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Westport Book Shop Welcomes Local Artists Jack Geer and Ranvir Sharma for April 2024 Art Exhibit

Updated: Apr 5

Westport, CT, April 2, 2024 —  The Westport Bookshop is pleased to welcome local artists Jack Geer and Ranvir Sharma as guest exhibitors for the month of April at the Book Shop’s Drew Friedman Art Place.  Each artist is exhibiting several of their recent drawings and illustrations. 


For both Ranvir and Jack, art has been a transformative part of their lives, serving as a form of personal expression and communication and fostering social connections since they were young boys. 


John Charles “Jack” Geer began drawing as a toddler, exhibiting highly developed visual perceptual skills despite his young age.  His language skills took longer to develop and art provided a medium for sharing his thoughts and feelings. Drawing quickly became his happy place and something he spent time doing every day. “It’s his super power,” his mother Carrie shared. 


Jack entered elementary school verbally delayed, but his passion for drawing gave him a way to connect with his teachers and peers. His classmates recognized his talent and would genuinely appreciate the drawings he made for them, often hanging them on their walls at home.  Jack enrolled in art classes at Silvermine Art Center and entered local art shows, often earning top prizes. He graduated high school as a member of the art honor society and went on to study traditional and digital art at the college level. 


In May 2023, Jack graduated from Norwalk Community College (now CT State Norwalk) with an Associate in Science degree in Graphic Design. Since then, his art has been exhibited and sold at the college as well as at the Bruce S. Kershner Gallery in the Fairfield Public Library.  Today. Jack has a burgeoning career as a working artist, which includes creating art for Team Woofgang & Co., a local non-profit that provides job training for young adults with disabilities.  Jack designs a line of popular notecards and prints for Woofgang, and is currently at work on a poster, t-shirt and other artwork for Woofgang’s upcoming benefit gala.  Jack has begun taking animation classes, with an eye toward perhaps becoming a character designer.


Ranvir Sharma, known as Ronnie to his family and friends, also displayed a passion for art early on. Ronnie was diagnosed with autism at two and a half years of age, and remained non-verbal for many years, but his parents recognized his curiosity about the world around him and worked to support his desire to communicate. Ronnie was naturally drawn to letters and numbers and his mother, Reetu used this interest to create engaging visual aids to help Ronnie learn new concepts. 


In 2018, a trip to visit family in India proved to be a pivotal part of Ronnie's journey as an artist. While there, he was introduced to a professional calligrapher who made a connection with Ronnie, developing classes for him and encouraging his interest in forming letters in artistic ways. 


When Ronnie returned to Connecticut, he continued to find joy in drawing, moving beyond bubble letters to copying drawings of his favorite Disney characters. While his ability to speak and write was still delayed, drawing was a natural outlet for his rapidly developing thoughts and ideas. His elementary school teachers recognized Ronnie's artistic talents and suggested he enter a local competition hosted by the SoNo Library with a theme of “Inclusion.” Ronnie won this first competition, which inspired him to submit his art to other competitions and media outlets, where he has also been rewarded with success.  In October 2023, Ronnie was awarded first place for his age group in a Cricket Magazine art contest. 


Ronnie continues to develop his skills by taking art classes at Silvermine Art Center in Norwalk and by following artists on YouTube and TikTok. Now in 6th grade, Ronnie  aspires to become a Hollywood animator. He proudly describes himself as “beautifully different.”


Both Jack and Ronnie found the Westport Book Shop through the pursuit of their own interests and activities.  Jack’s mother was invited to gather with other parents in the Book Shop one evening while Jack was attending a Club 203 event nearby at Toquet Hall.  That night, the book shop happened to be hosting an opening reception for an artist.  Carrie learned about the mission of the Book Shop and shared with the Shop’s management her son’s passion for art.  Similarly, it was Ronnie’s father Amit who first found the Book Shop during an online search for vinyl records.  On his first visit, he saw the Book Shop’s Drew Friedman Art Place, as well as a rich collection of graphic novels which he knew Ronnie, an avid reader, would love and couldn’t wait to bring Ronnie back with him.  Ronnie and his parents have made many visits to the Book Shop since then, appreciating the serene location, the welcoming environment, and the kindness of the staff.  “The Book Shop is the best customer experience,” says Amit.  “They are great with follow up, always letting us know when a book we are looking for comes into the store.” 


The Westport Book Shop is honored to highlight the artwork of these two talented individuals for the month of April.  April is World Autism Awareness and Autism Acceptance Month.  Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication.


Jack and Ronnie are differently abled but refuse to be defined by any presumed limitations.  With the support of family, teachers, and friends, Jack and Ronnie have leaned into their strengths and followed their passion for drawing and artistic expression. Their drawings celebrate the power of art to inspire and transform both those who create it and those who view it. 


The Westport Book Shop will hold a reception for Ronnie and Jack and their exhibit on Wednesday evening, April 10, 2024, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  Space is limited; please RSVP to the Book Shop at 203-349-5141 or by email to bookshop@westportbooksaleventures.org


Ronnie's and Jack’s artworks will be on display at the Westport Book Shop through April 30, 2024.  All artwork on display is available for purchase.


Westport Book Shop, a nonprofit independent used book store, is downtown Westport’s only source for gently used and antiquarian books, vintage vinyl records, CDs, DVDs and audio books. It is located at 23 Jesup Road, right across Jesup Green from the Westport Library.

The Book Shop’s “Drew Friedman Art Place” is an area of the store dedicated to exhibiting the work of community artists year-round, on a rotating basis. Miggs Burroughs, a Trustee of the Drew Friedman Community Arts Center, and a founding member of The Artists Collective of Westport, curates these exhibits, which change monthly.

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