Call for Artists – Color Blind: The Art of Black and White


For centuries, artists have worked in black and white, choosing to express their ideas in line and tone. The absence of applied color challenges the artist and viewer alike to discover the power and beauty of an image reduced to its essential black and white values.

The RiverArts February exhibit in the Main Gallery is Color Blind:  The Art of Black and White.  Curators Melinda Carl and Patricia Gilkison invite artists to submit original works in black and white – and shades in between – that explore the use of line and tone in the absence of color. Works in all media are welcome, including traditional and abstract drawings, on paper or canvas, sculptural, or three-dimensional pieces.

Two Women by Kevin Harris

Artists may submit up to two pieces to the show.

Drop-off for the show is Sunday, January 28, 2-4 p.m. and Monday, January 29, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Pickup for work after the show will be Sunday, February 25, 2-4 and Monday, February 26, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

The show opens First Friday, February 2, 2017 with a reception from 5-8 p.m.

For more information and to register visit and click Exhibits, or call RiverArts at 410 778 6300.

The RiverArts office, Gift Shop and Galleries are located at 315 High Street, Suite 106, Chestertown, MD  21620 – (in the breezeway).  Winter hours are Tuesday – Friday, 11 AM to 5:30 PM, Saturday 10 AM to 5:30 PM, and open on First Fridays until 8 PM.

Indulge in Your Creative Side at RiverArts


RiverArts is offering a full schedule of workshops and classes this winter- from jewelry to watercolor, pastels to photography, pottery wheel to handbuilding. Programs are available for all skill levels, from novice to those advanced artists interested in learning a new technique.

Want to promote your work? Join instructor Raven Bishop for a one-day workshop on designing a simple yet effective website to showcase your work or business, Saturday, January 21. Videos are currently a hot promotional tool on social media. On January 17, film and video producer Adele Schmidt will show you how to create seamless, smooth cuts with her workshop, Video Editing Techniques.

Chinese Painting, Wisteria, Xidan Zhang

For those interested in developing photography skills, the RiverArts Photo Club meets at 7 pm, every fourth Thursday.  It’s a great way to meet like- minded members of the community, and progress as an artist.

In Chinese Painting and Calligraphy II, January 24, instructor Xidan Zhang will demonstrate use of color ink in painting more complicated images. This class is appropriate for beginners as well as those who took her previous class.

Steve Bleinberger, award winning watercolor artist and popular teacher will divulge tips and tricks in Warm Up to Cool Caribbean Watercolors, Saturday, February 3.

Create unique earrings with jeweler Melissa Kay-Steves in her one-day workshop, Charming Silver Clay Earrings, Saturday, February 10. A perfect gift for you or a loved one, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Taken a pottery wheel course and want to try something new? Master potter Rick Bisgyer will share strategies and process in his 8-week Intermediate Porcelain on the Wheel, beginning January 18.

Life Drawing sessions are held every Monday evening 5 to 8 pm as well as every fourth Monday afternoon from 2 – 5 pm. It is an opportunity to practice your drawing skills with a live model. Cost is $15 in advance, or $20 drop in.  All are welcome.

For more information and to register visit and click Education, or call RiverArts at 410 778 6300.Classes are held at the ArtsAlive! Education Center, 200 High Street, or at the Clay Studio, 204 High Street.

The RiverArts office, Gift Shop and Galleries are located at 315 High Street, Suite 106, Chestertown, MD  21620 – (in the breezeway).  Winter hours are Tuesday – Friday, 11 AM to 5:30 PM, Saturday 10 AM to 5:30 PM, and open on First Fridays until 8 PM.

KidSPOT After School Program Begins February 5


Registration is now open for the spring session of RiverArts’ KidSPOT After School Enrichment, a 6-week program for children in grades 1-5. The program begins Monday, February 5;  sessions run from 4 to 6 pm Monday through Thursday, with snacks provided. Space is limited to 10.

The program is coordinated and led by experienced teacher, Elizabeth Healy,with additional instructors Hester Sachse, (theatre arts), and Marie Sneddon, games and dance.  Children will participate in both open ended (exploratory) and directed activities with seasonal and community themes that incorporate aspects of the S.T.E.A.M (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) concepts through a variety of hands-on activities and field trips.

Children will also learn and play a variety of non- competitive games and explore movement with yoga and dance.  On Thursdays,the focus will be on theatre arts, with improvisation, puppetry, and theatre games. The program will culminate with an after school play presentation.

Pre-registration is required.  Participants may sign up for the full 6 – week session, or by week, with a minimum of two days per week.For more details please visit, click on KidSPOT, or call RiverArts at 410 778 6300.

KidSPOT is a hands – on creative learning center for area children where they can look forward to interacting with a variety of stimulating activities that expand their horizons. Kids participate in activities that incorporate visual arts, performing arts, literary arts, music, science and technology.

Chestertown RiverArts is located at 315 High Street, Suite 106, Chestertown, MD  21620 – (in the breezeway).  Winter gallery hours are Tuesday – Friday, 11 AM to 5;30 PM, Saturday 10 AM to 5:30  PM, and open on First Fridays until 8 PM.

Smarter Photos with Your Smartphone


Paeonia, Anne Highfield-Clark

Take advantage of all those apps available for your smartphone!  In addition to one-day workshops on jewelry making and watercolors, RiverArts is offering a 4-week Smartphoneography class with Instructor Anne Highfield-Clark, plus two family-oriented workshops at the Clay Studio.

The Smartphoneography class offers a solid introduction to photo editing to enhance all your smartphone photos. Class runs Monday evenings, 6- 7 p.m., beginning November 13.

Viking Knit Bracelet

Love bracelets? Jewelry artist Melissa Kay-Steves is teaching a one-day workshop on the centuries-old Viking Knit copper weaving technique on Saturday, November 18. Students will create a stunning woven bracelet with charm. Perfect for holiday gift- giving – or for yourself!

On Sunday, November 19, RiverArts offers “Water, Water Everywhere,” with watercolor artist and instructor Steve Bleinberger. Workshop includes demonstrations and personalized instruction, as well as ‘tips and tricks’ for painting water.

The RiverArts Clay Studio has two family-oriented workshops scheduled.

In “Castle Cookie Jars:  A Family Affair,” participants will design and build their very own cookie jar to take home and fill with treats. Holiday Ornament making will be offered on both Friday, December 1, during the evening and daytime on Saturday December 2.

For more information and to register for classes and workshops visit and click on Education, or call RiverArts at 410 778 6300.

The family workshops are held at the RiverArts Clay Studio, 204 High Street. All other programs held at the ArtsAlive! Education Center, 200 High Street.

Chestertown RiverArts is located at 315 High Street, Suite 106, Chestertown, MD  21620 – (in the breezeway).  Gallery hours are Tuesday – Friday, 11 AM to 4 PM, Saturday 10 AM to 4 PM, Sunday 11 AM to 3 PM, and open on First Fridays until 8 PM.

The Chester River School of Art Exhibit by Mike Pugh


People’s Choice winner — Storm, pastel by Roberta Ingram

Our region of the Eastern Shore is well known as a welcome landscape for artists who seek to capture the terrific beauty that starts each day at dawn. This beauty carries over the gentle water and history-rich farmsteads like the migrating geese we hear now. This same beauty grows throughout the day with watermen, townsfolk, and all the hard-working women right into the pastel-drawn sunsets of earthy tones. These four-dimensional sunsets are often viewed behind stands of trees and silhouettes of barns that have always been painted with iron-rust red. The fields of feed corn and soy are colored from various earth tones like the sand and very clay they grow from. The natural stains and pigments that capture this beauty also come from the earth. Red rust oxide descended from countless shooting stars stretching back before the history of recorded observations by John Smith and the oral tradition anchored in memory. We see this color in the hand-formed red bricks of our colonial architecture, and we have it in our blood. Millions of greens, pure blues, and surprising highlights of pinks and yellow draw the eye and reflect what we see (and how we feel about what we see).

Temptation – porcelain mask by Dianna Frymiare

You are unlikely to see anything dashed upon rocky crags, people trapped in their despair, or anything that can be called “cold” or “severe” when you view art from the Chester River region. Here, cold winters are about hunting and resting fields. Work and recreation are difficult to tell apart as captured by the artist. Art collectors descended on us during the Open Studio tours last month because they too are hungry for the rare and valuable nectar that we possess here. It is our charge to celebrate, protect, and record what surrounds and nurtures us. Let’s not forget the rhythm of our poetry and music that descends from our warm-hearted spirituality.

Some may think that the predictable array of water/grass/barn/wildlife topics that our artists insist on revisiting is common and ubiquitous. It is to those people who I invite first to come view the “RiverArts Student Exhibit” at the Chestertown RiverArts Gallery these next two weeks. As an artisan potter (and curator of this exhibition), I hope you will begin to see what I see: Our peaceful landscape and graceful inhabitants of this landscape have entwined to form a masterwork of transcendental beauty and wisdom in an era of growing uncertainty and media exhaustion. Here along the quiet tides of the Chester River, a particular unified tone of Gentle Nature and Mild Timelessness has come to dominate our culture and arts. This local vernacular tradition is the unique Chester River School of Art.

Hand-decorated vases — glazed brown and glazed white stoneware by Lolli Sherry

Earth, Sky and Water — scrafitto on clay plate by Laura Ventura

How do our artists capture the extraordinary context of Kent and Queen Anne Counties? What is our collective voice when it comes to making art that celebrates our poetic landscape, our vibrant communities, and our diverse cultures and histories? In everything we artists and artisans of RiverArts create, we seek to capture the beauty (and sometimes the challenge) that surrounds us all, even when we travel. The artists in this exhibition present diverse works that reflect the themes and skills of their RiverArts classes over the past year. You may discover a regional commonality in the pleasant treatment of light, texture, line, and color throughout the various mediums of paint, pastel, and pottery in the exhibition. There is a theme of a rural life in conscious balance with the changing light of each day.

There is an overarching comfort that we are at harmony with Nature. Suzanne Fisher’s Soybeans depicts a familiar farm scene where the dominant field of autumn colors can also be found in earthy tones of several of the stoneware pieces in the gallery.  Many works focus on the life-giving water that surrounds us. Who wouldn’t want to glide down the river of Golden Grass by Marjorie Adams? Other works reflect local traditions and ways. Anne Singer’s Highlander Stu uses nuanced light to convey a deep gaze of open sincerity. Don’t you agree we have something spectacular happening in our local arts? Tell me what you think.

Chestertown RiverArts Gallery is open Tuesday-Sunday, through November 12

More at: 

Mike Pugh is the RiverArts Clay Studio manager in Chestertown.


Call For Artists: Life on and Around Eastern Shore Waterways



Workboat at Rest, Jack Fancher

RiverArts’ September exhibit is focused on the  Eastern Shore waterways that overflow with history, life and activity. Life on the Eastern Shore interacts with these waterways in countless ways, making this a rich environment for artists of all kinds.

Curators Barbara and Jack Fancher invite artists to share their interpretations of this beautiful, bountiful, unique locality. The show is open to all media, both two dimensional and three dimensional art.

The show opens Friday, September 1 and runs through October 1. Drop off for work is August 27 and 28.  Artists are encouraged to submit online in advance.

For more information and to register work for the exhibit, visit and click on exhibitions, or call RiverArts at 410 778 6300.

Chestertown RiverArts is located at 315 High Street, Suite 106, Chestertown (in the breezeway).  Gallery hours are Tuesday – Friday, 11 AM to 4 PM, Saturday 10 AM to 4 PM, Sunday 11 AM to 3 PM, and open on First Fridays until 8 PM.

RiverArts’ August Exhibits Include NY Artists Guild, Photo Show


RiverArts’ August exhibits include the annual juried photography show, “The Soul of Photography,” in the Main Gallery and work by the New York Artists Guild in the Studio Gallery. The opening reception for both shows is August 4, First Friday, from 5 to 8 p.m.

Photography curator Steve  Kane challenged artists to transform an inanimate image into a work of art that expresses the passion of the mind’s eye. Juror Jeff Weber selected work that “holds the viewers’ eyes and thought,”….and ..communicates a compelling story.”  The judge is Jay Fleming, a professional photographer based in Annapolis. His work has appeared in National Fisherman, Save the Bay, National Geographic News, and Angler’s Journal.

A Best of Show will be awarded, along with a variety of merit awards, including Nature and Wildlife, Street Life, Human Subjects and Portraiture, Still Life, Black and White, and Creative Digital Enhancement.

The Studio Gallery features work by seven members of the New York Artists Guild, a group of professional artists from upstate New York including  glass artist Sabra Richards, a part time resident of Kent County.  Sculptor and fiber artist Jappie King Black has a mixed media installation, « Disquiet, » plus a series of bronze baskets.

Photographer Howard Koft creates abstractions through digital photography. Bruno Chalifor’s « Le Site Corot » is a series of black and white photographs of a location in France frequented by Corot. g.a. Sheller is a watercolorist and photographer.  Her work is a combination of painting, 19th century and 21st  century photo processes.

The group also includes oil painter Wendy Menzie  and  mixed media artist Alice Gold, who  works primarily in painting, printmaking and collage.

Both exhibits will be up through Sunday, August 27.

For more information visit or call RiverArts at 410 778 6300.

Pastel, Photography, Talavera & Windchime Workshops on Offer at RiverArts


The new ArtsAlive! RiverArts Education Center and Clay Studio are hosting a variety of summer workshops that are sure to pique your interest – and perhaps house guests and visiting family as well. Subjects range from Digital SLR camera basics to film making, painting pastels from photographs, to creating Talavera style beads and even wind chimes for your back patio.

Want to learn how to use that fancy camera you have and take pictures you will be proud to hang on your wall? Award winning photographer Bob Miller will teach a 4-week course, Wednesdays, June 14 – July 5, entitle Digital SLR Basics.

More interested in creating a video? Backpack Film making, Saturday, July 15, is a hands-on, one day workshop that will give an overview of tools used when shooting a video. No previous experience necessary. Three video cameras will be available for use during the class.

June 14- 16, instructor Mary Pritchard will unlock the secrets to success in Painting Pastels from Photographs. This workshop is for advanced beginners through experienced pastellists.

RiverArts Clay Studio potters are offering a number of special topic workshops in addition to the regularly scheduled potter’s wheel courses. There are two Talavera decorating workshops with Instructor Fredy Granillo, one for beaded jewelry – June 17, and one for Bisque ware – July 1.

Potter Dianna Frymiare will teach participants how to create, decorate and glaze a wind chime in Blowin’ in the Wind; dates for this 2-week class are July 5 and 19.


For more information and to register for these classes and others visit  the RiverArts website and click on Education, email, or call RiverArts at 410 778 6300.


Fifth Annual Art in Bloom Celebrates Floral Design


For the fifth year, Chestertown RiverArts and Community Mediation Upper Shore are joining together to produce “Art in Bloom,” a celebration of the art of floral design. On June 18, the RiverArts Galleries will be full of floral arrangements inspired by the artworks exhibited by RiverArts’ June exhibition, “The Journey,” a multi- media show of paintings, photographs, and 3D artwork.

My June Garden Paint Daubs Sue Basener

Some dozen floral designers will interpret the art on the walls. Don’t expect to see traditional bouquets. Previous arrangements included roses coming out of a violin, a giant window box, and an arch of flowers over a pond.

On Sunday, June 18, from 4-6 p.m., all are invited to a champagne reception to view the arrangements and artwork while enjoying music, gourmet hors d’oeuvres, and a raffle featuring garden – themed gifts. A ticket for this reception is $25. Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to be inspired by these creative floral arrangements

Proceeds from “Art in Bloom” go to support Community Mediation Upper Shore, whose mission is to provide accessible conflict resolution services through mediation, education, and training for the folks of Kent, Queen Anne’s and Cecil Counties, and Chestertown RiverArts, a community arts center with a spectacular gallery and an extensive program of exhibitions, education, and community outreach activities.

Tickets for these shows may be purchased online at the RiverArts website,, click on Annual Events, or by calling RiverArts at 410-778-6300.  You may also stop by the RiverArts Galleries at 315 High Street, Suite 106. Regular hours are Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., First Friday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.