The Park Offers A Picture-perfect Setting For Art Gallery

Business Showcases Local, Regional Talent

August 08, 1991|By Michael R. Driscoll | Michael R. Driscoll,Staff writer

Quiet Waters is not the only park in Anne Arundel County with an artgallery.

Severna Park has at least two: the 6-year-old Benfield Frame Art Gallery on Jumpers Hole Road, and now Art in the Park.

Open seven days a week since May 26 in the Park Plaza Shopping Center, the gallery is run by area residents Christina Mahrer and her mother, Shirley Hubbard.

It offers a selection of jewelry, pottery,hand-painted furniture, original paintings and sculptures from about40 regional, local, national and international artists.

Artist Mindy Allanson of Severna Park, originally from Ohio, is one of three county artists on display in the gallery. The others are Kathleen Daywalt and sculptor Yos Belchatovsky.

Allanson, whose work at the gallery includes pen and ink drawings with acrylic wash, as well as selected hand-colored prints, has been shown internationally.

Hubbard praised the quality of the local artists: "I think each one is excellent. Each artist is different, and their work is just beautiful."

Mahrer said that they chose to open the gallery in the middle of the county, rather than in a more urban area because "this was a very good place, with a friendly atmosphere. It's a nice community, and the visibility is very good. The merchants here have been wonderful."

Asked about opening a gallery during a recession, she replied, "There is no right time. I think that everyone appreciates art, that basically there are still people out there who have a love for art.

"It is a luxury item, but it's also an investment, and art, really, is oneof the better investments to make right now, especially with a recession. Quality items never go out of style, and we offer quality."

Mahrer said that each piece of art in the gallery was selected for its originality and quality. Prices range from $12 for jewelry to $7,000 for larger works of art.

The gallery also sells custom picture frames, and provides advice to customers, either at the gallery or in the home, on the best way to display their new items.

"We offer a unique and personalized service," said Mahrer. "We work with interiordesigners, and the same design will not be duplicated."

Mahrer spoke about the eclectic nature of the gallery's contents.

"I think art's a very personal thing," she explained, "based on the ideas thatartists have. And gallerys set their own standards, as far as the services they have to offer. We offer commercial and residential consultation, to help each individual find exactly the right piece for the right room or the right office, something that they'll find pleasure in -- and in the right price range."

Mahrer, whose parents are artcollectors, brings a considerable amount of experience to her new venture. A graduate of Anne Arundel Community College, she worked in anart gallery and was an interior designer in Virginia Beach, Va., forfive years before returning recently to the area.

Among the more interesting artworks in the gallery, are the freestanding metal fountains and hanging and free-standing brass and copper sculptures of Belchatovsky.

A friend of both Mahrer and Hubbard, Belchatovsky didn't known about their plans for a gallery until they approached him forsome of his work. Since then, several of his pieces have been sold through Art in the Park, "which surprised me, because I wasn't sure ifanyone here was ready for my work."

"This is a good area, with good people," he said, "and the (other art in the gallery) is superb. Ireally hope they make it work."

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