Morgan Arts Council celebrates the mountains

This photograph by Dawn Witmore, titled “Give Me Mountain Noise Any Day,” is part of the Close to Nature’s Heart exhibit.

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. — The Morgan Arts Council will open its Close to Nature’s Heart exhibit at the Ice House Gallery, featuring more than a dozen artists celebrating the majesty of the mountains in a variety of media.

The show, curated by Theresa Wells Stifel, opens Sept. 18 and will hang through Nov. 8. Gallery hours are Thursday through Monday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Stifel said that she was “inspired by the offerings submitted for the show” which range from paintings, photography and pottery to glass, mosaics and fiber works. She summons a quote from famed naturalist John Muir to describe the feeling of the show: “Keep close to Nature’s heart ... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”

Regional artists living in West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland have contributed to the show, and the mountains they capture are not just those nearby but also the Great Smokies and Oregon’s Hood Mountain. 

Featured artwork includes Anne Smyers’ quilts and Diane Hobbs’ naturalistic pottery that uses earth tones and carving to conjure the undulations of the hills.

Alexia Scott’s scroll murals capture the Shenandoah while Dawn Whitmore’s photography highlights the glory of sunshine in the mountains.

Additional shows at the Ice House include Maryellen Willinghan’s pour paintings in Art with Healing Intention hanging in the Hall of Dreams.

From Oct. 1 through Nov. 1, Mark Schwenk’s photography features Empowering Survivors in Annalee’s Dream classroom adjacent to the gallery.

The curated gallery shows are presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts, and local hotel/motel taxes.

The Ice House is at the corner of Independence and Mercer in downtown Berkeley Springs.

For more information, call 304-258-2300 or visit

React to this story: