|East Lansing considering
collaboration with Artpace on
afffordable housing for creative types
September 30, 2021
Saper Galleries displays for-sale inventory online with live chat feature -- www.fox47news.com/ -- November 30, 2020
Spend Locally: Saper Galleries and Custom Framing -- eastlansinginfo.news/ -- November 30, 2010
40 Years of the Saper Galleries: Art and Technology -- WKAR Radio -- May 28, 2018
Reality Captured -- Lansing City Pulse -- August 24, 2017
East Lansing working to continue support of local art galleries -- The State News -- December 8, 2016
Meet Roy Saper and Nell Kuhnmuench -- The Estates Magazine -- August 2016
Business Update: Saper Galleries -- City of East Lansing Business update E-newsletter -- Summer 2016
Saper Galleries...Brings Art...to Downtown East Lansing -- EastLansingInfo.org -- June 13, 2016
A Passion for Community, Saper Galleries Celebrates 30 years -- Lansing City Pulse -- June 2, 2016
Saper Galleries Business Beat -- The Estates Magazine -- February 2016
Saper Galleries to Host Winter Creative Mixer Tonight -- EastLansinginfo.Org -- January 29, 2016
Rare glass from the West Bank finds a home in East Lansing -- WKAR Radio interview for Current State -- January 7, 2016
The Story Behind The World’s Largest Collection of Hebron Glass Now Displayed at Saper Galleries -- The New Citizens Press -- December 27, 2015
Ancient Glass - Saper Galleries showcases glass art from Hebron -- Lansing City Pulse -- December 1, 2015
Artist Meet and Greet at Saper Galleries: Lou Heiser's Vistas of Michigan -- EastLansingInfo.org -- October 2, 2015
How deep the rabbit hole goes: New Saper exhibit threatens to peel the skin off the real world -- Lansing CityPulse -- December 10, 2014
Personal Touch is Key to International Success for Local Gallery -- Greater Lansing Business Monthly -- August 2014
First Sunday Gallery Walk -- Lansing State Journal online -- August 3, 2014
Today's Feature: Paintings of Parisian Artist Fabienne Delacroix -- WhoFish -- August 1, 2014
Thelma Cardon Saper - Remembering My Mother's Life -- Eulogy by Roy Saper May 9, 2014
Michigan's Beauty on Display at East Lansing Gallery -- East Lansing Towne Courier -- March 16, 2014
Art Comes Alive Art Competition -- Art Design Consultants, Cincinnati, Ohio -- June, 2013
We're Going to Keep on Going -- City Pulse -- June 5, 2013
The Art of Local Sustainability -- East Lansing Food Co-op TV -- May 14, 2013
Saper Galleries to Exhibit Costa Rican Boxes -- Lansing State Journal -- May 3, 2013
Finding Fair Trade in East Lansing -- City Pulse -- March 27, 2013
Roy Saper recognized by East Lansing City Council -- February 14, 2013
Exhibit Featuring New Work of Magic Realism Painter Rob Gonsalves Opening at the Saper Galleries -- Mlive -- February 1, 2013
Saper Galleries unveils "Magic Realism" Pieces -- The State News -- February 4, 2013
Saper Galleries Brings Global Art to Capital Region -- Greater Lansing Business Monthly -- February 2013
Saper Galleries to Exhibit Enchanting World of Rob Gonsalves --Lansing State Journal -- January 29, 2013 and Towne Courier February 3, 2013.
Hebron Glass Collection on Display in East Lansing -- The State News -- October 5, 2012
Rare Hebron Glass Collection to be Exhibited in East Lansing -- Towne Courier -- August 31, 2012
Face It! Exhibit open now -- MLive -- June 4, 20122
Saper Galleries Hosts Dr. Seuss Exhibition -- Lansing State Journal -- March 2, 2012
Roy Saper, Juror for Art Comes Alive Competition, 2012 -- ADC web site -- February, 2012
East Lansing's Saper Galleries will exhibit unique boxes, bowls, trays -- Towne Courier -- August 28, 2011
Saper Galleries - Art Seller Always Comes Through -- Towne Courier -- June 26, 2011
Capital Area Local First Spotlight: Saper Galleries -- Capital Area Local First -- January, 2011
Saper Galleries in East Lansing exhibits Israeli's work -- East Lansing Towne Courier -- September 12, 2010
Gallery Displays Michigan Talent, Pride -- The State News -- January 14, 2010
Rockford artist's work featured at exhibition -- Rockford Independent -- January 2, 2010
Framer Helps Food Bank -- Professional Picture Framers Association publication -- January, 2010
Gallery Wins National Award -- Mensa Bulletin -- October 2009
Rooftop Haven - Saper Galleries grows produce for food bank -- Lansing State Journal -- September 5, 2009
Saper Receives Much-Deserved National Attention... -- City Manager's Blog -- August 25, 2009
Saper Galleries Earns Top Recognition -- Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau -- August 12, 2009
Photo of Saper Galleries solar panels and part of roof garden -- Treehugger.com -- August, 2009
Saper Galleries' "Dr. Seuss" wins national honor -- Towne Courier -- August 15, 2009
Saper's Gallery: Where art is all that matters -- Towne Courier -- June 28, 2009
Saper Galleries puts a personal touch on art dealing -- LansingCityPulse -- March 25, 2009
'Oasis' found at Saper Galleries -- The State News -- March 3, 2009
Gallery Exhibits Staying Power -- The Greater Lansing Business Monthly -- January, 2009
Saper Showcases Some Seuss Surprises -- The New Citizens Press -- December 7, 2008
Saper Builds Business Into an East Lansing Mainstay -- Lansing State Journal -- November 17, 2008
Roy Saper's 30th Year -- Admirer of great art, talent -- East Lansing Towne Courier -- November 16, 2008
Saper Exhibit Shows the Many Sides of Dr. Seuss -- Lansing CityPulse -- November 5, 2008
Seuss at Saper - Explore the bright wit, art of the man... -- Lansing State Journal -- November 1, 2008
Treasures of Michigan -- August, 2008
Art in a Green Setting -- Michigan Retailers -- July/August, 2008
Painter Callihan's Impressionist Work Tranquil -- Lowdown/State News -- November 15, 2007
Gallery to Show Michigan Artist -- East Lansing Towne Courier -- November 4, 2007
Best Store Event -- Decor Magazine -- October 2007
Mid-Michigan Collects 25th Anniversary with Roy Saper -- Art Reach of Mid-Michigan -- April, 2007
Take 5 with Roy Saper of Saper Galleries -- Lansing State Journal -- July 17, 2006
Picasso Exhibit Impresses -- Noise -- May 31, 2006
Authentic Picasso at Saper Galleries -- Lansing State Journal -- May 4, 2006
Picasso exhibit juggles grace, symbolism and whimsy -- Lansing City Pulse -- May 2, 2006
[Nine articles and broadcasts about the 2006 Picasso exhibition at Saper Galleries] -- May, 2006
Bold Art Born of Muscles, Breath, and Sand -- Lansing CityPulse -- November 9, 2005
Portrait of a Landscape Artist -- Lansing State Journal -- July 20, 2005
A Room with 100 Windows -- Lansing CityPulse -- June 1, 2005
Gallery Resembles Mini Louvre -- The State News, Michigan State University -- March 23, 2005
Bending the World with Magic Realism -- Lansing CityPulse -- December 1, 2004
Hosts Magic Realism Exhibit
Lansing State Journal -- November 11,
Inside Saper Galleries -- PMA Magazine -- November, 2003
Framer Receives Award - Roy C.
Saper -- Art Business News -- May,
Saper Galleries and Custom Framing Turns 25 -- Lansing City Pulse -- May 28, 2003
Gifts Find Many Uses -- Spotlight East
Lansing Public Schools -- June, 2001
Tunis Ponsen Exhibition -- Krasl Art Center, St. Joseph, Michigan -- November 19, 1999
Saper Galleries: Providing Valuable Works of Art -- Greater Lansing Business Monthly -- December 1, 1998
Gallery Addition -- The State News, Michigan State University -- June 4, 1998
Picasso and Rembrandt Show -- The State News, Michigan State University -- April 17, 1997
Saper Galleries, an art gallery in Downtown East Lansing, has listed all its 1,500 works of art—by 150 artists from 15 countries—on its website, organized by artist name, for a user-friendly consumer experience. Owner Roy Saper says that it has taken years to list everything.
"We started some time ago, but now actively, on really a daily basis, we are adding more and more to our website. We're also engaging with social media to share with people new additions to the gallery as they arrive, which happens every single week," Saper says.
Saper and his team have been on the forefront for many years, he says, using technology to share his inventory with consumers, not only in his community, but throughout the world.
"We package and ship the works out that day, so they can be received literally tomorrow, anywhere in the world, and we do that continually every single week from visitors throughout the country and beyond," Saper smiles.
Now, especially considering the rules and regulations regarding COVID-19 safety, art-lovers can view pieces from the comfort of their own homes. On sapergalleries.com, one can search by artist, find descriptions and sizes of each piece of art and now also ask questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"So, if you're at home and it's past
midnight and you have a question about a work of art,
just hit the live chat link and you'll be chatting
with someone, and it very well likely will be me,
still up at that hour, adding works of art to our
website," Saper says. "We'll answer questions
immediately that way or by email."
The inventory at Saper Galleries has been hand-selected by Roy Saper himself, and there are a large number of works for sale that are well under $100, he says. One can also find local artists on the Michigan Collection page of the website, which features at least a dozen artists within an hour or so drive from the gallery.
"Our focus is on quality—works of art that people really would enjoy displaying in their own home. We don't buy someone just because of their name," Saper says. "We only acquire works of art by people who create works of art that I'd enjoy having in my own home."
The driving force for this art collector is to make his consumers' experience as efficient and enjoyable as possible, whether the art is for the consumers themselves or a gift for a friend or loved one this holiday season.
"We're trying to be as responsive as we can to what a consumer would want, and if a consumer is at the computer at the early hours of the morning, then we want to be there for them so that when others are waking up, we're packaging a work of art and we're running it to a local carrier to get it to your home, and, if desired, we'll put it in our car and drive it to your front porch," Saper says.
Although the art is online, Saper says one can still safely visit the physical gallery Monday through Saturday, The parking for the gallery is free.
If you’ve got a hard-to-shop for person on your Christmas list this year, check out Saper Galleries and Custom Framing. The world-renowned, award-winning brick-and-mortar art gallery features an ever-changing inventory of art displays and custom matting and framing services.
Gallery Owner Roy Saper prides himself on his business being a one-stop-shop for unexpected, unique gifts. “A beauty of artwork as a gift is that it is not consumed or put away and forgotten, but rather is displayed, viewed, and enjoyed every day, forever,” he said.
Saper created a cheat-sheet of his top five gift ideas in the store, including hand-blown glass vases from Hebron in the Palestinian West Bank. “From this region of difficulty comes the beauty that we are displaying at Saper Galleries and that hundreds have purchased as gifts and for themselves to view always,” Saper said.
Other popular hand-blown glass vases and pitchers come from Californian artist Rick Hunter. Michigan-themed art is always a favorite, with prints and paintings of Michigan artist Kathleen Chaney Fritz – whose work is filled with lakes, dunes, and Mackinac Island. Wooden boxes made of cocobolo wood from Costa Rica, including nested boxes make the list, as well as hand-painted, wooden boxes by Brazilian artist Monica Martinez.
Gift certificates for professional custom matting and framing services make a unique gift for those with photos, letters, art, awards, and memorabilia in storage. Since Saper’s been around since 1978 and seen many other galleries come and go in that time, the business has years of testimonials, customer referrals, and handwritten thank you cards from happy customers, who Saper now calls family.
“Every student who wrote me a thank-you note for a presentation I gave to their class may be happy to know that not only did I read each of their letters, but I have them all saved as they are precious gifts that I appreciate and value,” said Saper. “Just as I do every single transaction that we’ve had here – the many tens of thousands of works of art and framing services we’ve provided to people throughout the globe.”
Saper Galleries and Custom
Framing is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with
free parking at the rear entrance (433 Albert Avenue).
Customers can preview a majority of the inventory on their website and
purchase orders over the phone or via email. Same-day service
is provided for shipping orders, and curbside pickup is also
When I walked into
Saper Galleries on Monday, Roy Saper, the gallery’s
owner, was wrestling with an elegant Eames Lounge Chair,
positioning it under a skylight to watch the solar
eclipse. He welcomed me, and for about 20 minutes, we
sat there and watched the moon pass across the sun. Then
he suggested we look at something almost as beautiful
and almost as rare as the natural phenomenon we’d just
observed: Saper Galleries’ newest collection of
hyper-realistic oil paintings.
“They’re just like the eclipse: you just look at them and marvel,” said Saper about the paintings of Manuel Higueras, Carlos Bruscianelli, Almunia de Miguel, Juan Carlos Ospina Ortiz and John-Mark Gleadow, the five hyperrealist artists on display at Saper Galleries.
“It’s that exacting level of precision that makes hyperrealism so amazing,” said Saper as we looked at one of Higueras’ oil paintings entitled “A Bunch of Grapes Plus One,” depicting a group of grapes so realistically that it could be a photo.
“It highlights every little detail, even the imperfections,” said Saper, and those imperfections are exactly what makes these paintings so realistic.
“One might say, ‘just do a photograph,’” said Saper, “but it’s not a matter of if you can paint something that looks like real life, but can you make it feel like real life? It’s a level of realism that goes beyond a photograph.”
As we made our way deeper into the gallery, Saper stopped at a painting by Bruscianelli depicting a glass vase full of fruit.
“It feels like you could reach into the pitcher and grab a piece of fruit,” marveled Saper. “But then you realize this is a two-dimensional painting.”
But don’t just
take Saper’s endorsement — even the
Bruscianelli has been attempting to emigrate to the
“After many months of negotiation, Bruscianelli has just obtained a work visa to come and paint for Saper Galleries,” Saper said. “In fact, our federal government has said he’s so good that we want him in our country,” he said, producing a copy of Bruscianelli’s emigration papers saying just that.
We walked on and examined the paintings of Gleadow that depicted faux-photographic oil renditions of book spines arranged neatly in a row.
“These are so good that a lady was in the gallery and she said she wanted this painting,” said Saper, pointing to a piece depicting ragged, used book spines. “And she said that this one had a flaw in it.”
Of course, there was no flaw, just an illusion created by paint and brush.
paintings have been around forever, it’s a near ancient
tradition, with origins in ancient
“Artists are kind of doing a circle; they’re coming back,” said Saper. “In the last 70 years, we’ve been moving away from still-life, hyperrealism and classical painting — there’s more abstraction today.”
And as Saper pointed out, much of art history had been dedicated to realism, with abstraction only becoming popular in the late 1800s. Today, realism often takes a back seat to different forms of Expressionism. Paintings like those Saper is highlighting, paintings that harken back to the High Renaissance when realism reigned supreme, seem to be out of fashion today.
“But now we’re seeing artists that were trained in this classical style say it’s okay to paint like this again,” said Saper. “Now we revere these hyperrealistic paintings as something new, but people were painting like this in the 1400s and 1500s. There are ebbs and flows in a lot of aspects of culture, this being one of them.”
As I finished up my tour of Saper Galleries, Saper made a joke about how eclipses are rare, but finding artists with this sort of extraordinary talent is even harder to come by.
Through November Monday - Saturday Saper Galleries
and Custom Framing
Roy Saper has been
bringing art to
'Wait. Hey, where's that 7-foot tall sculpture that weights hundreds of pounds?' And that's when I realized. - Roy Saper
Technology is the only way that business today can survive. No matter what business it is and we're proud to always be on the cutting edge - Roy Saper
The Estates Magazine, East Lansing, Michigan
(Click image below to see larger size text.)
(Click image below to see larger size text.)
Saper Galleries And East Arbor Architecture Bring Art, Architecture To Downtown EL
Authored on Monday, 13-Jun-2016
Author: Casandra Eriksen
Excerpted from ELI.
Photo: Roy Saper, framing manager Jennifer, and artist Lou Heiser at the opening of Vistas of Michigan: Oil Paintings of Lou Heiser, October 4, 2015
Saper Galleries, long a fixture in downtown Easy Lansing, celebrated its 30th anniversary in downtown East Lansing on Friday, June 3. Asked how he got started, Roy Saper said, “I opened Saper Galleries in response to the community’s enthusiastic support of the gallery which I was previously operating out of my home at 429 Bailey Street, adjacent to downtown East Lansing.”
Saper emphasized his lifelong love of art “I had been buying art since a teen (from baby-sitting and lawn mowing earnings) and after I came to East Lansing to study at MSU I continued buying art at auctions, selecting what I loved and wanted to own. In the early-to-mid 1970s others enjoyed the art in my collection and asked for my assistance to acquire artworks for them. By 1978 I created 20th Century Fine Arts, making available to collectors artwork that they told me they would like to own.”
He adds that his business only grew from there. “I continued to buy more artworks that I loved, displayed them in my home, and residents of the East Lansing community called to make appointments to visit and see the collection. Seven years later, in 1985, I realized that there was enough activity that I needed to expand from an appointment basis to a larger gallery with regular hours-and more staff than a sole picture framer who assisted me.”
Saper then hunted for a suitable piece of property for his expanding business. “I was shown locations of buildings in Okemos and elsewhere in the area but was not pleased with any existing building. I looked at the house where B/A Florist is (Grand River and Hagadorn) and saw the slate-roofed house as a possibility for the gallery and the smaller house in back as a possible framing facility. But that just wasn’t right for me. I considered what was then a vacant tuxedo rental facility which is now a FedEx location on Michigan Avenue near Harrison Roadhouse - but I wasn’t totally happy with that either.”
After some fruitless effort, Saper contacted the City of East Lansing and asked what was available. He was told that “…the only vacant parcel of property in downtown East Lansing was at the corner of Albert Avenue and Division Street, land that was overgrown with weeds reaching out onto the sidewalk, posts at the perimeter to keep cars off the vacant lot, and overgrown trees.” Saper then drove to the Detroit area to talk to the owner of Butterfield Theaters who owned the land at the time, and bought it from him for nearly three times for what he paid for his house.
“And now, 30 years later, I have far outgrown the 6,000 square feet (plus lower level) of the existing building and could easily use four-times what we have to better display the 1,500 artworks now in our inventory. I created the Gallery 30 years ago because our clients then-and now-have been so supportive of what we’ve made available to them.”
When asked what his goals are for the future of Saper Galleries, Saper said “I have goals of every day and the next. We will continue to serve the interests and needs of every person who wishes to acquire a work of art for their home or office or as a gift. For those who have artwork that needs to be cleaned, restored or repaired, we will continue to provide the proper treatment to ensure the long term preservation of the artwork.”
He emphasized the diversity of the work at Saper Galleries, stating that their “goals are to add more professional staff so that every task asked of us, from appraisals and research, to providing expert witness testimony in court cases involving art fraud, are handled quickly, professionally, and accurately, so that all of our clients receive the services they request-and more.”
...Saper Galleries is located at 433 Albert Avenue in downtown East Lansing. For more information you can visit their website http://www.sapergalleries.com/
A Passion for Community
Saper Galleries Celebrates 30 Years
BY CALLIE OPPERTHURSDAY, June 2, 2016 — Thirty years ago, Roy Saper opened the doors of Saper Galleries and Custom Framing in downtown East Lansing.
Lansing City Pulse
The gallery celebrates the anniversary with a free event Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The gallery’s collection features over 1,500 works of art by over 150 artists from 15 countries.
Roy Saper, founder and owner of the gallery, has been involved in the East Lansing community since he came to Michigan State University as a 17-year-old freshman in 1969. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. Saper discovered his passion for art when he bought three Picasso reproductions at Harvard Coop in Cambridge when he was a preteen.
“I have always loved, admired and have been passionate about the amazing talent of the great artists whose works I was exposed to in significant museums of quality art,” Saper said.
Two of the museums he frequented were the Art Institute in Chicago and the Flint Institute of Art.
“I started buying what I could, attended art auctions as a teen and bought artwork I could afford,” Saper said. “Tens of thousands of transactions later, I have placed original artworks in homes, offices hotels, and other facilities worldwide — and do so every day from downtown East Lansing.”
After graduating from MSU in 1978, Roy Saper started an in-home gallery on Bailey Street in East Lansing. In 1985, he bought land in downtown East Lansing and designed Saper Galleries and Custom Framing. The gallery opened in 1986.
“I am at the gallery Monday through Saturday and the first Sunday of every month,” Saper said. “When I’m not at the gallery, I am generally working at home by computer, handling our international and internet orders, communications with clients, artist evaluations, buying art, processing orders and managing our operations, as well as live chat inquiries.”
A large part of Saper Galleries’ success is its commitment to community. Saper and his family invite schools and organizations into the gallery for special events and educational programs.
“I and Saper Galleries are and have been very actively involved within the Greater Lansing community in many ways,” Saper said. “We support well over 100 organizations.”
Saper was awarded the East Lansing Crystal Award in 1988 for service to the community.
“I made a commitment to serve, and that won't be diminished,” Saper said. “True commitment, dedication and passion does not fade. It is part of the heart, a part of the person.”
The 30th anniversary celebration will acknowledge Saper Galleries’ success, as well as an celebrate others who have dedicated time, interest and funds toward promoting arts in the community. Guitarist Elden Kelly will be provide music for the event, which is open to the public.
“Friends and those new to Saper Galleries can enjoy the art, music, beauty and friendships,” Saper said. “This is my living room, where all are welcome — particularly those who have never set foot in an art gallery before or considered acquiring a work of art.”
While 30 years is a great accomplishment, Saper has no plans to stop anytime soon.
“I am 64 and want to keep going another 50 years,” Saper said.
Saper Galleries 30th Anniversary Celebration
5-8 p.m. Friday, June 3
Saper Galleries and Custom Framing
433 Albert Ave., East Lansing
The Estates Magazine, East Lansing, Michigan
(Click image below to read in larger size)
Saper Galleries To Host Winter Creative Mixer Tonight
Author: Caitlin Leppert
This Thursday, Saper Galleries will open their doors from 5-7 PM to welcome East Lansing creatives for the Arts Council of Greater Lansing Winter Creative Mixer. The event, sponsored by The Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau, is free of charge, and attendees will be treated to complimentary snacks and beverages.
Gallery owner Roy Saper said the event will provide a platform for all types of creatives to network and collaborate.
“[The event is] bringing together people that have this common thread that ties to an overall larger umbrella that already exists in other areas, like government and politics. People learning to share, exchange and explore in creativity.”
East Lansing boasts a historically friendly relationship with the arts. The Arts Council of Greater Lansing hosts three creative mixers each year, and between the mixers, multiple art and music festivals take over East Lansing’s downtown streets.
In the nearly 38 years since its conception, Saper Galleries has done its fair share of arts promotion within the City. The gallery welcomes between 100 and 200 organizations each year, including East Lansing High School students, MSU education students and ESL students.
Saper said cities thrive when they fully embrace the arts.
“Creativity finds new explorations for a city. Creativity is how progress is made. Communities that don't encourage creativity don't foster and grow.”
East Lansing continues to see growth, due, in part, to events such as Thursday’s mixer. Yet, there is still progress to be made. Saper estimated the City has achieved only five percent of its potential.
According to Saper, the other 95 percent could be achieved by establishing a downtown performing arts venue, constructing an open studio space for artists to create and audiences to watch, as well as create a gallery to display art from the former Kresge Art Museum.
“There are a thousand and one possibilities… East Lansing just needs to take initiative,” he said.
Thursday’s Winter Creative Mixer could be the collaborative platform to springboard such initiatives, but at the very least, the mixer will get East Lansing’s artists together for an evening of conversation, collaboration and inspiration.
Saper Galleries is located at 433 Albert Avenue.
Rare glass from the West Bank finds a home in East Lansing
By KATIE COOK WKAR Radio
Broadcast on Current State, January 7, 2016
A Hebron glass pitcher as it appears normally and when illuminated. KATIE COOK / WKAR
Hebron glass is a type of hand-blown glass made in the Palestinian West Bank, and Saper Galleries in East Lansing has the world’s largest collection of it outside the Middle East. We hear from Roy Saper about this beautiful glass.
Gallery owner Roy Saper admires some pieces of Hebron glass from the collection.
CREDIT KATIE COOK / WKAR
The Story Behind The World’s Largest Collection of Hebron Glass Now Displayed at Saper Galleries
Sunday, December 27, 2015
©2016 The New Citizens Press
By TNCP Staff
Roy Saper stands with second and third generations to the elder Hamzeh Natsheh, all involved in the family glassblowing business just as were the many generations of the Natsheh family before them over more than 700 years. They are preparing to package the 30 Hebron glass vases. Saper suggested that he would be back later to pick them up. He was told he would not succeed in getting through the checkpoint back into Israel with them. They were shipped.
For more than 2,000 years hand-blown glass has been made in Hebron, the largest city in the Palestinian West Bank. Although, the beautiful glass works are rarely seen outside of the Middle East, Hebron artisans created 100 of the unique, swirl-colored hand-blown glass vases, decanters and pitchers for the opening of The Hebron Glass Collection at Saper Galleries located at 433 Albert Avenue in downtown East Lansing.
However, according to Roy Saper, the owner of the gallery, there is so much more to the story, and extraordinary events led him to find and seek out these beautiful works of art. He has always worked intuitively when choosing the pieces for his gallery. Motivated by the traditions of the ancient craft of glass blowing Saper was willing to take the arduous trip to find the historic glassblower's shop that held the art that represented struggle, life, death and history within the vessels.
Saper's desire to bring the vividly colored art back to Michigan was a journey that he and his family will not soon forget.
Due to political, security and other challenges in the Hebron area, it is difficult for the glass artists to export their creations and the lack of tourism reduces the opportunity for the world to see, enjoy and collect the hand-blown glass that artisans have learned to create from their parents as passed down from prior generations.
In 2012, Saper and his wife, Nell Kuhnmuench and son, Jay, visited the one remaining family-owned business, which is still making glass in Hebron, a small hot and dusty town, in the West Bank of the Palestinian territory.
Saper said, “On a very hot afternoon we went through shelves of glass and hand-selected 51 vases to be sent to us in the United States for the visitors to Saper Galleries.”
Saper said, "I was immediately captivated by the swirling colors achieved by the glass-blowers, unlike any other blown glass I've seen before or made in any other country."
"This glass truly is unusual and is also Fair Trade. The glass blowers are paid fair wages and use sustainable methods in their operation."
Saper's son was selected to serve as an intern for an American Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Nablus, West Bank where he collaborated with local university students to teach young Palestinian refugees. Jay's focus was teaching the arts, particularly music and drama, to young children in an ancient city known for training suicide bombers during the Palestinian uprisings 12 years ago. Saper and his wife went to Nablus toward the end of the summer of 2012 to pick Jay up after his couple month experience of teaching and working with the Arab children.
It was not an easy trip for the couple. After picking up Jay in the West Bank they were detained for three or four hours at an Israeli check point near an Israeli settlement. They were ordered out of their car.
Saper said, “Nell and I were separated from Jay and each put in metal holding cells while we were each interrogated and searched before we were eventually permitted to pass into Israel after quite an extensive ordeal that caused me to wonder if we would ever be reunited with our son.”
The harrowing experience included the presence of dogs, automatic weapons, and guards who kept them in place until another interrogator would arrive to ask them more questions after they grilled Jay.
The concern of their interrogators was whether they would be a risk to the security of Israel after having spent time in the West Bank said Saper.
“My camera showed that we were associating with Arab Muslims such as an artist who showed us her city including the rubble of bombed out homes that were destroyed by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). The Arab artist from Nablus became a friend of my older son, Adam, who also interned at the NGO a couple years earlier. We were in an area where there were no tourists, certainly no Americans, and we posed a concern to the IDF at the checkpoint who were there to protect Israel from any potential risk,” said Saper.
The Long History
Hand-blown Hebron glass is a Palestinian tradition that is centuries old. The artisans today blow glass in Hebron just like their parents and grandparents and prior generations did before them. Hebron glass dates back 2,000 years and the city is said to be the oldest continually occupied city in the world. It is mentioned in the Bible 87 times and is said to have been founded more than 3,700 years ago.
Hebron artisans use long metal hollow tubes to pick up a slurry of molten recycled glass in an 1,800 degree furnace and blow through the tube to expand the glass, turning the tube and using metal tools to form the glass into the desired shape. Additional molten glass is added to the blown shape and is swirled into the magical designs that define the style of Hebron glass. The functional glass vessels are often of ancient Phoenician designs and are largely amber, green or blue colors made from molten recycled glass and cobalt.
An article written by Gail Simmons entitled “Hebron's Glass Factory” in ARAMCO World, the writer was told, “Twenty-five years ago, hundreds of tourists came to Hebron every day, and we had no export market. Now that Hebron is off the tourist map, we're trying to open new markets, exporting to European countries, the USA, Canada."
The owner of the glass studio Saper visited Hamzeh Natsheh who told him that all the glassmakers other than his family are no longer making glass.
From the above referenced article, Natsheh said: "When I was born, there were around 15 glass manufacturers in Hebron, based in the old city Now, my cousin and I are the last two glassblowers in our family. This is a very hard job."
The glassmakers in Hebron were dealt a big blow when the unrest began. Most of the glassmakers in Hebron are out of business as there is no tourist traffic to Hebron. However, that did not deter Saper from taking the time to pause and reflect before his trip to Palestine. His goal was to bring a family heritage of glassblowing going back centuries to this country. The deeper-rooted issue of the unstable nature of the area and the fact that artisans were able to push beyond those limits and still create were in the forefront of his decision to pursue the creative glass pieces.
There is clearly a chance that glassblowing in Hebron will cease to exist. Natsheh 's family has been making glass in Hebron for 700 years and it will continue only if the younger generations maintain the traditions of their ancestors and keep the family glassmaking secrets in production. Natsheh told Saper he is concerned about China mass producing glass and the possibility of that cutting into the market for original hand-made Phoenician glass from Hebron.
In an effort to increase demand for Hebron glass, Natsheh's family is at the early stages of engaging in some export while starting to expand the range of items made in their glass furnaces. But as the elder glass blowers age, their reliance on the younger generations in their family becomes critical in keeping the tradition of Hebron glass alive. "We are fortunate to have the original Hebron glass still being produced, but as the younger glass blowers face competing interests in a more global society, the future of Hebron glass as it has been known for 2,000 years is at risk,” Saper noted.
Saper was pleased to see young people working in the shop, he said, “I was at Hamzeh's glass workshop, I was also served by what may have been his son and his two grandsons, all working. The grandsons looked to be school-age children -- and the future of Hebron glass.”
The reality is that terror and danger in and around Hebron and throughout much of the Palestinian territories is destabilizing for businesses. The United Nations provides weekly reports showing evidence of the continual daily conflicts between Israelis and the Palestinian territories.
Saper recounts, “When I was walking to my car parked in a large area of building rubble, two Arabs starting running fast toward me and when they approached me they looked scared and pleaded for me to do whatever I could to help them from the terror they are experiencing in Hebron. The Muslim Arabs were in fear because of the terror they were experiencing from Israeli settlers and the IDF.”
He added, “In all the interactions and exchanges I had with Arab Muslims driving throughout much of Palestine, they each were peaceful, welcoming, warm, sharing drinks and fresh figs with us during Ramadan (when they were not able to eat or drink), wanting to have their photos taken with us. We were invited to homes, given food to take for the road, taken to places we wanted to visit, and treated like invited guests.”
While there does not seem to be an end in sight to the conflict, Saper remains optimistic.
He said, “Since visiting Hebron three years ago I have since re-ordered nearly 200 glass vases and pitchers to be made for me by Hamzeh's family of multiple generations. Hamzeh sends me photos of glass that they've made over the years and I select the styles, colors, and sizes of those I like -- and several months later the boxes start to arrive. Each glass vase was made explicitly for us based on what I love -- and know others will as well. There is no collection of Hebron glass anywhere in the world as large as what we have here. As long as Hamzeh's family continues to make them for us, we will continue to have them on display at Saper Galleries.”
The hand-blown Hebron glass collection will be available at Saper Galleries through February [or until sold out]. Videos showing the glass-makers creating the glass in the ancient tradition are on the Saper Galleries website, http://sapergalleries.com/HebronGlass.html. The gallery, now in its 37th year, is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the first Sundays monthly from 1 to 4 p.m. at 433 Albert Avenue in downtown East Lansing, MI. The gallery, fully accessible and welcoming to all, may be contacted at 517-351-0815 and email@example.com.
Lansing City Pulse
Dec. 1 2015
Ancient glass -- Saper Galleries showcases glass art from Hebron
BY KEVIN MCINERNEY
TUESDAY, Dec. 1 — For over 2,000 years, hand-blown glass has been made in Hebron, the largest city in the Palestinian West Bank. Rarely seen outside of the Middle East, 100 of these unique, swirl-colored hand-blown glass vases, decanters and pitchers made by Hebron artisans will be on display at East Lansing’s Saper Galleries.
Hebron artisans use long metal hollow tubes to pick up a slurry of molten recycled glass in an 1,800 degree furnace and blow through the tube to expand the glass, turning the tube and using metal tools to form the glass into the desired shape. Additional molten glass is added to the blown shape and is swirled into the unique designs that define the style of Hebron glass. The functional glass vessels are often of ancient Phoenician designs and are largely amber, green or blue colors made from molten recycled glass.
Many artisans learn the glass blowing craft from their parents as it is passed down from prior generations. In 2012, Saper Galleries owner Roy Saper and his family visited one of the few remaining family-owned businesses in Hebron that is still making glass based on Phoenician traditions. Residents of the region claim that nearly a dozen other glass blowing studios have closed in recent years.
"I was immediately captivated by the swirling colors achieved by the glass-blowers, unlike any other blown glass I've seen before or made in any other country," Saper said. "This glass truly is unusual and is also Fair Trade. The glass blowers are paid fair wages and use sustainable methods in their operation."
Due to political, security and other challenges in the Hebron area, it is difficult for glass artists to export their works. The lack of tourism reduces the opportunity for the world to see or purchase these hand-blown glassworks.
Since 2012, Hebron artisans have collaborated with Saper Galleries to create a variety of exclusive glass items for the gallery. The 100 vases, pitchers and decanters created this summer for the gallery is the largest collection of Hebron glass designs ever exhibited together outside of the Middle East.
The Hebron Glass Collection at Saper Galleries opens Sunday with a reception from 1 to 4 p.m. at Saper Galleries. The opening is free, open to the public and is fully accessible. The exhibition will continue through January 2016, and the gallery is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 4 p.m. on the first Sunday of each month.
Artist Meet And Greet At Saper Galleries: Lou Heiser's Vistas Of Michigan
Lou Heiser and Saper Galleries owner Roy
This weekend, discover artist-eye views of Mother Nature that exist far closer to home than you might imagine.
Heiser will take viewers on a journey
through the beautiful landscapes of
Michigan with his collection of oil
paintings entitled “Vistas of
Michigan.” The exhibition will
be opening this Sunday, October 4, 2015
from 1 to 4pm at Saper Galleries in
downtown East Lansing. It is free and open
to the public.
Saper Galleries is a long-standing East Lansing gallery that has acquired its much deserved attention over the past 37 years by serving both the local community and art collectors from all over the globe. Owner, Roy Saper started the business in 1978, in his first home at 429 Bailey Street in East Lansing. Even then he was committed to a philosophy of sharing quality art with fellow residents. “I create these exhibitions, always free to everyone, as a commitment to community and love of sharing,” says Saper.
Over 1,500 original works of art by 150 artists are available at Saper Galleries, and the inventory is always changing. “I like original artwork that connects with people,” Saper states. He adds that the gallery strives to stock one of a kind art and diverse collections that appeal to all different tastes and that only a few talented individuals are selected every year from an incredible number of artists vying to be represented in the collection. Lou Heiser is one of those few.
Saper recognized the quality of Heiser’s work immediately, and has displayed his oil paintings since the artist approached him in 2009. “What I like, in particular, about Lou Heiser’s paintings,” reflects Saper, “is their relevance, and that he has a technical proficiency and maturity that allows him to achieve the results he is seeking.”
Heiser is a successful architect and landscape painter from Chicago, Illinois. He has designed houses all over the country, including homes in Leelanau County, Michigan, and his oil paintings are featured in various galleries across the state.
the nooks and crannies of Michigan in a
collection of oil paintings that reflect
the allure of nature and the artist’s
imagination. “The paintings portray scenes
that he visits near where he lives up
north,” notes Saper, “and he captures the
exaggerated colors as a reflection of what
his mind's eye sees. He does not paint for
an audience, he paints for himself, and
the joy and exuberance in his paintings is
The artist will be in East Lansing to meet with gallery visitors during the First Sunday Gallery Walk, Sunday, October 4, 2015 from 1 to 4pm at Saper Galleries, 433 Albert, in downtown East Lansing. The exhibition will continue through December, Monday through Saturday 10 am to 6 pm and the first Sunday monthly from 1 to 4pm. Further information can be found at www.sapergalleries.com.
How Deep the Rabbit Hole Goes
New Saper Exhibit Threatens to Peel the Skin Off the Real World
While browsing the eclectic works along the walls of East Lansing’s Saper Galleries, it’s easy to feel like you’ve tumbled down one hell of a cultural rabbit hole. The pieces come from eras throughout time and from all over the world, with styles and media as varied as the subject matter. If there could be a factor that lends consistency to this artistic smorgasbord, it’s the enthusiasm for the works by the gallery’s owner, Roy Saper. With energetic aplomb, Saper can illustrate the ways of how well deserved an exhibit’s home on his walls can be.
On the gallery’s walls, you’ll witness the all out naval combat of John Bentham-Dinsdale’s warships as well as serene windows into early 20th century life by Fabienne Delacroix. But if Saper’s new collection of still-life paintings of fruit and jars by Colombian born artist Juan Carlos Ospina Ortiz seems a little dry at first, don’t be so quick to dismiss it. Just think of Saper as Morpheus from the late ‘90s cyberpunk actioner “The Matrix” in the pivotal scene where he proffers the film’s hero with a perception-altering choice: Believe what you want to believe and walk away or listen to Saper and see how deep the rabbit hole goes.
“This guy is a master of his style and that is evident by his technical skill,” Saper said while admiring one of Ortiz’s pieces. “That’s the kind of artist that deserves attention and that’s why we brought his collection here.”
The works in Ortiz’s collection convey a complexity that the casual observer might not notice at first glance. The still life works feature the subject matter one would expect from the form: Bowls of fruit and pitchers set atop platforms that are draped in cloth. But it’s when the duration of your viewing passes a “moment’s glance” that the works really come to life. Everything down to the leaves on the grapes is rendered in stunning detail. Those very leaves are one of many details that Saper feels serve as testament to the mastery conveyed in the works.
“A great artist sees details that others don’t see,” Saper said. “You might see a leaf, but (someone like Ortiz) sees 30 shades of green. When you look at them in the painting, you feel like you could touch them.”
But the rabbit hole goes deeper still. Ortiz repeats several objects in the works that have reflective surfaces like steel pitchers or glass jugs. These objects might initially seem banal or incidental at first, but if you look closely at the reflection of the surfaces, it’s almost like an entire other work.
The tiny details of the environment in which the work was created bend and diffuse around the object in a manner that you almost expect to see your own face as you look at the painting. You can even see the lamp that brightly illumined the workspace and dictated the lightning dynamic of the objects that were rendered.
Saper receives thousands of submissions per year, but he admits Ortiz’s garnered his curiosity. It wasn’t until Ortiz’s works were in front of him, however, that Saper’s attention was piqued.
“Ortiz is the Tiger Woods, the concert master of the orchestra,” gushed Saper. “He’s a talent that just so excels, I just want to share it.”
The technical prowess on display in Ortiz’s work is undeniable. It would seem that no detail is too small for him tackle, be it the labyrinthine reliefs on a stand that holds fruit or the tiny reflections of light in the seeds of the fruit itself. If talent seeped in the classic style is not enough to give you moment to garner your interest, Saper has one more facet to share that may win your attention.
“It’s these kinds of works that encourage us to look at things in a new light,” Saper said. “It’s gives us cause to pause and reflect. To take in and appreciate all that’s out there that costs nothing to enjoy.”
EAST LANSING — Kathleen Chaney Fritz paints Michigan scenes such at boating on its lakes, lighthouses, Mackinac Island, vineyards, harvests, sand dunes and families sharing Michigan's beauty.
New oil paintings by the Michigan artist are on display at downtown East Lansing's Saper Galleries.
"Her imagery is timeless; her paintings awaken the senses and allow us to revel in the beauty that is unique to our Great Lakes state," observes gallery owner Roy Saper.
A graduate of Kendall College of Art and Design, Chaney Fritz worked for many years as a freelance illustrator, honing her skills in drawing and her ability to quickly deliver on a variety of projects.
Since 1986 she has been a professional artist, painting Michigan scenes that viewers recognize and enjoy.
More than 300 of her creations have been acquired by visitors to Saper Galleries since the gallery started representing her five years ago.
Her Michigan scenes display her talent to convey a special feeling, using paint, brush and palette knife .
The water reflections, the shadows, the brilliant sun, the textures of flower petals, vistas all come to life in her paintings.
Saper Galleries, 433 Albert Ave., downtown East Lansing, will continue to display the paintings and limited editions of Kathleen Chaney Fritz Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and March 2 – and all first Sundays monthly – from 1 to 4 p.m.
Roy Saper is the creator and owner of Saper Galleries and Custom Framing, a full service fine arts gallery based in East Lansing, Michigan, USA. Saper Galleries serves customers world-wide with an actively accessed website which receives inquiries from nearly 100 countries from where 48 languages are spoken. In 1986 Saper designed and built its present 6,000 square foot contemporary gallery which has won numerous awards for its design, efficiency and use of large skylights to bathe the gallery interior with natural daylight. Saper has also won awards for its marketing successes, use of computer technology, and creative management. In August, 2009 Saper was recognized with the Art Business News Gallery Excellence Award, the top honor in the United States presented to an art gallery for the success of it exhibitions. Saper Galleries was recognized by Décor Magazine as the number one American gallery in 2007 for its Picasso exhibition. The 2009 award was for its Dr. Seuss art exhibition. Saper has been recognized as the Outstanding Small Business Person of the Year by the Lansing Michigan Chamber of Commerce and was awarded the Business Arts Award by the Arts Council of Greater Lansing. Saper regularly juries art exhibitions throughout the United States and lectures on all aspects of collecting art and other topics such as the challenge of modern art, art and architecture, fakes and forgeries, art-in-public places, and other art topics. He is called on to serve as an expert witness in legal cases involving art fraud and insurance cases. Saper also serves as an art appraiser for community art evaluation events, advising people of the value of their artwork, and as a consultant to various arts organizations.
sapergalleries.com | 1 Gallery Contract Award
(Consultant Terry Link was the founding director of MSU’s Office of Campus Sustainability and recently retired as director of the Greater Lansing Food Bank. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Rob Gonsalves' "The Chalkboard Universe," depicting Albert Einstein lecturing to students in front of a chalkboard where equations gradually morph into the cosmos.
EAST LANSING, MI – A special exhibit featuring the work of Canadian magic realism painter Rob Gonsalves will open Sunday, Feb. 3, at the Saper Galleries, 433 Albert Ave.
Gonsalves’ artwork has been displayed all over the world and has been the subject of several books published by Simon & Schuster.
Gallery owner Roy Saper describes Gonsalves’ work as “appealing to all ages.”
“This is a wonderful indication of the universal language of art and the reason for now displaying Gonsalves' most recent images which have not been seen before in this area," Saper said.
The opening reception will be from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. The exhibit will remain on display through March.
Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday. The gallery is open from 1 to 4 p.m. the first Sunday of each month.
Admission is free. For more information, visit sapergalleries.com or call 517-351-0815.
Hebron Glass Collection on display in East Lansing
By Katie Ziraldo | Published October 5, 2012
Elementary education student Alyssa O’Connor looks at Hebron Glass Collection vases at Saper Galleries, 433 Albert Ave., on Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012. O’Connor was there with her poetry class. Julia Nagy/The State News
Hidden away in Hebron, the largest city in the West Bank, is a form of artwork rarely seen outside the Middle East. Using a long metal hollow tube, the artist picks up molten recycled glass in an 1,800-degree furnace and then blows through the tube to expand the glass.
The efforts result in a type of artwork most Americans would be unfamiliar with. That’s why Roy Saper, the owner of Saper Galleries, 433 Albert, wanted it for his gallery.
“I knew about the Hebron glass, and I knew it was really rare and nobody could ever go to Hebron because it’s a war zone,” Saper said. “It’s a very dangerous place to be, like much of the Middle East. But I knew I had to go there.”
A Hebron Glass Collection vase is on display at Saper Galleries, 433 Albert Ave., on Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012.
Saper’s mission was easier said than done. He said the experience of going to Palestine with his wife and son was unreal.
“What I learned is it’s easy to get in, but hard to get out. To get out you have to go to Israel, and they don’t let just anybody out. If you have some kind of Palestinian connection, there will be difficulties.”
Saper said the Hebron glass now is a rarity.
“There were 14 studios in Hebron making glass, and now there is only one family, after glass has been produced in Hebron for a couple thousand years at least,” Saper said. “They’re down to the last family. My feeling was I have to go there and get that glass and bring it back … It’s really exciting to get to share something with our community like that, that they would never see otherwise.”
The owner’s drive to display rare artworks is not a new passion.
“For 34 years what I’ve done is make every effort to display for our community works of art that they otherwise would never see,” he said.
It is this quality that makes Liz Fuller, a Saper Galleries employee, so pleased with her work. “Every day is a learning experience,” Fuller said. “It’s an amazing place to work, especially being an artist and getting to see everything we have here.”
Art history and visual culture professor Susan Bandes said it is important for people, especially college students, to experience art from other parts of the world and know its history.
“I think it gives us a broader perspective than we normally would have, and it also puts current events into a cultural context,” Bandes said.
Saper said the collection is the perfect opportunity for Americans to experience other cultures.
“It’s totally unique and different, and nobody will see it this large and significant anywhere else in this country,” Saper said.
The Hebron Glass Collection will be on display at Saper Galleries for the month of October.
Rare Hebron Glass Collection to be Exhibited in East Lansing