Artist of the Month

Check out our 2014 artists.

John Grillo, May Artist of the Month

I started taking pictures in 1981 with a Pentax P3 manual focus SLR. I mostly used the autoexpose; then I learned aperature and shutter setting by reading books. In the days before the Internet, I went to the library and hung around book stores. In college and the first few years of work, I took pictures of family, friends, landscapes, and sunrises.
I married the love of my life in 1990, and we had our first daughter in 1992. My interest was renewed when I found a box with twenty rolls of old film. With the expiration date past and not knowing if the film could still be developed, I took a risk. The prints were amazing, and my interest in phorography was sparked.
Through pictures of three more daughters, I continued reading and learning aspects of photography. I read every photography book in the Carroll County and Howard County libraries.
Thirty-three years ago, I put a Pentax SLR up to my face, pushed the shutter release button, and heard the sound of the shutter opening and closing. This month I entered my work into an exhibition. Somewhere along the way I became an artist.
[su_divider top=”no”]

Mark Runkles, April Artist of the Month

mark with sax GREAT pic LR

I hate music. This thought is one of my earliest memories. I was about three or four years old and listening to whatever easy-listening radio station my parents had on at the time. I now have four college degrees in music.
I started my music career at about five or six years old by trying to learn the piano from my mom. It didn’t work out very well, but I was going to play an instrument. I never had a choice. When the school band program began in fourth grade, I wanted to play the tenor saxophone because my grandfather played the tenor saxophone. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my two front teeth, which are necessary to play the saxophone. I had to play the flute. And flutes are for girls. Yuck!
I finally got my first tenor saxophone in sixth grade. Then I became interested in Kenny G. I now wanted to play the soprano saxophone. Luckily, my middle school band director advised my mom that the money would be better spent on private lessons. This would be the single most important decision of my musical career. In the summer between sixth and seventh grade, I began taking saxophone lessons with Don Stapleson, the saxophone instructor at St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM). Don began teaching me to improvise. I had no idea what I was doing, but he introduced me to the music of Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, and John Coltrane. I forgot about Kenny G. Whew!
I became serious about music as a career as a freshman in high school; however, I would have to study classical music if I wanted to major in music at college. The saxophone has a limited classical repertoire, and I didn’t want to study it. Don thought I would have a better chance for a scholarship if I played a double-reed, oboe or bassoon, instead of a more typical saxophone double like flute or clarinet. I didn’t really know what it was, but I chose the oboe figuring that it would have more solos in an orchestra. Don put me in touch with Vladimir Lande, the oboe instructor at SMCM, and I began playing the oboe at the beginning of my sophomore year in high school.
I earned my Bachelor’s degree in music from SMCM. After initially failing to gain acceptance to a Master’s program, I eventually went to the University of Iowa to earn my Master’s and Master of Fine Arts degrees in oboe performance. I studied oboe with Mark Weiger. The Master of Fine Arts degree took me an extra year to earn, and I spent that year completing the necessary course work for a Master’s degree in jazz. It was during this year that I took a jazz composition course with John Rapson.
In December 2012, I earned my Doctor of Musical Arts degree in oboe performance from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). I studied oboe with Stephen Caplan. My dissertation was titled “A Critical Edition of Gustave Vogt’s 4ème Solo de Concert.” I was able to publish the piece with Trevco Music Publishing.
I now live in my grandparents’ house in Mt. Airy while running the music division of the Mt. Airy Arts Alliance, playing in the Twin Arch Duo with guitarist Charlie Trapp, composing jazz, and searching for a job in music.
[su_divider top=”no”]

Larry Grant, March Artist of the Month

Larry Grant

I am an armed forces veteran who went to school on the GI Bill. I began studying painting in my 20’s thinking it was the start of a career in art. I attended the Corcoran School of Art and began drawing live models. One day while painting my garage, a neighbor came over and asked if I would teach his daughter how to paint. I agreed. JoEllyn was only 8 at the time. I took her under my wing, and we have been colaborating ever since. When we entered our first exhibit together at Brooksiden Gardens. I won a third place; she won first. I also work in Steel and other mediums.
[su_divider top=”no”]

Gail Albert, February Artist of the Month

February Artist of the Month

At our monthly meeting, Gail, presented some of her oil paintings to the group. Gail references photographs for her paintings and at times has her daughter take photographs. She began learning from her kindergarten art teacher and studied with her for 14 years. In sixth grade she painted for her second grade teacher. Gail actively participates in art shows and works on commission. She completed a series of vineyard paintings (on commission). The medium of choice that she uses are oils, watercolors, and acrylics, but prefers to use oils because of the ability to blend with multiple colors. At first she viewed art being displayed in a museum/gallery, but now she sees herself being more valued and appreciated when her art is displayed in someone’s home.
[su_divider top=”no”]


Don Briddell, January Artist of the Month
The Six Million

It is rare that an artist/sculptor has the opportunity to do a lifetime of figure sculptures in one piece. This unusual opportunity came when I won an open competition in 1996 to do sculpture commemorating the Holocaust. That a Jewish community center chose a gentile do a sculpture concerning a major event in Jewish world history is a testimony to the large-hearted universal view of humanity had by the Jewish community of York, PA. My piece titled The Six Million is a twenty-foot long and nine-foot tall sculpture depicting six million people walking out of the past (though an opening in a wall) and into the present (walking into the room). This piece begs the questions, “is this world a safe place to live in? Can hatred, misery, and evil ever be a thing of the past?” We know we have to be vigilant, and we to REMEMBER even the bad things lest we forget and suffer again.