A unique way to shop; presented by the Garrett County Arts Council

Written by Mary McEwen of the Garrett County Arts Council

In partnership with Simon Pearce Glassworks, the Garrett County Arts Council (GCAC) has “rolled with the COVID-19 punches” to create a new version of its popular “SEYMOUR, An Art Experience” marketplace, which has been held as for the past two years as part of Garrett County’s annual Autumn Glory Festival. This year’s event will be an online virtual experience with in-person displays at The Gallery Shop (108 S. Second Street, Oakland, MD 21550).

“We are so excited to offer a dynamic, immersive, virtual marketplace that will be marketed throughout Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Virginia, and the District of Columbia,” said Kathy Beachler, GCAC executive director. “Our online art experience kicked off with the Autumn Glory Festival on Thursday, Oct. 7, online at www.seymourart.org. Guests will be able to continue visiting and shopping on the website through the holiday season.

For the first two successful SEYMOUR experiences in 2018 and 2019, the GCAC engaged in a unique collaboration with Simon Pearce, and held the high-quality art market in a section of the glass-making company’s facility in Mountain Lake Park. Because of the pandemic situation this year, the entire enterprise has moved online, although not without the continued partnership between the company and the arts council. Together they are presenting SEYMOUR, an Online Art Experience. Visitors are able to view artists’ work. In the future they will be able to take part in such online events as Meet the Artist Q&As and creative demonstrations over several weekends.

Beachler and the SEYMOUR Planning Committee have been working on the transformation from in-person to online for several months, with the driving goal of preserving the popular event and continuing the GCAC’s tradition of supporting and promoting local artists.

“We invested time, energy, and funding so our artists can still exhibit and sell their work during the annual festival and throughout the holiday season,” Beachler said. “We felt strongly that this was an important tradition to uphold despite the pandemic.”

The items featured in SEYMOUR cover a wide range of art, from jewelry and woodworking to fabric art and literary works. More than 20 artists have registered to be part of the first portion of the experience. Friendsville area artist Susan Johnston has several watercolor paintings available.

“From my earliest memory I have pursued the joys and challenges of watercolor painting,” Johnston said. “My work is mostly using transparent paint and subject matter ranges from architecture, still life, landscapes and natural scenery. Recently I have developed a series of paintings that echo the movement of trees in the forest. These works are juxtaposed with traditional paintings of the forest floor which give the viewer impressions of a walk in the woods.”

Lori Wall of Crimson Shamrock has a wide range of accessories available, including adult clothing, artwork, housewares, scarves and shawls, woven, crocheted, and braided, and more. Katelin Moomau is offering her own designs of beaded jewelry, and Renee Keil will offer her oil paintings, pastels and watercolor prints.
Anne Lee of Artfully Told is a painter and paper artist who creates original pieces with watercolor and ink on paper or acrylic on canvas. She makes digital prints of some original paintings and designs original greeting cards with holiday and general themes.

April Hebden of Master Craft Printers LLC paints saws, canvases and greeting cards. Watercolorist Sue Arnson of the Loft Shop has joined SEYMOUR and will offer her well-known landscapes and floral paintings and monoprints.

Accomplished painter Robert Yonke has his watercolor and mixed media paintings on display, featuring subject matter such as golfing, sailing, the outdoors, and regional landscapes. Yonke’s work is also on display with work from Simon Pearce Glassworks in the George Littman Building windows, thanks to an ongoing partnership with NFP Insurance.

The signature woodwork of Alan Arnson, is also part of SEYMOUR. He concentrates on functional natural edge bowls, rustic boxes and kitchen items such as toast tongs and cheese boards.

A wide range of photography is being featured, with the work of professionals Neal Blizzard of Ruddy Duck Studio, David Bruffy of Smoke N Mirrors Photography, Caroline Blizzard of Hawk’s Flight Studio, and William Hentosh of Hentosh Photography.

Val Lucas of Bowerbox Press is offering her letterpress printed goods including greeting cards, notes, coasters, flags, and notebooks. She also creates fine art woodcut prints in limited editions, handbound journals, and artist books. “My work is inspired by the natural world and my experiences in it,” Lucas said.

Local favorite Connie Pardini of Wirestorm Creations is exhibiting and selling her jewelry made of sterling silver, copper, and mixed metals; ornaments; mobiles/hanging decor, miniature wire trees, miniature scenes (see photos), and more.

Writer Rhoda Trooboff, of Tenley Circle Press, Ltd., has included her Books For children ages 0-12 series, with strong ethical, health, and environmental themes, plus other books for adults and aspiring authors. And unique, handmade silver jewelry is being shown by Dianne Ferazzi of Girls In A Box Jewelry. Additional artists are preparing to take part during the holiday season as well, Beachler noted.

All artists’ work has been judged by a multi-member jury to bring the finest art to this endeavor. Artists chosen to participate are being assisted via online tutorials as to how to write their own biographies, how to photograph their products, and website building. Beachler noted that these forms of assistance are in keeping with the mission of the Garrett County Arts Council to help support and sustain artists of all disciplines.

Patrons will be able to view a wide array of each artist’s work online and choose items to purchase. Customers may order items to be shipped to them by the individual artists, or they may utilize a curbside pickup option at The Gallery Shop (108 S. Second Street, Oakland).

“We so appreciate our continued collaboration with Simon Pearce, a company that produces its own exquisite hand-made art, in this year’s SEYMOUR Art Experience,” Beachler said. “Together we are happy to not only keep SEYMOUR alive, but to create a needed outlet to support both our artists and our art-lovers.”
Everyone is invited to come to www.seymourart.org and enjoy the SEYMOUR, An Online Art Experience!