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Berkeley Arts Council to open new art gallery/center for the arts

July 07, 2013|By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A goal in the works for nearly four years by a group trying to promote the arts will be realized Aug. 14, when a ribbon will be cut to open the doors to Berkeley County Art Works.

The new art gallery/center for the arts at 116 N. Queen St. is the creation of the Berkeley Arts Council Inc.

It’s being opened “to connect local art groups with the community,” council President Malinda Shaver said.

The idea for the center came from Shaver and Sterling “Rip” Smith.

“We could see it as a way to benefit the community and the artists,” Shaver said.

The arts council, which was founded in the summer of 2009, has 35 to 40 members, most of whom are local artists. They include painters, photographers, sculptors, potters, jewelry makers, writers and theater people, Shaver said.

The idea for the center is to help local artists promote their work in the community by showing them how to photograph their work, create websites and prepare for juried presentations, Shaver said. 

In addition to providing gallery space for local artwork, classes for adults and children will be offered.

The works of about a dozen local artists, photographers and sculptors already are on display at the center.

According to its promotional brochure, “The Berkeley Arts Council has created significant opportunities to move Berkeley County toward a more vibrant, entertaining and enriching cultural environment. We use collaboration and communication to connect people, places and arts events.”

Some council programs receive financial assistance from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and the National Endowment for the Arts through the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

The center’s Arts in Education program is the interest of council Vice President Jane Horst, who schedules workshops, speaking programs and art classes for children and adults.

A program was established for home-schooled children.

“That went very well,” Horst said.

The all-volunteer council has held monthly workshops on such topics as acrylics and painting flowers with watercolors. Taught by local artists, people can attend “just to see if they’d like to do it,” Horst said.

Volunteer Donn Marshall helps the council with grants and fundraising.

“Having arts in the community makes life more than just 9 to 5. It makes us human,” he said.

Center events this summer include art classes, two acrylic workshops and the Eastern West Virginia Juried Exhibit.

For times and schedules, go to the council’s website at www.berkeleyartswv.org.

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