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Local talent showcased in festival

July 11, 1999

Mansion House Arts Fest.By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer

photo: MARLA BROSE / staff photographer




For award-winning artist Bob Wantz, starting a new painting is like the kickoff of a football game.

"You have that same excitement and anticipation when you approach a blank canvas," he said.

The watercolorist can speak from experience; he was a running back for the old Hagerstown High School.

"Painting allows me to re-create that excitement - a chance some people never get," said Wantz, of Hagerstown.

More than 200 people gathered at Hagerstown's City Park to view Wantz's paintings along with the works of 20 other local artists Sunday during the Mansion House Arts Festival.

The exhibit featured watercolors, oils, acrylics, pen and ink, pastels and stained glass works.

The festival has been held at the museum under different names the past few years, said Marilyn Harper, director of the Mansion House Arts Center.

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Artists from Hagerstown, Waynesboro and Chambersburg, Pa., and Falling Waters and Martinsburg, W. Va., were on hand Sunday to discuss their work.

Harper said she is impressed by the number of quality artists in the Tri-State area.

"We have more per square foot than anywhere," she said.

With classical music playing, art lovers strolled through the museum and out onto the wrap-around porch where works were displayed. Paintings were also shown nearby on the park grounds.

Cooler temperatures on Sunday after the past week's hot spell made the event more enjoyable, Harper said.

Wantz presented more than 19 of his realistic paintings, including landscapes and still lifes inspired by scenes in Maryland, he said.

A painter for the last 27 years, Wantz has been able to devote his full attention to watercolors since retiring in 1990 as principal of Clear Spring Middle School.

"After all these years, I still enjoy it. I never get bored with it," he said.

Painter and stained-glass artist Tina Stonestreet participated in her first Mansion House festival on Sunday.

The Monrovia, Md., artist displayed acrylic landscapes, street scenes and abstract, collage-style stained glass creations.

She sold one work at the festival, said Stonestreet, a retired medical science editor.

Stonestreet recently began experimenting with the medium after taking a class, she said. Some of the stained glass pieces incorporate broken plates.

"They're some of my favorite pieces, and I just don't have the heart to throw them away," she said.

Watercolorist Karen Davison, of Bunker Hill, W. Va., displayed several realistic, abstract and collage works on the mansion's front porch.

The artist said she is inspired by intense colors.

"I like to experiment. I don't feel restricted by anything," she said.

Collages are her latest passion because of their versatility and forgiving nature, she said.

"It's impossible to make a mistake or ruin a piece. If you don't like it, you just peel it off and start over," she said.

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