Meet Featured Artist Gary Bergel

Gary Bergel

by Annette Verna

Gary Bergel considers himself a multi-disciplinary artist.  He creates photographic art, assemblages, paintings, and installations by finding beauty in the ordinary of every day.  If you’ve visited the Berkeley Art Works, you are familiar with the range of his work.

For Gary, opportunities abound in daily life.  “I always carry my iPhone with me.  Sometimes what I capture is autobiographical.  It is somehow related to my life in the moment.”  Photography can also be a tool for seeing and sketching ideas for later expressions in acrylic paint.  “What I create is a result of my daily experiences.”  He keeps four questions at the forefront of his life to help him create:  Who am I? Where did I come from? What can I learn? How is what I do important to me?  “My art adjusts to my spiritual condition and I am committed to stay in a state of listening, looking, and learning,” Gary says.

Gary grew up in the Lakeshore area of Wisconsin.  He began experimenting with art materials in grade school.  He was educated by Franciscans, who also encouraged his creativity.  Gary credits his passion for pastoral beauty and the environment, and being present to the here and now, to that time in his life.  His high school science teacher, who also ran the photography club, encouraged his passion for film photography and gave Gary the use of his darkroom.  Through his camera work, Gary kindled an appreciation for the smaller details of life.

Gary operated a photo studio during his mid-teen years, shooting portraits and weddings, which helped finance his education at the University of Wisconsin (UW), Madison.  There, he completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education, Biology major with Natural Science and Art minors.  He completed Senior Thesis research in Lichenology and Chemical Taxonomy with noted botanist Dr. John W. Thomson (1913-2009).  His passion for art led to a Master of Arts degree in Mixed Media also from UW.  “I studied under the renowned ceramic artist Don Reitz (1929-2014), the noted private press artist Walter Hamady (1940-2019), and was a classmate of glass sculptor Dale Chihuly.”  The Master’s degree program provided mentoring by visiting artists from New York and elsewhere, such as Abstract Expressionist pioneer Milton Resnik (1917-2004), and American Realist painter Jack Beal (1931-2013).  “It was a great cross-pollinating time.  For my MA degree show I mounted an ‘environment’, referred to today as an ‘installation’.”

As part of the Humanities faculty at Western Michigan University (WMU), Kalamazoo, Gary founded Space Gallery, curated exhibits, and taught Arts and Ideas courses, which integrated lectures by visiting artists.  He engaged in Postgraduate Study in the WMU art department with Lithographer/Painter Curtis Rhodes.  WMU Ford Foundation grants allowed him to explore experimental printmaking, photography, and mixed media installation.

Gary is always ready to capture the happenings and beauty surrounding him.  “Working from a personal blend of Eastern and Western aesthetics, I endeavor to express and reflect the way nature encompasses and speaks of beauty, spirituality, truth and divinity,” he says.  “I’ve always been interested in the life of the Spirit, intrigued by contemplative prayer, and became dedicated to social justice work.  I was fortunate to spend a good number of years doing neighborhood reconciliation and ecumenical work.”  Leaving WMU, he became more involved in trans-denominational networks and worked in community development in Native American communities as well as internationally.  His travels fuel his artwork.

Gary has been instrumental in creating opportunities for art to grow in our region.  A member of the Berkeley Arts Council’s Artists at the Works co-op since 2013, he has served two years on the Board of Directors and is a wise advisor in our governance.  He sequences the hanging of our exhibits, which brings a consistent voice to all of our visual presentations.  In April this year, he designed and created a window display in recognition of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, which presented thought-provoking highlights of the modern environmental movement.  This past February, he curated a show of local tattoo artists to bring more attention to the medium and to these artists as members of our business community.  Tattoo and Beyond featured tattoo designs and artwork in other media.  In January, he helped his friend and fellow co-op member Doug Kinnett, coordinate monthly art critique sessions (put on hold temporarily due to Coronavirus restrictions).  Through his volunteer work in the Healing Arts Center at the Martinsburg Veterans Administration Medical Center he curated the Veteran’s Vernacular exhibition at the Berkeley Art Works in observance of the Armistice Day 100th Anniversary in November, 2018.

In the wider community, he was a founding board member of the Washington Street Artists’ Cooperative in Charles Town, WV.  He has taught Visual Arts, Creativity, Color and Design and Introductory Digital Photography classes as an adjunct faculty member at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College in Martinsburg, WV.  He is part of the Shenandoah Arts Council Artists’ Advisory Board in Winchester, VA.  His efforts with the Veteran’s Vernacular exhibit influenced the Shenandoah Arts Council and the Delaplaine Art Center in Frederick, MD to also exhibit work by regional veterans.

Gary has received a number of awards, and has works in private, university, and regional museum collections.  He has juried for a number of exhibitions, including the Vizzi Awards at the James Rumsey Technical Institute (Martinsburg, WV), and for a Black and White exhibition at the Shenandoah Arts Council.  Recently, he juried into the 2018 Cumberland Valley Artists and Photographers Exhibition at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts (Hagerstown, MD) and a juried group exhibit at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley (Winchester, VA).  Gary exhibits at The Bridge Gallery (Shepherdstown, WV) and you can always visit his Web site,

Gary and his wife Susan make their home near Charles Town, WV.  They have raised ten children; “all are unique and wonderfully creative,” said Gary.  Their activities range from photography to carpentry, surf and skate board design, engineering, dog breeding and training, blogging, teaching piano, and more.  Susan is an award-winning canary breeder.

Come to the Berkeley Art Works anytime this month to see Gary’s work featured in our front window!  You can also see some of his recent photography on the Berkeley Arts Council Web site at  And of course, you can always come into the gallery on Fridays and Saturdays between 11am and 3pm to see what else is up in the co-op.

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Free Zoom Art Workshop: The Color Wheel as a Valuable Art Tool

Wednesday, September 9, 6:00pm via Zoom

Join Teaching Artist Judith Becker for this FREE one hour workshop as we explore all the valuable information to be found on the standard color wheel. We’ll review not only the basic colors = primary colors, secondary colors and tertiary colors, but tints, tones and shades, learn the many common terms used in art and discover the ways to use triad and tetrad formats to create exciting and harmonious color schemes. Materials needed are just the common color wheel which can be found in all art and hobby stores or online sources such as Amazon, paper and pen or pencil for taking notes.

Pre-registration is required.

Click here to register.

You will be emailed the Zoom invitation the day before the workshop.

NEW! “Be a Color Pro” offered via Zoom starting September 23.
See the details on

[UPDATE: Awards Announced] Eastern West Virginia Exhibit

(Click on any image to see a larger version.)

The Berkeley Arts Council announced the award winners for their 8th Annual Eastern West Virginia Juried Exhibit on display at the Berkeley Art Works. A virtual “reception” was held to recognize the participants and award winners. Congratulations to Laura Robertson from Kearneysville for her fabric piece, “Fly Eyes”, which was selected for Best of Show. Heather Hendry from Bunker Hill received the Merit Award for her pastel drawing “Sunflowers in Blue Vase”. Honorable mentions were given to Carina Elhordory, Martinsburg, for her acrylic painting “Untitled”; Tracey Donnelly Franklin, Shepherdstown, for her assemblage “War Heron III”; Omar Williams, Kearneysville, for his digital photograph “Out of My Element”; and Tom Nebel, Shepherdstown, for his oil painting “Je Marche Dans Les Fleurs.”

This year, 58 works were submitted primarily from Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties, from which the juror Mr. Evan Boggess of Shepherd University selected 24 works in drawing, painting, photography, fibers, mixed media, assemblage and sculpture. He commented that there were a lot of excellent, technically proficient works from which to select, representing very interesting subject matter. His aim was to select works that demonstrated longevity and that kept the viewer thinking about them long after seeing them. The Berkeley Arts Council thanks Mr. Boggess and all the artists who submitted work for consideration in this show. This annual juried exhibit is open to artists who reside in one of the eight counties that comprise the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia: Berkeley, Jefferson, Morgan, Hampshire, Hardy, Grant, Mineral, and Pendleton.

The exhibit is on display until October 10, 2020 at the Berkeley Art Works, 116 North Queen Street, Martinsburg, WV and is open Thursdays through Saturdays, 11:00am to 3:00pm. For more information about the Berkeley Arts Council and the Berkeley Art Works, visit us on the Web at and our Facebook page.

Juror’s Statement

As a juror and fellow artist, I am always trying to articulate the unique, intangible, and persistent qualities of elevated works of art.  What is it about a particular painting, sculpture, photograph, video, print, or installation that remains in our thoughts seconds, minutes, days, months, years after seeing it?  Artwork that exhibits elevated technical skills, subject matter, and formal command are certainly deserving of recognition, but these individual aspects on their own are relatively easy to rank.  Instead, I am drawn to pieces that manage to combine these aspects in surprising ways to create new, lasting visual experiences.   –  Evan Boggess

Congratulations to all of the accepted artists. Email notifications and instructions for delivery of artwork will be sent within shortly.

(Click here to see the full list of accepted artists:

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Free Online Drawing Workshop

Free Online Art Workshop

Wednesday, August 19, 6:00-7:00pm
Via Zoom

Judith Becker, takes you through some simple, easy techniques to help you conquer your difficulty in drawing everyday objects. Using just a #2 pencil and some drawing paper, you can follow along with her as she demonstrates how to replicate shapes and shadows to make something look real. Methods learned can then be applied to almost anything you want to draw. Students should have tracing paper, a fine point black marker and a photo of large rock (s) printed out on paper.  It should be on paper, not a photo on a phone.

Pre-register for this workshop; Registration Closed.

The workshop is free; preregistration is required. You will receive the invitation links via email.

Our regular art classes are on hold but we are continuing efforts to develop virtual and limited attendance/social distancing solutions to continue to offer art educational programs to the community. Remember to watch your email or visit the Berkeley Arts Council’s web site and Facebook page for information on our activities and programming. Questions can be directed to the Berkeley Arts Council e-mail address,

Submissions Extended: Berkeley Arts Council’s “Mask-a-Palooza”

Call for Artists!

Decorate wearable coronavirus MASKS
with your original ideas
(purchased or homemade)

Help protect against Coronavirus transmission

Prizes Awarded:
$100 – I Can’t Live Without You
$ 50 – Stayin’ Alive Spectacular
$ 25 – Simply Marvelous

The Berkeley Arts Council is holding a “Mask-a-Palooza” decorated Coronavirus face mask contest and exhibit, September 12 through November 13, at the Berkeley Art Works gallery, 116 North Queen Street, Martinsburg.

The Berkeley Arts Council is looking for original designs using hand-made or purchased masks.  Make them fun, glamorous, intriguing, surprising … but the end result must be a functional, wearable mask.  We’re trying to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, after all.

Cash prizes will be awarded for the top 3 designs!

The contest is open to the community and there is no entry fee.  The masks will be on display in the front window of the Berkeley Art Works gallery.

Submission Extended Deadline: September 15, 2020
(No Entry Fee!)

It’s easy to submit! Just click on the link below and enter the information.

Entry Form

(Or you may pick up an entry form at the Berkeley Art Works, 116 North Queen Street in Martinsburg. Currently open Thursdays, Fridays & Satiurdays, 11-3.)

Then, bring decorated masks to the Berkeley Art Works after the submissions close (date will be announced.) You may offer your mask(s) for sale – or not. A 30% commission on the retail selling price established by the artist shall be retained by BAC.

Each mask must have a tag securely attached with youir name, an ID number, and price (if for sale.)

After the exhibit, masks should be picked up a the Berkeley Art Works November 13-14, 2020.

Meet Sue Parker

Meet Sue Parker

(by Annette Verna)

Our featured artist for June is Sue Parker.  She is one of the original members of the Berkeley Arts Council’s Artists at the Works co-op, which started in 2013.

Sue spent her school and work life in the Washington Metro area.  She painted seriously, but only briefly during college.  “I was always attracted to art and the meditative nature of the creative process, though I opted not to make art my career.” Sue chose a career in social services and court administration, which left “little time for art during my ‘middle period.’”  She returned to art in 1998 and it is now her primary activity.

Sue works in a variety of media:  oil paint, watercolor, pastel, charcoal, etc.  She studied watercolor for 4 years with Irene Sylvester, artist-in-residence at Montpelier Arts Center (Laurel, Maryland), and received additional instruction in watercolor from Frank Webb (AWS), Lynn Ferris (NWS), Kent Roberts, and Fritz Briggs (AWS).  She also studied classical oil painting for 2 years with Michael Davis, and studies on an ongoing basis with David Buckley Good.  The latter three artists are instructors, or have been trained at the Schuler School of Fine Art in Baltimore, Maryland.

Sue chooses her subjects, either as they occur to her spontaneously, or in the case of landscapes, she sees something that captures her imagination.  She usually starts by sketching her ideas.  She chooses the medium for executing her ideas based on the subject and her mood.  Looking at Sue’s paintings, it’s obvious that she loves color, and the depth and richness she achieves through its use, especially in her oil paintings, is striking.  Her training has taught her to look deeply at her subjects to see carefully what is really there, as well as what isn’t — both equally important.

What does she try to achieve in her work?  “My goal is to focus attention, if only briefly, on the beauty (and quirkiness) in the things around us that often escape our notice as we rush about our daily lives.  I love capturing quirkiness and, occasionally, more serious messages in my art, though in general I prefer the pacific and the humorous.”  Aside from art, Sue’s other passion is history.  “I’m fond of saying that I don’t think most people become interested in history until they have some themselves.”  She loves thinking about the narrative — real or imagined — that an old object or scene evokes.  “For me, a painting is all about the story it draws from the viewer.  The story may not even have words, just the emotion evoked by the image.”

It is typical for Sue to have multiple pieces in progress concurrently in each medium. She likes shifting from one medium to another.  She currently has 4 oil paintings in progress:  3 landscapes and a carousel, and a series of small watercolors of woodland stumps, each with a different “personality”, that she’s seen on her regular hikes.

Sue is very active in her local arts communities.  She always has a variety of work on display at the Berkeley Art Works gallery and you can also see her work at the Valley Art Association Mansion House in Hagerstown, Maryland, the Washington Street Artists’ Cooperative in Charles Town, and also through the Potomac River Artists’ Guild.  Her work has been accepted in juried shows at the Washington County (Maryland) Museum of Fine Arts, the Washington County Arts Council, the Delaplaine Art Center (Frederick), Art at the Mill (Berryville, Virginia,) and the Morgan Arts Council Ice House and Art in the Park in Berkeley Springs, WV.

In addition to her busy exhibits activities, Sue also serves on the Board of Directors of the Berkeley Arts Council, and the Board of Trustees of the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts.  She was also involved in the planning and development of the Hagerstown Cultural Trail, which connects Hagerstown’s downtown Arts & Entertainment District with City Park and the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts. She and her husband make their home in West Virginia on a farm her family bought in 1952.

Berkeley Arts Council Summer Members Exhibit

The Berkeley Arts Council’s first summer Members’ Exhibit opens Friday, July 10 and runs through Saturday, August 29, 2020 at the Berkeley Art Works gallery, 116 North Queen Street, Martinsburg.

The show features 42 works by 27 member artists, and includes 2- and 3-dimensional work in painting, photography, glass, ceramics, jewelry, fibers, mixed media and assemblage.  The Council is pleased with the variety of media represented, which demonstrates the high quality and sophistication of artwork being produced in our area!  The Council is also grateful for our members’ support so we could put the show together within a shorter-than-usual timeframe.

The exhibit is open during the Berkeley Art Works business hours, which are currently Friday and Saturday from 11am to 3pm.  Keep an eye on the Berkeley Arts Council Web site, and our Facebook page for more information.

The Berkeley Art Works Reopens in June!

We are pleased to announce that we are re-opening the Berkeley Art Works gallery to the public for limited hours starting Saturday, June 6.  The gallery will be open on Saturdays from 11am-3pm.

For the safety of our volunteers who sit the gallery, and our visitors, sanitization procedures are in place and the gallery has been arranged for safety and proper social distancing.  The number of guests in the gallery at one time will be limited and we will require our staff and visitors to wear masks.  We are monitoring Berkeley County Coronavirus information daily to determine whether we can continue to expand our hours and offerings in the coming months.

The gallery will be open for retail sales and visitors will be able to view the current exhibition, the 10th Annual Juried Art and Earth Exhibit, which will be on display until July 4.  The exhibit went “virtual” on the Web site,, in April.

While we have had to cancel exhibits scheduled for the summer months, we are announcing a special summer members’ exhibit for July, which will be followed by our Eighth Annual Eastern West Virginia Juried Exhibit in September.

Our regular classes have been cancelled for the immediate future; however, we are preparing virtual and limited attendance/social distancing solutions to continue to offer educational programs to the community.

Remember to watch your email or visit the Berkeley Arts Council’s web site and Facebook page for information on our activities and programming; questions can be directed to the Berkeley Arts Council e-mail address,


DEADLINE EXTEDED Eighth Annual Eastern West Virginia Juried Exhibit

Extended Deadline August 17, 2020

The Berkeley Arts Council in Martinsburg, West Virginia announces the Eighth 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 Saturday September 5 – October 10, 2020.


The exhibit is open to artists in all media who reside in one of the eight counties that compose what is known as the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. Those counties are Berkeley, Jefferson, Morgan, Hampshire, Hardy, Grant, Mineral, and Pendleton. Continue reading

Berkeley Arts Council Congratulates Graduating 2020 Seniors

The Berkeley Art Works is helping Main Street Martinsburg support our 2020 high school graduates by displaying the portraits of the graduating class of Faith Christian Academy in our front window.

Congratulations to all: Abigail Adams. Emily Boehler, Madison Crampton, Maria Cuccio, Tyler DeOms, Brett Dunham, Deanna Hercules, Kathlyn Hess, Jadah Hester, Jessica Horn, Colby Kief, Danielle Moran, Elisabeth Rankin, Heather Scribner, Lyndsay Taylor, Shalin Thomas, Alicia Tucker, Eric Woo.

Berkeley Art Works Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Earth Day _

Earth Day 50th Anniversary installation by Gary Bergel in the window of the Berkeley Art Works, 116 North Queen Street, Martinsburg.

In conjunction with the Art and Earth exhibit, the display window at the front of the Berkeley Art Works Gallery at 116  North Queen Street celebrates the 50th anniversary of the founding of Earth Day with some notable details provided by Teaching Artist and Arts Council member Gary Bergel.  The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970, marking the birth of the modern environmental movement.  Gaylord Nelson, then-Senator from Wisconsin, proposed a national teach-in to send a message to Washington that the public supported a political agenda to address environmental issues.  Inspired by the activism and energy he saw on college campuses in the 1960s, he recruited students to help him obtain recognition for a national day (

Nelson intended Earth Day to be a grassroots, local action to bring more attention to the environment.  Individuals and communities were empowered to participate in Earth Day, which drew media attention and ushered in an era of bold environmental legislation.  In 1970, it is said that 20 million Americans – 10% of the U.S. population at the time – participated in the first Earth Day.  Today, Earth Day is a global concern marked by more than a billion people every year to influence changes in human behavior and environmental policy (

The window provides thought-provoking information to promote awareness of environmental issues and the Earth Day idea.  If you happen to be downtown, stop and take a look. You can do so without breaking the “social distancing” rules and we hope you will be inspired in some way to partake in your own Earth Day observance this year (within safe, social guidelines of course).  And if you do, let the Arts Council know about it. You can reach BAC at


Art and Earth Exhibit Goes Online

Tenth Annual Art and Earth Juried Exhibit
Online Gallery

Perhaps there is a lesson in the developing world-wide catastrophe known as COVID-19 that could be summed up with the old joke, “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.” For ten years the Berkeley Arts Council has sponsored the Art and Earth juried art exhibit, seeking work from artists who express how they view the natural world and the environment with the goal of expanding the awareness about these things.

Due to the emergency, we will not be able to open the gallery at this time showing of the Art and Earth artwork. We remain hopeful that this is temporary but in the meantime, we wanted to share the great artwork that was selected by Juror Janis Goodman.