BAC Update October, 2019

October, 2009 saw the fully formed Berkeley Arts Council Board of Directors begin to develop plans. The stated goals of the Berkeley Arts Council are to champion the arts in Berkeley County, to support practicing artists and local art organizations, to encourage economic development through the arts, and to facilitate the growth of our community into a regional arts destination. We invite you to follow along with our progress and explore the blog archives on our website:


About a month ago Malinda gave us a recounting of how the Arts Council started and where we’ve progressed in the past 10 years.  The keyboard has been passed over to me, as the current president, to say a few words about our direction in the next 10 years.

Simply put the main direction is growth.  Growth as artists, growth as an organization, and growth of art in our community.  A quick check on gives 44 synonyms for the word “growth”.  What does it mean for the Arts Council?

“Increase.” The first and major direction is membership growth.  2020 will bring a new push to expand our membership numbers.  The Arts Council is reaching out to a wider and broader audience.  One such example is, this coming February we will be hosting an exhibit of tattoo art.  The Council is looking to promote arts of all mediums; visual, performing, decorative, graphic, and written.  We need  and want everyone, especially our current member, to encourage artists and those who support the arts to join our ranks as members.

“Germination.”   An increase of members will increase germination of ideas for new programs and activities.  Along with the ideas will come new hands to  turn the ideas into real events.  Our past 10 years has put us on firm ground for exhibits, but there’s always room for expansion.  We have plenty of room to grow in classes, workshops, and “one-shot events”.  All ideas are welcome.  Please let your thoughts be known.

Maturation.”   Growing older doesn’t necessarily mean a person or organization is maturing.  As an organization the Council is working to increase its interaction in the “organizational community”.  While not a “lobbying” organization the Council plans to make sure the Arts are recognized as a vital section of a thriving community.   Regarding the individual artist, the council plans on developing “drop-in” sessions for artists to gather and discuss topics of their choosing.  Interacting  together to hone skills or simply build comradery.   FYI, we need a name for these type of “get-togethers”.  Suggestions anyone.

No need to worry that I’m going to go through all 44 of the synonyms, but I’ll close with, “Rise.”  This is the all-important point.  An organization doesn’t succeed just because it has a name.  It’s rises because there is an interest from its members to support it functions.  We don’t have the answers for the next 10 years,  but with continued and increased support we will continue to highlight the artistic community of the Eastern Panhandle.

Watch for more specifics.  And please send us  suggestions at

You can give me a call at home 304-271-8872


Anna Howard

Berkeley Arts Council

In the Art Works











Curator’s Statement

Making objects makes us human.

It’s in our nature to want to make things with our hands. Before the Industrial Revolution, all things were made by hand and those hand-crafted objects connected the events of daily life to basic materials and the elements of nature.

The making of craft connects the past to the present. Objects once made out of necessity have developed today into sophisticated art and design. Fine craft artists keep culture and tradition alive by using the same basic materials and techniques while interpreting modern-day ideas into beautiful works of useful art.

The power of hand-made objects is not just that they are incredibly beautiful, but they connect us to other times, to other places and most importantly, to other people.

An object that is made by another person’s hand deepens our experience with it and the event for which it is used. We make memories by engaging with hand-made objects and we pass those memories and the objects themselves along to future generations.

Craft is tactile and dimensional; it exists in the real world as opposed to the virtual world to which our society has become accustomed.  Hand-crafted objects are the result of physical activity, mastery of medium, focused attention, curiosity, and passion.

I hope you’ll spend time looking deeply at the objects in this exhibit. Consider how they were made, consider what they are made of, consider the traditions they represent, consider the sense of purpose, skill and passion that went into making them. Enjoy their beauty and let them tell their stories.

Annette Verna, October 2019

Explore Creativity With The Artisans at the Berkeley Art Works

A Facilitated Discussion of Creativity
with the Exhibiting Artists

Sunday, October 20 from 2:00 – 4:00pm
Light refreshments will be served.

Berkeley Art Works
116 North Queen Street in Martinsburg

Check us out on Facebook and let us know that you’re coming.

Join us for a facilitated discussion about creativity with artists participating in the Craft in the Eastern Panhandle show.

We’ll be posing questions to these craftspeople in an effort to get at the heart of what it means to make objects.

  • How did they start making craft?
  • What makes them want to create – what’s the “pull”?
  • What draws them to their given medium or method of working?
  • Where does their inspiration come from?
  • Where or how do they continue to seek artistic growth?

Come to participate in the discussion, or just to listen – all are welcome!


Craft in the Eastern Panhandle Exhibit at the Berkeley Art Works

The Berkeley Arts Council in Martinsburg, West Virginia announces its first “Craft in the Eastern Panhandle” exhibit, October 9 through November 9 at the Berkeley Art Works, 116 North Queen Street in Martinsburg. A reception for “Craft in the Eastern Panhandle” will be held on Sunday, October 13, 2019 from 2:00 – 4:00pm at the Berkeley Art Works.  On Sunday, October 20 from 2:00 – 4:00pm, participate in a discussion about craft and creativity with artists participating in the show. The exhibit is curated by Annette Verna, a ceramic artist whose work is offered in the Berkeley Art Works co-op gallery.

In conjunction with American Craft Week, which is held each year in early October, this exhibit is a month-long celebration of contemporary fine craft and highlights the work of ten artists living and working in and around the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.  These artists are master craftspeople working in a variety of media including basketry, clay, metal, textiles, and wood.  Their work represents the high quality of craft being created in our region.

Prior to the Industrial Revolution, handmade objects were primarily utilitarian and tied us to nature through the use of traditional materials and techniques.  Today, using these same materials and techniques, artists transform ideas into works of useful art.  Craft is tactile and dimensional; it exists in the physical world as opposed to the virtual world to which our society has become accustomed.  Hand-crafted objects are the result of physical activity, mastery of medium, focused attention, curiosity, and passion.  They provide us with deep appreciation and meaningful connections in our daily life.

Additional craft-related activities going on in the community during October include activities at the Berkeley Pottery and the Martinsburg Library.

[UPDATE: Award Winners]Accepted Works: Eastern WV Juried Exhibit

The Berkeley Arts Council in Martinsburg, West Virginia announces the accepted artists for the Seventh Annual Eastern West Virginia Juried Exhibit, to be displayed in the Berkeley Art Works Gallery, 116 North Queen Street in Martinsburg, WV. The exhibition will be on display September 4 – October 5, 2019.

26 works from 24 regional artists were selected from 58 submitted works by Juror Judith Becker.

Juror’s Statement:

There were many creative and interesting pieces entered into the exhibit. Selecting the best to show the talent and diversity of the wonderful artists of our area of West Virginia was a challenge. Our exhibit space does not allow for every entry to be accepted and shown. Therefore, some pieces could not be accepted and is no reflection on the value of the work(s) you submitted but did not get selected.

I selected pieces which exemplified excellent creativity, elements of good composition and design and technical acumen. This will portray to the visitors to the exhibit the high level of talent each accepted artist has.

Congratulations the artists whose work were accepted to this great annual juried art exhibit.

Judith Becker, BS Design, Cert. of Education and MSE

Continue reading

Berkeley Arts Council Anniversary Update

Happy Ten Year Anniversary!

We are proud of the continuous programming we’ve created in the ten years since the Council was incorporated on August 14, 2009 and we’re about to launch another year of arts, with an exciting schedule of exhibits, more community activities and our most comprehensive schedule of classes to date!

Ten Years Ago: Malinda Shaver Looks Back

In a conversation with Annette Verna, founding member and past-President Malinda Shaver reflects on the Arts Council’s beginnings ten years ago.

Malinda worked in the Arts in Montgomery County, Maryland, starting in community theater. With her partner and co-founder, Rip Smith, they saw an opportunity to bring the various arts organizations and interests in Berkeley County together to share resources and benefit from a common purpose.

Malinda: “From Rip’s and my earliest association with the arts here, we heard of the wish of local artists to contribute to a desirable and economically healthy but still historic downtown.”

One early inspiration came from Cumberland, MD. In February, 2009, then Executive Director Andy Vick of the Allegany Arts Council made a trip to Martinsburg and spoke to the City Club and other local arts groups about how arts had bolstered the revitalization of that town. That led to the development of the Berkeley Arts Bulletin to promote networking and let the public know what we were trying to do.

They discussed ideas with other organizations, including the Heritage Craft Center and the ArtBerkeley organization as well as numerous individual artists.

From the start, practicing artists were always the primary focus of our efforts and we could see how they could benefit from having an Arts Council. Besides building community, we could provide them exhibition space to show their work, and we also offered Artisan Resource workshops in cooperation with the Tamarack Foundation, to help artists build business and professional skills to strengthen their careers.

Malinda: “Some thought it was not a good time to launch an arts council, since funds were almost non-existent. But sooner or later we felt improvement was coming. Our discussions indicated there was strong support for moving forward, so we jumped in with both feet, incorporating the Berkeley Arts Council in August of 2009: With this foundation we would be ready to take advantage of whatever new opportunities came along.”

We hope to continue to tell the story of the past ten years, reviewing the successes and challenges, as we also plan for the next ten years. In the meantime, you can go back in time and explore our blog archives on our website:

In the Berkeley Art Works Gallery















Coming in October:

We are excited to announce our first “Craft in the Eastern Panhandle” exhibit, October 9 through November 9 at the Berkeley Art Works. In conjunction with American Craft Week, which is held each year in early October, this exhibit, curated by Annette Verna, is a month-long celebration of contemporary fine craft and highlights the work of ten artists living and working in and around the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. These artists are master craftspeople working in a variety of media including basketry, clay, metal, textiles, and wood. Their work represents the high quality of craft being created in our region.

Co-op Space Available

We have space for one 2-dimensional artist and one 3-dimensional artist in the Berkeley Art Works co-op group. Details about jurying and membership (including downloadable forms) are on the BAC web site at: If you have any questions, please reply back to this email and we’ll fill you in.

Meet Barbara Neece: Fused Glass Artist

(by Annette Verna)

Barbara Neece is a member of the Berkeley Arts Council’s Artists at the Works co-op, which is part the the Berkeley Art Works gallery and she’s our featured artist for August/September.

Barbara started working with fused glass about 15 years ago while living in Henderson, Nevada. Her interest in glass started when her husband and her sister were working with stained glass. She thought she’d give it a try too, but soon found that stained glass wasn’t her “thing.” She happened upon some fused glass pieces one day, and decided that was what she wanted to do.

And so her journey into working with fused glass began. The community where she lived in Henderson has a large arts and crafts club. She joined their fused glass group and started learning. The large community had great facilities and equipment. An added benefit was close proximity to Las Vegas for the annual Glass Craft and Bead Expo, which attracts people from all over the world. It’s a great learning and networking opportunity. Barbara says that members of the group supported each other by taking classes and workshops and then teaching what they learned to the rest of the group. Continue reading

Fall Schedule of Classes at Berkeley Art Works

The Berkeley Arts Council announces their Fall schedule of classes, offering learning opportunities in a variety of media, diversity of subject matter and instruction levels for all ages.

Beginning in September, classes include Introduction to Figure Drawing and Printmaking with Gel Plate, both by instructor Leah Bennett, an accomplished artist and instructor specializing in pen and ink, acrylics, mixed media and creative journaling.

Mixed Media Mash-Up for kids 8 years and up will be offered by instructor Jane Ping.  Jane has been teaching children and adults for more than 30 years and holds a Master’s degree in Fine Art from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Judith Becker will be teaching Beginning Watercolor Pencil, Painting All Types of Water Images, and Painting with Pastels.  She specializes in painting with watercolors, colored pencils, pastels and often mixes her media for unusual effects.  She is accomplished in composition, design and color theory.  Judith directs the art education program for the Berkeley Arts Council.

Of special note, Judith will also be leading a Plein Air painting location workshop, September 19 and 20 at Alpine Lake Resort in Terra Alta, WV.  (Register by September 3 for special discounted rate.) Participants will have an opportunity to create four views in the mountains of West Virginia and receive instruction in choosing the best view for the best layout, redesigning the view, capturing the light, painting efficiently, utilizing limited colors, capturing a mood and expressing oneself.

In October, Judith will teach Beginning Colored Pencil, and Beginning Watercolor Painting.  Rip Smith will teach Photographic Composition and Creative Vision, and How to Photograph Your Artwork.  Rip is an award-winning fine art and architectural photographer whose work has been exhibited nationally and regionally.

Rounding out the busy Fall season in November, Judith Becker will offer a Next Level All About Color class, as well as instruction on Using the Color Wheel.

Classes are held at the Berkeley Art Works Gallery, 116 Queen Street, Martinsburg, WV.  Detailed descriptions for all classes and registration information is located on the Berkeley Arts Council Web site at For information email or call 304-620-7277.

The Berkeley Art Works, a project of the Berkeley Arts Council, is the realization of the long-held dream of the arts community in Martinsburg and Berkeley County West Virginia to have a community-based arts facility that supports local and regional artists, brings quality arts experiences for the members of the public, and provides a wide range of arts learning experiences for local residents, artists, and artisans.

The Berkeley Arts Council is a 501(c)(3) non‐profit organization incorporated in West Virginia working to ensure that Berkeley County has a vibrant, vital arts environment by promoting awareness, understanding and appreciation of the literary, visual and performing arts in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.

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