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Artists at Work in Brevard, NC

Back Alley- Brevard

Back Alley- Brevard, oil painting by Virginia Pendergrass

ART Works Brevard NC owners Deborah Kidwell and Lee Abell, sponsored by the Brevard Chamber of Commerce, announce the ribbon cutting and reception 4-6 p.m. Friday, April 8, 2016 at ART Works of Brevard NC. The public is cordially invited. This new working studio/gallery of fine art at 27 S. Broad St. is in a beautiful light-filled space in the restored historic Aethelwold Hotel building.

Deborah Kidwell, originator of the idea of the working studio/gallery in Brevard, grew up in Boston in a family of artists. As a child, she was greatly influenced by American Impressionism of the Boston School Tradition through visits to art museums and galleries in the area. Her exposure to Impressionism, coupled with love of the outdoors gained in her mother’s gardens and childhood summers in Maine, inspire her pastel paintings notable for tender renderings of birds and strong quiet mountain scenes.

Kidwell took classes at DeCordova Museum School and travelled to Europe as an art student, then completed her BFA in painting at University of New Hampshire in 1977. A pivotal experience after college was as a yearlong Artist in Residence at a geriatric mental health facility; her pencil drawings of patients each day fostered an expressive use of line. She was captivated by pastels through classes and workshops with Aline Ordman and Margaret Dyer. Kidwell says, “For me pastel is the perfect dance between painting and drawing… color and line” She began teaching pastels in 2007. Since coming to Brevard, she volunteered teaching introductory pastel classes at Silvermont Senior Opportunity Center, where she met a new friend, artist Lee Abell.

Co-Owner M. Lee Abell, a Florida native, pursued a successful career as a residential real estate appraiser for the firm she co-owned there. When her career no longer challenged her, she and her husband, David, left Florida in an antique Airstream to discover the back roads and park lands of America. During her travels, Abell studied watercolor with a resident artist in Yosemite National Park, and studio and plein air pastel at the Whidbey Island Fine Art Studio in Washington State, where she learned to capture natural beauty on canvas.

After this inspiring trip, the Abells chose Brevard, NC to call home. Abell has continued her art education with nationally awarded artists, added oil painting to her repertoire, and has shown her art in regional galleries and exhibitions. She still travels and is inspired by the outdoors. Most recently, she backpacked 500 miles from the south of France to northwest Spain through varied landscapes. She looks forward to sharing with other talented and enthusiastic artists in ART Works.

Virginia Pendergrass, a Brevard resident for 14 years, shares their vision for this space in downtown Brevard, where her art will also be featured. Pendergrass is a contemporary oil painter whose works have been exhibited in the American Impressionist Society, Oil Painters of America, Women Painters of the Southeast and Paint the Parks national shows, as well as regional shows; her paintings have been recognized by many awards.

As well as offering gallery sales, Kidwell and Abell look forward to ART Works being a working studio. Kidwell, Abell or Pendergrass will be making art in the studio/gallery on a regular basis. Part of the decor of the studio/gallery is all the paraphernalia needed by the working artist. They welcome residents and visitors in our local community who are curious about how an artist goes about creating a work of art. Brew-your-own coffee will be available, so grab a tasty pastry from the Bracken Bakery across the street and enjoy both completed gallery art and works in progress.

Kidwell and Abell also plan to support other regional artists by offering them month-long guest exhibits and demonstration opportunities. Both aspiring and working artists are invited to participate in classes in various mediums offered throughout the year.

ART Works hours are 11 am to 4 pm Tuesdays through Saturdays. Beginning April 22, they will extend to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Contact ART Works at (828) 553-1063, email, or visit the ART Works website And don’t forget to like Art Works on Facebook.

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