Over the years we’ve shared countless reasons to attend Tremont’s summer Art Walks. Last week came one compelling reason not to: Artist Jeff Chiplis was shot in the back while attempting to flee a robbery on the night of the event. Cops say the shooting took place shortly after midnight when Chiplis, 58, declined an offer from two young men to hand over all his money.
Dana Depew, proprietor of Asterisk gallery in Tremont, had seen Chiplis minutes earlier. Sitting on the patio at one of the neighborhood’s many restaurants, they chatted briefly before Chiplis walked off to meet someone down the hill. A few hundred steps later, he was shot.
“I’m really angry,” Depew says. “This was one of my good friends.”
Depew talked to Chiplis on the phone last week. “He just wants to get out of the hospital and get on with his life,” Depew says.
And get on with his art. Work by Chiplis, who creates sculpture from scavenged neon tubes, is currently on display at galleries in Columbus, Youngstown, and Benton Harbor, Michigan.