Kelsey Fine Art in Roxbury a showcase for well-known sculpture's work

ROXBURY — Ballet dancers dance away in the yard of Kelsey Fine Art day and night.

Smaller, but no less impressive, dancers pirouette and perform other maneuvers in her indoor showroom, which doubles as the artist’s kitchen. Sterett-Gittings Kelsey, a well-known sculptor, operates Kelsey Fine Art out of her Roxbury country home and has nearly 300 sculptures — mostly bronze dancers — on display for observing and purchase.

“They range from 3 inches to 30 feet. I’ve sold all over the world,” Kelsey, 75, said. “I can also do special orders.”

Visitors to Kelsey Fine Art on Baker Road may also engage the artist in conversation and inquire about her technique, which she has developed over more than 50 years in the arts. She works with porcelain and has created original works for Royal Copenhagen.

She graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1964 and, except for a nine-month stint working for a company, has worked as an artist since.

“This is a real job. It’s seven days a week, no medical benefits, no vacations. It’s 24/7, otherwise, you won’t survive,” Kelsey said of being an artist. “Being a little OCD is a necessary component of being an artist. A lot of people have talent, but if you don’t have it in you to do it in spite of yourself, it won’t happen. Whether it’s advised or ill-advised, just do it.”

Each of the pieces on display at her home studio has a first, middle and last name. They are named after people she knows and who have helped her on her journey.

“In a lifetime, a lot of people have helped you survive as an artist,” she said.

Nelson Merchan, a business adviser with the Connecticut Small Business Development Center, helped Kelsey set up her business and said “Connecticut is fortunate to have her.”

“It is the first time that I have the opportunity to assist a world-renowned artist,” Merchan said. “If I was a buyer of Kelsey’s sculptures, I would enjoy the opportunity to spend time with her, learn about her work, life and mastery of sculpting. It is not common for an artist of her prestige to open her studio for private appointments.”

The larger sculptures grace the yard of Kelsey Fine Art. The ballet dancers, done with exquisite detail, are stuck in various graceful poses, usually with a prop, such as a chair. She often takes creative license with her sculptures. The dress on her Nutcracker dancer, for instance, is less stodgy with lower neckline, shorter sleeves and additional ribbons to make her look more like a present.

“The original dress looks like a big floor mop,” she said.

Walking among the sculptures, Kelsey eyes the pieces with affection. Most of the larger sculptures are commissioned, while the smaller ones are “my vision,” she said.

“Kelsey is a passionate artist who loves perfection, movement, energy and beauty,” Merchan said.

Kelsey is quick to credit Polich Tallix Fine Art Foundry in Rock Tavern, N.Y., which pours and finishes her sculptures. Kelsey has worked with metallurgist and foundry owner Dick Polich for years.

“I’m lucky that we were put on the Earth at the same time,” Kelsey said of Polich. “He’s a wizard. He makes my work possible.”

In the side yard of Kelsey Fine Art rests Freedom Angel, a 7-foot, 3,000-pound sculpture Kelsey hopes will one day become a pop icon and help wounded veterans. The Freedom Angel would represent each of the military branches.

She designed Freedom Angel after discovering the persistent need to help veterans with traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Hopefully it will bring the country together,” said Kelsey, who formed a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

To reach Kelsey Fine Art, email kelsey@bronzedancesculpture.com