Arts Council to host exhibit
Jefferson Arts Council (JAC) is excited to host “Crit Group Works,” an exhibit of new works by seven members of an artists’ critique group in Jefferson County.
The group has been meeting for eight years, and current members include Gary Bergel, Judy Bradshaw, Rebecca Grace Jones, Stan Jones, Doug Kinnett, Fran Skiles and Craig Winkel. Work by all seven artists will be included in the exhibit, as well as information about their group process.
The Opening Reception will be held on Friday, July 10, 6-8 p.m. Visitors are welcome to explore the exhibit amid conversation and snacks. Group members will be available for questions and wall text will describe some of their processes and inspirations.
Doug Kinnett, former coordinator of the Art Education Major at Shepherd University and founder of this group, will offer an artist’s talk at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 10. He will answer questions about how a crit group works, what artists gain from the process and outline the ways other artists can gather together to critique works in progress and to inspire and encourage each other.
Kinnett cited David Shenk’s book ‘The Genius in All of Us” as inspiration, including the opening page quote: “Compared with what we ought to be, we are only half awake, our fires are damped, our drafts are checked. We are making use of only a small part of our physical and mental resourcesstating the thing broadly, the human individual lives far within his limits.”
“I find that friends in crit group encourage and demonstrate how I might go farther within my limits. I hope I do the same for them each time we meet,” added Kinnett.
Crit groups include members at all stages of learning, and while some members have arts training in their backgrounds, many are new to the arts.
“It allows a new artist to learn the culture and language of art by working, talking and sharing art with artists! It supports growth and adventure in your art-making,” said Stan Jones, painter.
“Getting together with the same group of artists over time gives me the privilege of seeing my own work through the eyes, mindset and creative process of fellow artists, and to hear their unique insights and perspectives on my work,” said Gary Bergel, photographer.
“Getting together breaks the silence and isolation of working alone as an artist. It’s a good thing!” commented Judy Bradshaw, painter.
Rebecca Grace Jones, painter, finds strength in the opportunity to be vulnerable among other artists, and finds the accepting environment ideal for learning and growing. She often brings work in progress, and continues working on the pieces after meeting with the group.
“Being a member of this group has inspired me in countless ways and pushed me to do things with my artwork I don’t think I would have done just working on my own,” she said.
Craig Winkel stresses their commitment to positive and constructive feedback.
“Our members truly seek to affirm each other while offering queries that engage the artist in serious introspection, as well as broaden our views through experiencing each other’s techniques.”
Mid-July, the Crit Group will be opening a second “Crit Group Works” exhibit at Berkeley Art Works in Martinsburg, including work by all seven members plus ceramics by Joy Bridy. The exhibit runs July 15-Aug. 9, with the opening reception on July 25, 4-6p.m. The group has plans for a late-summer workshop for artists of all levels interested on starting their own groups based on mutual support and inspiration.
The Fire Hall Gallery is located in Downtown Charles Town, inside the Visitor’s Center at 108 N. George St. The Gallery is shared with the Washington Street Artists’ Cooperative, and open seven days a week, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
For more information, visit Jefferson Arts Council page on facebook.