James Farm preserve taking the spotlight at Gallery One

From field and forest to bayside beach, the James Farm Ecological Preserve shows a new landscape from every angle.

Local artists captured those sights in a new Gallery One exhibition, “James Farm Ecological Preserve,” which will be on display all day on Sept. 29 and 30.

The public is also invited being to a special reception on Saturday, Sept. 29, from 5 to 7 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public, with no RSVP required.

James Farm is an ecological preserve on the Indian River Bay off of Cedar Neck Road in Ocean View, owned by Sussex County and managed by the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays (CIB). It has been called an “oasis of wild land.”

“We’ve all gone out there and done our impressions of James Farm,” said Gallery One artist Lesley McCaskill. “I couldn’t believe all the families that were there … all the kayakers, and, of course, the birds and the wildlife. … I was so excited about seeing how this had evolved into a real spot for people.”

McCaskill said she loves the gentleness of the place: “It was just awesome … seeing the kids really exploring nature and really enjoying the space with their families.”

She encouraged other people to go enjoy nature and bring a notebook to write or sketch their own impressions.

Sales from the exhibit’s James Farm Theme Wall will support improvements at James Farm, to better educate and accommodate future visitors.

The exhibit is open on Saturday, Sept. 29, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Sunday, Sept. 30, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Eight artists will display paintings and drawings of the site.

“The walk from the parking area to the beach at the James Farm is an experience in contrasts,” said artist Laura Hickman. “You walk through a dark, beautiful canopy of trees and then emerge into the stunning open scene of sky wetlands, trees and the river.”

Artists Dale Sheldon, Laura Hickman and Marybeth Patterson were inspired by wide skies and a peaceful shoreline, while artists Jan Moffatt and Eileen Olson overlooked the golden marsh and tidal pools.

The artists were inspired by various angles, including Joyce Condry’s brief glimpse of James Farm while driving over the Indian River Inlet Bridge. Pat Riordan and McCaskill showed the natural beauty, as well as humans’ love of kayaking, swimming and beachcombing on the bays.

“What a treasure we have with the beautiful and protected wetlands of James Farm. We are able to visit and enjoy the sounds and sights of unspoiled nature,” said artist Dale Sheldon.

During the exhibit guests can also visit Gallery One’s Artisan Room, featuring textiles, hand-blown glass, pottery, glass jewelry and wood pieces by local artists.

Gallery One’s regular monthly exhibit, “Our Good Earth,” will temporarily come down to make way for the James Farm exhibit, then return the following week through Oct. 2.

Gallery One is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is always staffed by one of the artists. It is located at 32 Atlantic Avenue, Ocean View. For details, call (302) 537-5055 or visit www.galleryonede.com. Learn more about James Farm and the CIB by calling (302) 226-8105 or online at www.inlandbays.org.


By Laura Walter

Staff Reporter