homepage logo

Open house studio exhibit features ‘Art Around the Festival’

By Staff | Jul 12, 2019

Painter Gary Bergel discusses his work with Maureen Kelly and her husband, Fuad Issa, of McLean, Va. on Saturday afternoon. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN — The third annual “Art Around the Festival” open house studio exhibit was opened on Saturday at the home studio of Shepherdstown painter Doug Kinnett, at 409 Howard Farm Road.

Featuring the postmodern paintings of Kinnett, the nature photography and paintings of Gary Bergel and the photography and mosaics of Jill Rowland, the exhibit will be open for the next two Saturdays, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. According to Kinnett, the exhibit typically draws a few hundred visitors from every Contemporary American Theater Festival season.

“It’s wonderful — it’s not just a boost to our egos every year, but a boost to our income,” Kinnett said, mentioning the exhibit was advertised in CATF’s programs. “We advertise in their program and it pays for itself, because it draws people out here every year. It’s hard for artists in Shepherdstown to show their work — there just aren’t many places to do it, and it’s so expensive to rent space in Shepherdstown.

“It’s a good motivator, because I know I’ll be doing this every year,” Kinnett said, of how hosting the annual exhibit pushes him to create new art throughout the year. “We built this house, and the architect created it to be a place where we could have parties and studio tours.”

According to Kinnett, he not only benefits monetarily from holding the exhibit during CATF, but he and his wife have also supported CATF over the years.

From left, local artists Doug Kinnett, Jill Rowland and Gary Bergel stand in their "Art Around the Festival" exhibit on Saturday afternoon. Tabitha Johnston

“My wife was the treasurer for CATF’s program for years. I was on Shepherd’s faculty when CATF started, and I think we’ve seen about every play,” Kinnett said. “We really enjoy it a lot.”

For Bergel, an art teacher at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College, participating in the exhibit every year is an opportunity for him to showcase his nature-influenced work.

“I obviously am a fan of nature, and I can see how my love for nature has influenced my work,” Bergel said, mentioning his childhood in rural Wisconsin helped him develop an awareness of the beauty in nature. “I lived on a farm in Wisconsin until age eight. There were a lot of glacial lakes that influenced my art. My art is kind of a way to share my life.”

According to exhibit newcomer Rowland, being part of this year’s exhibit was a way for her and her partner, collectively known as Abbyrow, to gain more local awareness.

“I’ve been creating art for 15 years, on-and-off. I love it, because you can do whatever you want to do with it, and the only thing that limits you is your creativity,” Rowland said, mentioning her partner makes soap, while Rowland produces unique art pieces. “I kind of like to do photography that tells a story. With my mosaics, I try to combine materials in a combination of textures and natural elements, to make it both art and useful for the house.”