Swirling autumn leaves are ushering in a richness of art offerings to Gaithersburg! The season promises a return from the dearth of the past two years to satisfy art lovers over the coming months. Several exhibitions linger from late summer and others open in October. Gallery Program Coordinator Jaree Donnelly is excited about the new season—”Covid really created havoc in our scheduling, and we are still catching up with bringing in exhibits that had to be postponed. We are happy that we can finally share exhibits that had been initially planned in 2019 and 2020.”
Bright spots are an additional gallery at the Benjamin Gaither Center, a rejuvenation of the Arts Barn’s City Shop and a 20th year celebration of the Arts Barn. It is an opportune time to reacquaint yourself with the City’s galleries or see them for the first time. You may even find pieces to enhance your surroundings or develop a passion for a new artform! Arts Administrator Linda Bloom commented on the Arts Barn’s 20th year celebration—“We have planned an entire year of special arts programming, with many programs free or at a nominal charge, and accessible to the public. Everyone is invited to explore their creative selves by taking an art class, seeing a theatre or musical performance, visiting our public art collection or enjoying an engaging exhibit in one of our galleries throughout the City. It’s all waiting for you!”
The gem called the Arts Barn is featuring “Sisterhood II: Fine Crafts”, reminding you not to overlook the variety of innovative media and artisans who create work other than painting. Curated by Mary Weiss Waldhorn, “Sisterhood II: Fine Crafts” is a Covid-delayed exhibit intended for 2020 to mark the centennial of women’s suffrage and features work by 11 women in embroidery, fiber art, weaving, glass, polymer and epoxy clays, beading, assemblage, ceramics, wood and printmaking. Opening October 7th, the exhibition runs through November 19th and includes a meet the artists joint reception with the show at the Mansion on Thursday, October 13th at 7 pm.
Tucked inside the Arts Barn, the City Shop has for many years featured the fine arts and crafts of local artisans for your shopping pleasure. Earlier this year, Manager Anne Cherubim published a call for local artists to submit applications for their work to be included in the shop. “The idea to have artists apply every year keeps things fresh and challenges artists to think about how to refine their work and process. We work with artists creating high quality work, showing professional-level artistic and technical achievement. New artists also bring new visitors who may not have been to the Arts Barn or known about it before. Visitors to our performances, as well as people taking classes here regularly, peruse the shelves and often leave with something unique and handmade.”
Established in 1896, the Washington Water Color Association brings their “Relief from the Heat” exhibit to Kentlands Mansion. President Anne Albright commented, “Our theme is a thought on not only the ‘relief’ of the heat of the weather as we move from summer to fall, but also the ‘heat’ and stress of not being able to do things together as an association. Our members were so pleased to have the opportunity to work together in hanging our 51 pieces by 15 member artists. We hope that visitors to the show find ‘relief” and calm in their day while viewing these beautiful paintings.” Open since August 26th, the exhibit features work using forms of watermedia such as watercolor, gouache, acrylic and water-soluble graphite. The exhibit runs through January 22, 2023 and will share an artist’s reception with the Arts Barn’s exhibit on October 13th at 7 pm.
The Activity Center at Bohrer Park Gallery is a unique space allowing visitors to view art up close, particularly larger works. Opening on September 9th is the “Hispanic Heritage Celebration” curated by local artist Roxana Rojas-Luzon. Roxana expounded, “Hispanic artists want to offer the community a complete vision of what it means to be Hispanic. Our works not only represent what we left in our countries of origin and our nostalgia, but also our daily joys and struggles—what we are living and learning here every day. They are a fusion of imagination, experiences and richly varied influences. Our Hispanic heritage is intrinsic in our imagery and colors—what we learned as children: love for our families, landscapes, faces and traditions. All this is rendered not only realistically but also figuratively, abstractly and even surreally.”
Opening on October 21st at the Benjamin Gaither Center is “Maryland Waterways,” a juried charitable exhibition in partnership with GPARC Arts & Culture Alliance (a non-profit group closely associated with the City). The exhibit features juried work to help support conservation efforts for the Chesapeake watershed. GPARC member Jaree Donnelly commented, “Maryland artists were asked to submit images of their pieces and a jury composed of GPARC members and professional artists reviewed the submissions and chose the work. Something very special about this exhibit is that it is a charitable effort, and a portion of artwork sales will go to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. The GPARC team felt strongly that they not only wanted to provide an opportunity for artists to exhibit, but also to provide education about protecting the watershed and hopefully providing funds to help preserve the environment. The exhibition is part of GPARC Arts & Culture Alliance’s Art & the Environment initiative, which also includes the annual Storm Drain Art Contest and the Paint the Plows Project.” The exhibition is on view through January 16, 2023.
The City of Gaithersburg is a leader in the County for their dedication to art through diverse offerings and venues as well a willingness to showcase Maryland artists. If you have missed in-person art, enjoy the opportunity to be reawakened with these engaging presentations. For detailed information on all exhibitions, visit the City’s website at https://www.gaithersburgmd.gov/recreation/visual-arts.