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Potomac River Artists Guild highlights the work of local artists during annual Fine Art Show

By Staff | Jul 26, 2019

From left, Peri Celik, of Shepherdstown, points out a painting she likes to her husband, Ismail Celik, of Shepherdstown, at the Potomac River Artists Guild Fine Art Show and Sale in the War Memorial Building on Saturday evening. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN — The Potomac River Artists Guild’s Fine Art Show and Sale once again attracted many community members and Contemporary American Theater Festival attendees alike over the guild’s three-day weekend event in the War Memorial Building.

The guild’s “Meet the Artists” reception on Saturday afternoon alone drew about 75 attendees, according to guild member and watercolor/graphic artist Jane Horst, of Martinsburg.

“We had a good turnout. We haven’t figured out what our total sales are, but we have had a good number of items sold, both framed and unframed, larger and smaller items — it’s pretty exciting,” Horst said, mentioning this is one of the guild’s two annual sales — its November sale is a “fun” pre-Christmas event, with a wider range of prices. “This is what we call our museum show — it’s all on fine art.”

While both shows have been going on for many years, Horst said she has seen some noticeable trends in what CATF attendees purchase during their July show.

“In the past couple of years, the CATF attendees tend to gravitate towards landscapes of West Virginia — the ‘Country Roads’ sort of thing,” Horst said. “I’d definitely say that’s an interest area, for them to get a souvenir from their time in West Virginia.”

Paul Koehler, of Charles Town, looks through unframed paintings at the Potomac River Artists Guild Fine Art Show and Sale in the War Memorial Building on Saturday evening. Tabitha Johnston

Since Horst is a self-described “whimsical artist” who “paint(s) things that make people laugh or smile,” she does not typically paint landscapes. However, fellow guild member and watercolor painter Ronda Albright is one of the landscape artists who benefits from this trend.

“I do more flowers than anything, but I also do landscapes. In fact, over there is my ‘Dancing Leaves’ painting,” Albright said, mentioning she enjoys seeing many customers return every summer. “I know several people come back every year to CATF, and visit our sale in between their shows.”

Horst agreed with Albright, saying she enjoys talking with attendees about the guild and the show’s artwork.

“We enjoy putting on the show — we get to interact with the community and other artists who come here to see our art,” Albright, of Martinsburg, said. “We love when our art creates a discussion — which is exactly what the Contemporary American Theater Festival’s plays do. So our show complements the festival well.”

According to Horst, the guild asks its members to only bring new art to show at each event, which is one of the reasons why customers return to the Fine Art Show and Sale.

“Each show is different, because the art changes every time. For the most part, we ask each artist to provide new artwork for each show — we don’t want people to come in and say, ‘Oh, I’ve seen that!’ We want it to be totally new,” Horst said, mentioning many of the guild members have won awards for their art, which ranges from abstract to super realism.

“We have lots of art for everybody, and you can get a piece of art here for a bargain price,” Horst said.

To learn more about the Potomac River Artists Guild, visit www.potomacriverartistsguild.org.