored by Bob and Ellen Bonning, will remain on exhibit in the SAM gift shop through Saturday, March 8.

The theme of this month’s art show in SAM’s main gallery space is “Civil Twilight,” and was the inspiration of SAM board member and volunteer Michael Howell. “Civil Twilight” refers to that time of day when the sun has set, but there is still enough daylight by which to be able see and do things. One of Howell’s pieces of art in the show was a picture of an illuminated streetlamp at dusk. Howell pointed out how it was reminiscent of all the times children used to be told by their mothers to “come home when the street lights go on.”

The theme encompassed a wide range of artistic ideas represented by the participating artists. Greg Mohan, a fine woodwork craftsman formerly specializing in interior woodwork, has recently taken up the medium of metal sculpting. Mohan said he was drawn to working in the medium because he wanted to be able to create large works of art that could weather the outdoor elements. Three of his sculptures are currently on display in the big gallery at SAM, along with a large painting of a bear by Mohan, which has the bronze-color patina suggestive of metal.

Mohan’s wife, Christine Hartmann is an artist and scientist with a PhD in medical physics who has worked in cancer research and counterterrorism. She has several large paintings on display in the show.

Hartmann said all of her artwork is expressive of her work as director of Program Development Support Office at Lawrence Livermore National Lab in Livermore. For example, Hartmann explained that her painting of an owl symbolizes the need for wisdom for finding solutions to resolve the big issues facing humanity.

Artist Katie James created several mixed media pieces for the show. James created each of her vibrantly colorful, jewel-tone, mixed media paintings using a multi-step “soap relief” process.

Dunsmuir artist Susanne Ewing also exhibited her digital artwork in the show.

Both James and Ewing, and the other “Civil Twilight” artists each donated a piece of their work for a silent auction, the proceeds of which will go to support SAM. The bidding will remain open until the exhibit closes on Saturday, April 4.

The “Civil Twilight” show will remain on display for public view through Saturday, April 4. The SAM gallery and gift shop winter hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m.