Waynesboro Art Exhibition ‘America the Beautiful’ Transports Viewers to National and Local Wonders

Gallery 50 exhibits a variety of mediums in an attractive art space

The latest art exhibition at Waynesboro’s Gallery 50 showcases a memorable collection of creative works depicting both the majesty and subtlety of American landscapes. Titled ‘America the Beautiful’, the show runs through August 10, 2024 at the gallery’s 50 West Main Street location.

Gallery 50 is an attractive exhibit space sponsored by the Art Alliance of Greater Waynesboro, which is a member venue of ‘Destination Arts’. This program has encouraged and promoted art and artists through public exhibitions and other creative downtown Waynesboro activities since 2013.

The artistic pieces comprising the America the Beautiful collection offer varied viewpoints and styles. This show was created by a talented group of ten artists, including Marti Yeager, who curated the works. “My aim for this exhibition,” Yeager explained, “was to express, through art, some of the beauty of America- from the quiet loveliness of a backyard garden to the awesome majesty of mountains and cliffs.”

Yeager polished her artistic eye as an accomplished full-time painter over three decades, and her work shines in this exhibition. ‘Grand Canyon Suite’ (a trio of themed pieces numbered 1 through 3) are oil on canvas landscapes Yeager painted to celebrate the stunning vistas she experienced while visiting that acclaimed National Park. “The Grand Canyon took my breath away,” she recalled. Yeager strives to create works that are visually exciting and expressive. While painting in oils is her favorite medium, she also works with watercolor, acrylic, and pastel paints.

‘Grand Canyon Suite #1’ by Marti Yeager

This America the Beautiful exhibition transports art lovers to the country’s far reaches- from Maine to Arizona- but also features local Cumberland Valley subjects. As summer vacation season begins and yearnings for exploration naturally follow, these artistic pieces will inspire bucket-list trips to America’s scenic treasures, or simply an afternoon sojourn to a local state park.

Eric Hyne’s piece, titled ‘Renfrew Repose’, proves an artist needn’t travel far to find beauty. The work features a solitary walker at Renfrew Park, strolling past the property’s stone springhouse during autumn’s splendor. This work evokes tranquility, while reminding viewers nature’s seasons are fleeting. Hyne grew up in Nevada’s desert region but is now retired and resides in Greencastle. After receiving a BFA from Baltimore’s Maryland Institute, he spent 35 years as a professional illustrator, sketching architecture and street scenes all over the globe.

Jeff Barnhart’s ‘Coastal Maine’ conveys the serene atmosphere of maritime New England, with an impressionistic sky mirrored in a reflective waterscape. Idle sailboats float on the surface, anchored by a rustic red shed posing on the shoreline- a summery rendition of a typical downeast Maine scene. Barnhart paints with imaginative use of color and strong composition. The artist describes himself as an adventurer who always carries a sketch pad on his travels. His background includes a BFA from Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, Florida, and a body of work exhibited in New York, Washington, DC, and Lancaster, PA.

‘Coastal Maine’ by Jeff Barnhart

Amelie Lavenant-Wink is a skilled photographer with several excellent pieces in this exhibition. She spent her formative years abroad, and with her background as a freelance photographer in different genres, she creates unique perspectives. Her work ‘Eau d’Acadia Spray’ transports viewers to Maine’s rocky coastline at Acadia National Park, where sea-spray obscures the work’s central figure, seen in silhouette. Viewing this photograph, one can almost taste the salty spray momentarily suspended in summertime air.

Another piece of Amelie’s work, titled ‘Autumn Swirl’, shows a watery sheen and artistic movement captured on the surface of a flowing stream. This memorable photograph illustrates how intelligent artists often isolate beauty by featuring small vignettes within a larger scene. Her creative piece represents a moment frozen in time, found almost anywhere, but made distinctive by the photographer’s keen vision. Lavenant-Wink’s full palette of images, which range from landscapes to portraiture to abstracts, have been exhibited at many local galleries- and also in New York, California, and Massachusetts.

‘Eau d’Acadia Spray’ by Amelie Lavenant-Wink

The majesty of Sedona’s red rock landscape is brought to life in Paul Gallo’s ‘Arizona’, an oil painting exhibited at this Gallery 50 exhibition. Gallo paints with bold color and confident brushwork. This process offers clues to his artistic architectural process- how a painting is constructed stroke by stroke. Gallo’s self-described “economy of brushstroke” often results in impressionistic works that showcase not only his individual artistic talent, but hint at his past career of teaching college-level art. Gallo has an impressive educational pedigree as well, which includes an MFA from Syracuse University.

Paul Gallo’s ‘Arizona’,

Other quality pieces in this America the Beautiful exhibition were created by artists Anita Williams, Leslie McIntire, Laurie McKelvie, Melissa Hook, and Anne Finucane.

Within this art exhibit, Gallery 50 also features other mediums representing America’s natural splendor in the form of sculpture, carving, and pottery. Garnet Yeager’s Downy Woodpecker, a life-size detailed wood carving, is a fine example of the gallery’s three-dimensional work.

This finely curated exhibition is a fitting tribute to America’s grand ideal of preserving public places that offer solace and relaxation, away from a bustling world. When asked where her next bucket list journey might take her, artist/curator Marti Yeager said Yellowstone National Park would be an inspiring place to paint someday. The majesty of unique landscapes and geologic features found there would fit perfectly in this themed exhibition. But this group of local artists also reminds that America’s more subtle wonders are often discovered right outside the back door. The Art Alliance of Greater Waynesboro (www.artsalliancegw.org) is committed to exhibiting art of all mediums in Waynesboro. By showcasing local and regional artists, the organization fosters greater support for the arts. They rightfully believe that artworks, and the talented people who create them, improve a community’s overall quality of life. Gallery 50’s hours are Friday 5-8 pm, and Saturday 11:30 am to 6 pm. Call 717-655-2500 for more information.

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