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William Ris Gallery

Local Art Teacher Lance Balderson, with William Ris Gallery art director Mary S. Cantone

STONE HARBOR – The William Ris Gallery in Stone Harbor opened its 40th season recently, featuring the art of renowned artist and teacher Lance Balderson.

Balderson, and Upper Township resident for 26 years, graduated from Penn State University in 1966. He majored in architecture and designed many prominent buildings in the tri-state area. He later became a city planner.

In 1975 Balderson became a licensed architect and member of the American Institute of Planning. IN 1979, he moved to South Jersey and pursued his love for painting, but continued to provide planning and consulting to his clients as well as teaching art.

“I always admired the beauty of my surroundings whether in nature or man-made,” he said. “Art school was always my main goal although my parents tried to convince me to study engineering.”

Local resident Alisa Harris, an art student of Balderson’s, praised his art teaching ability.

“I joined his art classes at the Ocean City Arts Center,” said Harris. “He has an extraordinary eye for color and composition. His classes are very formal and comfortable. Along with other students I find the atmosphere rewarding and informative.”

Harris is also a Penn State graduate, majoring in art, where she met her husband, dentist Dr. Al Harris, an outstanding football linebacker for the Nittany Lions. They reside in Upper Township. Their sons AJ and Chris play varsity football for Elon College.

Christine Lowenstein, a student of Balderson for 24 years, describes his teaching as “opening my world to new ways of thinking and expressing myself.”

“He has influenced my work immeasurably, watching his creation and changing techniques,” she said. “I want to capture a tiny portion of his talent however long it takes.”

In 2009, Balderson’s acrylic “Tryst” was accepted for permanent collection in the Philadelphia Art Museum.

“To have an artist’s painting accepted into the museum is a dream come true,” said longtime art student Lorraine Caruso.

Mary S. Cantone, director of the William Ris Art Gallery in Stone Harbor, said Balderson’s paintings are intriguing, interesting, and captivating.

“His excellent teaching ability certainly manifests itself in his students painting displayed at our art gallery,” said Cantone.

Students Meryl Cool, Kathy Ferraro, Paul Fortune-Angelo, Carla Brennan, Margaret Ricci, Lorraine Caruso and Alisa Harris’ paintings are displayed in various commercial business establishments throughout South Jersey. Most have been with Balderson for more than a decade.

The Ris Gallery is located at 9400 Second Ave. in Stone Harbor. Hours of operation are from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Prices range from $200 to $10,000. The artists come from all over the United States.

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