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Easton’s Promise Opens Art Gallery

Jan 12, 2011 07:04PM ● By Anonymous

It was a longtime love and appreciation of art that prompted the two to open the gallery. Before retiring from The Star-Democrat in 2008, Pete was the newspaper’s arts editor, and enhanced its coverage of the visual arts. In her youth, Carla visited galleries and museums in Manhattan with her mother. Prior to moving to Easton, as an executive with the Institute of International Finance, she traveled worldwide, visiting art galleries and museums in every port of call. She is as much a student of how art is presented as she is of the art itself.

Considering their shared passion for art, it seems natural that the couple would open an art gallery. But why now, at a time when people are cutting down their spending on luxury items like artwork? Pete explains, “I think it’s because on the one hand, I have the time to do it, and on the other…I think that starting out on a lean model will serve us well as the economy improves.”

As for the body of work on display, Easton’s Promise will specialize in representational Eastern Shore art and artists. Every painting, drawing, photograph, sculpture, mosaic, mobile, tapestry or assemblage in the gallery will either be the work of an Eastern Shore artist, or depict an Eastern Shore scene. Pete explains that there’s not necessarily one trait that exhibiting artists must possess, but that he and his wife look for artists with talent. “We look for artists who have a distinctive eye—so when they see a marsh, a barn, or a cow, they see something that not everyone else sees—something a little different from what you would expect.”

Initially, Easton’s Promise will represent a small number of artists on a regular basis, including painters Joe Mayer, Robert Manning, and Ann Sharp, as well as photographer Jane McConnell, all of whom will be featured in November. As time goes on, more artists will be added. Painter Doug Sefton is on deck for December, as are photographers Nanny Trippe and Charlotte Cutts.

“The Eastern Shore is blessed with many fine artists and galleries,” says Carla. “And because there are so many of the former, we believe there is room for another gallery in ‘The Little Town That’s Big on Art.’ And since we believe in critical mass, we are confident that Easton’s Promise will be an additional tile in the mosaic of attractions that bring visitors to our town.”

The Howells have been active in the “First Weekend–Easton Live!” campaign, dedicated to making Easton a magnet for visitors on the first weekend of each month. Both are firm believers in the concept of critical mass, the notion that Easton’s magnetism will grow in direct proportion to the number of things to see and do, and good places to dine and shop. “One more good art gallery,” says Carla, “is one more good reason for people from the Mid-Shore and beyond to visit Easton.”

This is why the Howells have decided to open Easton’s Promise Art Gallery on a First Friday, which falls this month on Friday, Nov. 5. The public is invited to the event, which will feature food and drink as well as live music by singer Jay Brown. When it comes to selling art, Pete Howell expressed his desire to “leave people to their own devices.” He believes strongly that “the only thing that can make someone like a piece enough to buy it is the connection between the artist and viewer,” a connection that is “entirely personal,” and claims that Easton’s Promise will be one of the most “low-pressure” galleries around. But Pete’s gregarious personality means that he’s looking forward to the gallery opening on Friday because he’s excited for the crowd that will attend.

Be a part of that crowd—come out and get a sneak peek of Easton’s newest gallery. The opening reception is 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5, at Easton’s Promise Art Gallery, 107 Goldsborough St., Easton. The public is invited. A ribbon cutting is planned for 6 p.m.

If you can’t make the event, don’t fret! Easton’s Promise will be open every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Open late on First Fridays. Cash, checks, Visa and MasterCard will be accepted. For more information, please call 410-820-9159 or visit