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Potomac River Artists Guild attracts CATF and local customers alike to fine art show

By Staff | Jul 27, 2018

Paul Konka, left, and Susan Dugan-Konka, both of Baltimore, enjoy looking at the art on display on Friday afternoon. Photo by Tabitha Johnston.

SHEPHERDSTOWN — When the Contemporary Arts Theater Festival comes to town, the Potomac River Artists Guild gets busy, preparing for its Fine Arts Show and Sale on the third weekend of July.

Fifteen of the guild’s 20 artists, from around the tri-state area, showed and sold artwork at the War Memorial Building on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with a free “meet the artists” reception held from 3-5 p.m. Saturday.

“For the last several years, we’ve been doing the show on this weekend,” said charter guild member Mary Alice Bowers, of Honeysuckle Studio in Martinsburg.

According to Bowers, every artist had 4-6 pieces of fine art — ranging from pen-and-ink to collages, from realist animal etchings to abstract paintings — hung on the walls, as well as a maximum of 10 unframed works of art each, which were all collected together for visitors’ perusal.

“We’ve already had a good morning, and we only started the show at 10 a.m. today,” Bowers said on Friday, mentioning one of the strengths of the guild is the variety of fine art the guild members produce.

“We have several men and many women in the guild, of all ages, which can make a difference in the variety of fine art people see in our shows. If it was all women, there would be way too many flowers,” Bowers said, with a laugh.

Fellow charter guild member Ronda B. Albright, of Martinsburg, who was an elementary school art teacher for 43 years, said the art show always attracts CATF visitors, which is something she looks forward to.

“I just met someone who came to CATF from Texas. There are definitely a lot of CATF people who have come in here so far,” Albright, a member of the West Virginia Watercolor Society and the Baltimore Watercolor Society, said. “I think they’re really excited to see the variety of different types of art — we’ve got abstracts, loose watercolors, pastels.”

According to CATF visitor Carel Hedlund, of Towson, Maryland, viewing the art exhibit is a tradition she has enjoyed for many years.

“We come into the art exhibit every year. It’s one of the things we do. We’ve developed all of these tremendous traditions and things, for when we come to CATF,” said Hedlund, who has been coming to CATF for eight years with her husband, Len Fass.

Hedlund said she and Fass enjoyed CATF so much, they invited their friends, Paul Konka and Susan Dugan-Konka, of Baltimore, Maryland, to join them three years ago. And, as often happens with CATF visitors, Konka and Dugan-Konka became hooked, and have returned with their friends every year since.

“Each year, CATF seems to be getting better and better. You might think six plays in three days is too much, but it’s not,” Konka said. “It’s impressive, and pretty neat, to think you can see plays here, before they get to the big city.”