July-August 2010 | COLLECTIVE STROLL

A Step Above owner Bill Outten
Bishop's Stock owner Ann CoatesBlue Heron Gifts owner Anita WorleyClarissa Studio Art owner Nina MickelsenJeffrey Auxer of Jeffrey Auxer DesignsJohn Kokkinos, CMBJ of Kokkinos Creative JewelersPatrick Henry of Patrick L. Henry Fine ArtsThe Globe owner Jennifer Dawicki DavidThe Water's Edge Gallery owner Gail Lewis



We profile nine of the Eastern Shore’s most passionate art enthusiasts who who live to share their love of fine art

Bill Outten’s mission is as genuine as it is simple. The owner of A Step Above Art Gallery and Gifts wants every person who visits his business to be impressed by the generous collection of diverse artwork created by a host of talented, and perhaps undiscovered, artists of the Delmarva Peninsula.

“When our guests enter our gallery, I want them to be wowed,” said Outten. “I want them to discover things they’ve never seen before. And I want them to leave wanting to come back over and over again."

In that pursuit, Bill constantly travels the Eastern Shore looking for new and unique artwork to showcase at his gallery, located at 27 N. Main Street in historic Berlin. He purposefully journeys off the traditional path to find creative works previously unseen by the public.

“I look for unique and unusual items that will not be found elsewhere,” Outten said. “I travel all across Delmarva to find different artwork. I look for artists displaying their work at art shows, craft shows, art receptions and trade shows. Believe it or not, we rarely have artists come through our front door with their artwork. That is why we go to them.”

In September of 2007, Bill moved from a loft above Town Center Antiques to his current location and took advantage of the building’s spacious interior to expand his stock to include gifts, signature items and collectibles. One of A Step Above’s highlights is its impressive collection of themed rooms, such as a glass room, an enchanted room and a Far East room. Bill also displays an abundant array of unique jewelry.

“We have a wide variety of eclectic and one-of-a-kind pieces, from museum quality art to magnets for your refrigerator. You can definitely find a unique treasure for your home or office.”

Outten constantly changes the selection of artwork in his gallery – an approach that has proven quite successful in generating a sizeable customer base that continues to grow.  – JW

A Step Above Art Gallery & Gifts, 410-629-0988

“One gallery does not make an art community – but multiple galleries, arts organizations, arts education and community arts events do,” says Ann Coates of Bishop’s Stock Gallery in historic Snow Hill. Bishop’s Stock has been instrumental in launching interest for local artists by regularly showing the work of 20-25 painters, two sculptors and eight or more clay, glass, jewelry and wood artisans. They also introduce new artists, by hand-selecting those who offer unique painting styles or mediums.

Bishop’s Stock proudly showcases fine contemporary impressionists, realists and abstract painters, including Denise Dumont, Scot Dolby, Lois Engberg, Lynne Lockhart, Kirk McBride, Lynda Ohotnicky, Maurice Spector, Stan Sperlak and Nancy West. The gallery is home to a broad spectrum of two-dimensional work presented in oil, acrylic, pastel, watercolor and mixed media. The gallery’s three-dimensional work includes metal sculpture, wood and wearable art-fiber, glass and more.

Although local and regional artists from Delmarva are the focus for Bishop’s Stock, they do show pieces by artists outside of the area whose work is a good fit and doesn’t conflict with what is presented at the time.

Visit Bishop’s Stock, located at 202 West Green Street, in July for a special showing by Barbara Beauchamp and Lois Engberg, a mother-daughter team from Salisbury. They paint classical still life with an Old Master’s feel – often using seasonal materials from their gardens.

August 6 opens a show by Kenneth Browne – titled “From the Crowd.” He paints figures in settings that evoke emotions through story. A graduate of Snow Hill High School and Salisbury University, Kenneth is a perfect example of Ann’s efforts to support artists with local connections.

Upcoming:  Ann is currently working to introduce a “Wine Gallery” at Bishop’s Stock – offering affordable wines that will change just as regularly as the artwork. She hopes to launch this program soon.  – JKW

Bishop’s Stock Fine Art Fine Craft, 410-632-3555

“She is a genius with interior design, fashion and creating with fabric. She has an excellent eye for art,” Anita Worley says of Tina Gartland, her sister and partner in Blue Heron Gifts in Fenwick Island. Then, more humbly, she adds, “I do drawing, painting and photography and a little bit of everything. I enjoy creating, no matter what the medium.”

Anita holds a Bachelor’s degree in art and has completed schooling in graphic design. She has worked as a graphic designer, a visual merchandising manager and a grade school art teacher in the past.

It seems fitting that these two talented women would open a store that carries a host of artwork including wall art, sculptures, pottery, clocks, jewelry, handbags, home accessories, garden art, and other gifts. Anita and Tina are especially proud of their impressive collection of eco-friendly, recycled art and gifts. Many of their artists use reclaimed materials, non-toxic finishes and sustainable resources during the creation of each piece. Needless to say, their store is chock-full of interesting artwork and original gifts.

These sisters pride themselves on finding the unusual and the unique – a talent that is truly appreciated by their customers. The store carries many art works not found anywhere else in this area. Many pieces reflect a variety of cultural influences from local, regional and national artists.

Blue Heron Gifts, located in The Village of Fenwick Shopping Center at 300 Coastal Highway, proudly showcases new items such as sculptural pieces made of steel, aluminum and copper, along with clocks made with copper and wood – which can be displayed to accent the finest homes. Blue Heron Gifts even carries pieces that were created especially for their store.

Recently, local artists from Lewes have designed a new line of silver and glass earrings and necklaces, which Tina and Anita are quite pleased to feature in their store.  And their comprehensive website provides patrons the opportunity to shop Blue Heron Gifts online when they are unable to get to the store in person.  – JKW

Blue Heron Gifts, 302-537-1677

Looking for that oh-so-perfect splash of vibrancy that guarantees your walls will never be thought of as wallflowers? You may want to check out what artist Nina Mickelsen has to offer over at Clarissa Studio Art, where you’re practically serenaded by the richness of color.

“Being from Scandinavia, I am influenced by Nordic design…vibrant, strong colors and large patterns,” offered Mickelsen, who turned to art later in life, after a career in business. “My favorite pieces are the ones that tell a little story in one painting. I also like the pieces that come in series that you can mix to create a combination of several pieces or that you can use to beautify a larger space.”

Sporting decidedly marine themes, the art Mickelsen creates may be seen all over the homes, offices, watercraft and hospitality spaces of the region as well as in Europe. Her work has been exhibited at the Gallery Panache and the ART League in Rehoboth Beach, and at Design a la Carte in Annapolis. She has also produced note cards based on her designs for Massachusetts apparel retailer Talbots, Inc. Her product lines carry titles such as “Shell Squares,” “More From the Sea,” “Fruits de la Mer,” “Beach Fun” and “Nautical Flags,” though each is distinct from the others in terms of presentation.

“My work is mostly mixed media, acrylics and silk screen on canvas,” said Mickelsen, whose art also includes photographic portraiture that is enhanced by various hand-painting and screen-printing techniques (clients may supply the original photos if they wish). “It is not common to use silk screen on canvas and mix it with painting and texture, as I do. My style is more contemporary and often based on principles of graphic design.

“But more importantly,” she continued, “my art is my way of integrating my current American life with all that I was, and had, before. I’d like people to see boldness in my work, be it in the colors, compositions, or themes and I’d like to beautify their surroundings daringly, with just a slight provocative edge.”

Mickelsen’s work may be enjoyed at Clarissa Studio Art in Fairfax, Virginia, as well as at this year’s Rehoboth Art League Fine Art Show at Henlopen Acres August 7-8, 14-15.
– PK

Clarissa Studio Art, 703-973-1033

Consider for a moment how many artists you know. Now ask yourself how many years it’s taken them to reach their current talent level. Oftentimes, the answer is more than 10, and occasionally much higher than that. Art is a profession of continuous learning – an evolution of understanding and skill. That’s why the striking work being produced by Jeffrey Auxer is that much more impressive.

At 26, the owner of Jeffrey Auxer Designs, a glassblowing studio and art gallery in Berlin located behind the Atlantic Hotel, is far ahead of the traditional learning curve. Auxer took up glassblowing just three-and-a-half years ago as a student at Salisbury University.

“I consider myself very lucky, because at the time, I didn’t even know what glass blowing was,” Auxer said. “It sounded interesting to me, so I signed up.”

Spending time at Auxer’s gallery is a memorable experience. His vibrant and creative works impress his visitors. But it’s the adjacent, see-through glass blowing studio that mesmerizes them.

“It’s something different than anything else in the area,” said Jeffrey, who teaches glass blowing classes several times a week at his studio. “It’s fascinating to create something truly unique from scratch.”

Jeffrey’s abilities are growing as rapidly as his fan-base. During his first year in business, his glass works included hanging platters, vases, decanters and glasses, lighting and vessel bowls – and they instantly placed him on the map of Berlin’s elite artists. And while he still enjoys creating those pieces, his focus now includes creating jewelry.

“Although home décor has been very popular, this spring I started creating jewelry,” Jeffrey said. “My oversized rings and hoop earrings have become a favorite. I am constantly creating new color combinations and styles. It’s great to make something that people love and can wear everyday.”

Eastern Shore retailers tend to agree. Auxer’s jewelry is now available at Quiet Storm in Ocean City, Studio S in Rehoboth Beach and Bungalow Love in Berlin – in addition to his gallery.  – JW
Jeffrey Auxer Designs, 443-513-4210

“The art of creating fine jewelry is the ultimate way to express our love for life, beauty, and each other,” says John Kokkinos at Kokkinos Creative Jewelers. John creates and sells high quality, unique and exquisite fine jewelry at his store in Ocean City – where his studio workshop is located on premises. Kokkinos Creative Jewelers provides jewelry repairs, custom designing and creating. John also manufactures a small, exclusive line of fine jewelry and features a number of one-of-a-kind pieces in his store located in the Ocean City Square at 120th Street & Coastal Highway.

The art of fine jewelry creation often stems from the same path as painters or sculptors – through experience with other talented individuals. At age 20, John began working for a precious metal trading company in Annapolis and was transferred to a jewelry manufacturing and repair facility as an administrator and sales representative.

Fascinated with bench jewelers, stone cutters and the various facets of jewelry making, John began learning about jewelry repair from one of the bench jewelers – after business hours. John developed a passion for this specialized trade and proceeded to attend jewelry making classes in New York. Later, he graduated from Columbia School of Gemology, with a degree in “Practical Gemology.” In 2005, he received the honor of “Certified Master Bench Jeweler” from the Jewelers of America Association – the fourth and highest level of certification in his profession. John was the first jeweler in Maryland, and just the 116th nationwide, to receive this distinction.

“Being a JA-certified jewelry professional is an important designation,” said JA President and CEO Matthew Runci. “John’s successful completion of the JA Certification exam attests to his proficiency as a bench jeweler. It lets consumers know that he is qualified to craft or repair their fine jewelry.”

John stays busy with custom orders, but he seizes whatever opportunities he can to create the new and beautiful pieces that he is renowned for making. “There have been times where I've actually dreamed of an image or design,” he says – as only a true artist would.  – JKW

Kokkinos Creative Jewelers, 410-723-14KT

Patrick Henry has been painting for more than 45 years, yet there’s a newness that surrounds the renowned Berlin artist these days. The creator of more than 800 works, most that capture and resurrect Eastern Shore scenes of yesteryear, has finally found an ideal location from which to paint – his new gallery at 4C Bay Street.

Situated across from Berlin’s Town Hall and positioned next to PNC Bank, Henry’s new gallery is the perfect combination of form and function – a timeless space that adequately and professionally showcases his work and provides the proper sunlight and inspiration to paint new projects.

Also new is his latest series of works that stray from his signature artwork – yet are nonetheless impressive. This collection of stunning classic American cars are massive pieces by Patrick’s standards in terms of size (32”x46”) and challenged him to paint in a different style – an experiment he relished.  

“For me, this was an exercise in discipline,” Patrick said. “I define my art as representational oil paintings that capture the essence of life on the Eastern Shore. They’re nostalgic and reveal the intimate relationship that I have with the land. My new paintings are exercises in organic and geometric shapes and provide me the chance to explore the elements of design that visual artists have to work with – colors, angles and values.”

The most recent development in Patrick’s business is the addition of well-known Berlin resident and interior designer Deborah Dashiell-Everett as his gallery manager. Deborah will also oversee Patrick’s business development and marketing efforts.

“Deb is merging her life experiences with my work,” Henry said. “We make a great team. It’s one of things that was just meant to be.”

Patrick’s gallery is open Wednesday-Sunday from 10 am-5 pm, and on Mondays and Tuesdays by appointment.  – JW

Patrick L. Henry Fine Arts, 410-641-1009

“We are so blessed to live in a region teeming with talented artists,” says Jennifer Dawicki David, co-owner of the Globe in Berlin. This popular local restaurant’s Balcony Art Gallery & Lounge has always represented local artists – even before the current management purchased the business four years ago. “We were so lucky to inherit The Globe's reputation and are enjoying the opportunity to continue to grow as an art destination in this community,” Jen said.

Regular monthly exhibits fill the loft gallery space at The Globe – located at 12 Broad Street – and represent everything from “Walking in the Woods: A Marquetry Exhibition” by Lucas Fink to Student Art Month every March, where, according to Jen, “for a couple hours it seems the kids are in their glory, and the work is just delightful … often so much more than you might expect from elementary school aged artists.”

To allow artists a better forum for their work, The Globe has recently begun to focus on solo shows in their gallery, encouraging each artist to host a demonstration event in order to gain as much exposure and notoriety as possible.

The upstairs lounge has been designed with comfort in mind. A 52 " flat screen television, free Wi-Fi and black leather couches offer a sophisticated metropolitan feel in the space, and guests can get table or couch service from the restaurant downstairs anytime.

The Balcony Art Gallery & Lounge is another layer of fun for The Globe. Bar manager/wine director Greg David hosts complimentary and informative wine tastings every other Wednesday evening. Live entertainment, Murder Mystery Dinners, exclusive beer and wine pairings and so many other cool events occur amidst the artwork. Check out their website for details.  – JKW

The Globe
, 410-641-0784


For those who have come to rely on Berlin’s Gail Lewis to fulfill her art gallery’s mission to bring the timeless beauty of world-class art to the Eastern Shore, the balance of 2010 will come as no disappointment.

Starting in July, the Water’s Edge Gallery, located at 2 South Main Street, is showcasing the work of renowned artist Kevin Fitzgerald.

“The Water's Edge Gallery is excited to have Kevin Fitzgerald, a nationally recognized artist, showing through the end of the year,” Lewis said. “I have personally selected works from his collection to create a unique show that I know will please our visitors. Kevin is also offering workshops and special events in the coming months and will invite other artists to show along with him during his time with the Water's Edge Gallery. I feel it is an honor to have him here in Berlin for an extended period of time.”

Born in Washington, D.C. and now based in Newark, Md., Fitzgerald is heralded for his moody and evocative landscape work. He uses color and light in fluid, even ethereal ways to impressionistically conjure, as one commentator put it, “romantic landscapes created in the Renaissance.”

“Outside painting for me is trying to capture the fleeting effects of light on an object or an environment,” Fitzgerald said. “I’m trying to show something that’s going to pass, that’s only going to be that way for one day and will never be quite the same again.”

Fitzgerald, who attended the Corcoran School of Art en route to a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art, isn’t trying to paint photographs of what he sees in nature; rather, he tends to quickly capture the essential truth of the moment on scene, then repair to his studio barn, where he proceeds to flesh out the overall concept of the composition.

The Fitzgerald exhibit at the Water’s Edge is a component of the larger Berlin Art Stroll, which includes artist receptions, outdoor music, shopping, fine dining and other entertainment events every second Friday of the season in Historic Downtown Berlin.  – PK

The Water’s Edge Gallery

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