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Blanche Ames Gallery

UUCF's Art Gallery is currently open for IN-PERSON viewing or by appointment.

"On the Way: Walking the Camino de Santiago"

Blanche Ames Gallery invites you to take an introspective journey along the famous Spanish Camino de Santiago with our featured artist, Claudia Giannini. The on-sight show with artist's talk and reception opens Sunday, July 3 from 11:45-1:45, and the show will run through August 28.

The show is available for viewing in person on Sundays from 10-2:00 or on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, mornings from 10-12:00 or by appointment at other times for individuals or small groups. To request an appointment, email us at with your name, phone# and date/time of desired appointment.

Claudia Giannini walked for 33 days on the 500-mile Camino de Santiago in northern Spain during April and May, 2016. A life-altering experience, this Medieval pilgrimage runs from France, across the Pyrenees, and into northern Spain to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela which houses the supposed remains of the apostle St. James. Claudia was inspired to create a series of mixed media images based on the landscape, plants, buildings and artifacts she encountered along the way. To interpret this journey Claudia has used mixed media including photography, collage, paint and encaustic to make her beautiful art.

Claudia Giannini, who lives and works in Shepherdstown, WV., received her BFA degree from West Virginia University, specializing in printmaking and photography. She studied art history and museum education at Penn State graduating with a Master's in Education in 1981. She has worked in the museum field at the Smithsonian, the Birmingham Museum of Art, the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Pittsburgh Mattress Factory Museum of Contemporary Art.

Claudia has held residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and the Artists Image Resource in Pittsburgh. Her work was incuded in an exhibition that toured throughout the mid-Atlantic region in 2004-05. Claudia has exhibited her work at SOHO20 Gallery in New York, Pittsburgh's Center for the Arts and the Silver Eye Center for Photography, the Bonita Springs Arts Center in Florida and throughout the Frederick area. You can find 13 of her images in the book, "Field Notes from Grief" with text by Judith Stitzel published in 2012. Below Left to Right: "Columbine," "The Wall," "Yellow Lupine"

SPECIAL - A Workshop by Claudia Giannini - "The Art of Pilgrimage" - Saturday, July 30

At this 5-hour workshop, Claudia will present a history of pilgrimage traditions and sites around the world, and share slides of works done by artists who have incorporated the experience of walking these routes into their art.

After lunch, participants will walk silently through the gardens and open spaces outside our building. Upon returning to the meeting space for discussion, you will write and create art in your journal, reflecting on your experience of walking and observing.

See this link Art of Pilgrimage flyer for details and all registration instructions. Payment is due by July 20. Part scholarships available. Registration is limited to 12 people.

For artists: Are you wondering how to Exhibit in our Gallery?

We invite artists working in any media that can be wall hung to inquire about an exhibit with us. The Blanche Ames Gallery features over 100 linear feet of art exhibition space in two light-filled hallways within the UUCF building. Sorry, our space does not lend itself to displays of pottery, jewelry, or three-dimensional work that is free standing.

Artists interested in showing their work should submit a completed application and digital images by email or USMail to the office at UUCF . Please download the Proposal Form. Blanche Ames Gallery's email address is gallery@frederickuu dot org.

The Visual Arts Committee plans, schedules and executes all art exhibits at UUCF. We schedule six art shows (two months each) during the year, with an art reception and artist's talk on the first Sunday of each show. Here are a few examples of artists' shows at our Gallery:

Who was Blanche Ames? Why her name?

Blanche Ames (1878-1969) was an exceptional woman and a member of her Unitarian Congregation in Massachusetts. She was a leader who serves as an inspiration to us today.

With her minutely observed drawings and etchings she illustrated her husband's 7-volume treatise on orchids. Ames' talent extended well beyond art. She was a feminist, a suffragist, a leader in civic and charitable affairs, an inventor, an engineer and an author.

A more extensive biographical sketch can be found by clicking on Blanche Ames. After her death, the Ames family homestead, including the mansion with her studio, became a Massachusetts state park with more than 1800 acres of recreational space. https://www.mass.gov/locations/borderland-state-park

A new documentary film - "Borderland: The Life and Times of Blanche Ames Ames"- was released in 2020. Go to https://www.borderlandthedocumentary.com to watch the trailer and find out how schedule a private viewing or sign up for a community event at which the film will be shown.

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(The short link to this page is frederickuu.org/gallery).