By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News
CITY OF TONAWANDA — A retired minister is making his art debut at his old stomping grounds tonight. After serving as a pastor for Immanuel Lutheran Church for 27 years, Bob Rickus will publicly show off his art at the City of Tonawanda institution.
“I am excited about it,” Rickus said. “Up until now, my work has been in my own gallery in my basement. A number of people said they would enjoy seeing it, and it is kind of like sharing the gift of art
Rickus will be displaying 30 pieces at the church, located at 107 Scott St., from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. tonight during a free exhibit with food and drinks.
He is putting on the show with help of local art guru Bob Gregg, who takes part in many exhibits and shows in the area.
“Bob is really unique from what I usually see,” Gregg said. “I went over to his house and saw his art, and I told him he had to show it to people.”
The event is named Bob II, a play on the naming structure of Bible verses and a recognition of the two Bobs who worked to organize the exhibit.
Rickus, who still lives in the City of Tonawanda, specializes in artisan artwork and paints on natural objects, like wood and stones. Most of his work depicts natural, realistic scenes and landscapes.
“A lot of my work is designed to look like stained glass,” Rickus said. “I call them stained wood.”
Rickus said he always had an artistic side, but didn’t have time for his crafts for much of his busy career. But when he retired in 2003, he was able to rediscover the hobby.
“I was very artistic when I was a child, but I just kind of stopped doing it,” Rickus said. “But I have always enjoyed art and thought maybe someday I would do it again. In retirement, I kind of picked it up after a long time of it being dormant.”
And so far, he is getting great reviews.
“They appear almost like mosaics. It is very different and he does some nice acrylics,” Gregg said. “There are a lot of talented people out there, and it just takes an extra step of confidence to show it to people.”
IF YOU GO
•WHAT: Bob II, former pastor's free art show
•WHERE: Immanuel Lutheran Church, 107 Scott St., Tonawanda
•WHEN: 6 to 8 p.m. tonight
Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150.