Since its opening in 1986, The Delaplaine Visual Arts and Education Center has hosted the Frederick County Art Association’s Winter Group Show, giving Frederick artists in different mediums and of varying levels of expertise, the opportunity to exhibit their work.
This year’s showcase opens Saturday and runs through Jan. 27. The Frederick County Art Association is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to artistic exposure and growth for its members, and the promotion of visual arts among the community.
“The goal was to form a community of artists as well as bring artist culture to Frederick,” says founding member Sonia Gadra. “Back then, there was very little available. We didn’t have too many opportunities. You had to go into D.C. or other areas.”
Members of the Art Association meet six times a year, and hear from a guest speaker once a month. There is a second member show at The Delaplaine every fall, and the group mans a booth every June at the Frederick Festival of the Arts.
“It gives us the opportunity to be able to exhibit ... mingle with other artists,” says Gadra.
A New York City native, Gadra says she’s been around the arts “practically all of [her] life.”
She attended the Art Students League of New York and then studied design at the University of Maryland. Though Gadra says she took a break from the arts to raise her children, joining the Frederick County Art Association more than 40 years ago helped her get back into painting.
Two of Gadra’s portraits will be on display at the showcase one, entitled “Needlewoman,” is a copy of a piece on display at the National Gallery of Art where Gadra works as a copyist. The other is a portrait of the artist’s grandniece.
“I love to watch people and see expressions and be able to create those with paint,” says Gadra. “It’s a difficult thing to do; capture someone’s expression and feeling, and that’s why I enjoy it so much, because it’s so challenging.”
Unlike Gadra, Frederick County Art Association president Steve Poole just recently began painting.
“I always had artistic abilities,” says Poole who used to channel his creativity making floral arrangements at his grandmother’s flower shop in Rockville. “That was one of my desires five years ago, to try [art].”
Just two years after joining the Art Association, Poole became the group’s president.
“The president at the time was looking for someone to take over ... and every organization I’m in, I always end up on the board or as the president,” says Poole.
Like Gadra, Poole will also have two paintings on display, although his are oil paintings.
Poole’s first piece is a scene overlooking Lake Linganore in Frederick, while the other is a painting of Liberty Farm in Maine. Both paintings were done “en plein air,” a French expression meaning “in the open air.” Instead of painting in a studio, Poole and other artists sat outdoors to paint their own versions of the scenes.
“It’s fun because you get to be out there with all of the other artists,” says Poole. “You kind of feed off of each other’s energy.”
While many of the pieces on display for the Winter Group Show are paintings, other mediums will also be exhibited.
Longtime Frederick County Art Association member and graphic designer Ron Roos is exhibiting his ceramic work at the showcase.
Roos, who worked as a graphic designer for the National Park Service up until a few years ago when he retired, now runs his own design office. Roos says he’s worked in a number of media but ceramics is new to him.
“Rather than continue to paint, I wanted to try something new,” says Roos. “Ceramics is more longterm ... you have to wait ... fire it ... and then determine what kind of surface finish ... [it’s] a process that takes its own time.”
Roos’ two sculptures on display are “Blue Spires” and “The Wave 2012” a nod to a famous Japanese print called “The Great Wave.”
For Roos, it’s the variety of artwork that makes the Winter Group Show stand out from other art exhibits in the area.
“It’s such a diverse membership,” Roos says of the Art Association. “It’s always a solid show.”
Poole says he’s pleased the Art Association and The Delaplaine continue to provide a space for Fredrick artists to display their work.
“It’s so hard to get into galleries,” says Poole. “This one is not restricted.”