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Emerging Artists Program

*Note: This program is on pause...

The Emerging Artist program focuses on support and instruction for artists who are in the early stages of, or just beginning a professional artistic career. Artists selected for the program will learn the basics of designing, organizing, and hanging a show by experiencing it first hand from concept to opening reception with the continual support and mentorship of the ShenArts staff.

  • developing a theme or cohesive body of work

  • composing an artist statement/bio

  • determining titles & price points

  • proper framing for a gallery show

  • introductory art marketing

  • hanging a show

  • hosting an opening reception

Exhibits have been housed at the Old Town Welcome Center located at 33 East Boscawen St. in Winchester, and rotated bi-monthly. Receptions and meet-the-artists events are held on location.


If you’re a ShenArts member who is interested in having your work featured in the Emerging Artist program at the Old Town Welcome Center, please get in touch with us at

Past Exhibits

Wonders & Stories – Tanya Gupta

October 17, 2019


Tanya G is a graphic designer and illustrator based in Winchester, Virginia who has always had a passion for family, creativity and imagination. After her studies in Multimedia and 2d Animation , she was drawn toward the mesmerizing world of illustration, especially children’s book illustration. Her work has been published in children’s books, educational books, wedding invitations and packaging designs with clients including theRealco, experifun, elvenagri and cleanenergyfun.

From a very young age, Tanya would draw faces on almost everything she got her hands on, making characters anywhere she could.  She enjoyed reading graphic novels and creating her own similar worlds with her imagination, telling stories through pictures in the same way. This inherent love for character and story has remained with her. Although she occasionally tries her hand at traditional mediums, she is known for her digital work in which she uses confident lines and vibrant color to create happy and lively characters.

When she’s not working, she can be found drinking tea, crafting/ DIY & watching movies. Follow Tanya on social media where she posts about her process as well as regular looks at finished works. She publishes visual stories about her characters “Fluffy” and ” Cody and Chip” as webcomics every week.

Kate Rice: Mountain Encounters

July 14, 2019


Kate Rice has always used art to express herself. She was born in Connecticut but has lived all of her life in Virginia including Northern Virginia, Fredericksburg, and Tappahannock spending time on family farms, horseback riding, hiking and exploring nature, all of which has given her plenty of inspiration. She is a passionate animal lover and nature admirer. These themes have always played a key role in her work.

Kate studied color theory, painting, and printmaking at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia graduating in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in Art. As her painting style matured, her primary focus became color symbolism which was displayed in her nature and landscape-themed oil paintings.

Since college Kate has focused her career on the art world. She worked with Wentworth Gallery where she was able to try her hand at art installation and sales. For years she has worked with the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C. learning about museum operations and experienced some spectacular art shows. She gained much from these opportunities which over time has led her back to a desire to create and sell her own artwork.

After she moved to Front Royal Virginia in 2015, Kate has finally been able to focus as a professional artist creating her own works. Now she draws, paints, and prints what she sees in nature with a few embellishments. Her art stays as Virginia-focused as possible, since there are so many beautiful plants and animals, especially in the Shenandoah Valley. Most recently her floral linoleum prints were featured in the Spring Art at the Mill at the Burwell-Morgan Mill.

Artist Statement

I start with a drawing or even a watercolor. The medium changes depending on the animal and mood. If an image sticks with me long enough it normally becomes an oil painting. Everything I put into a piece is intentional, right down to the colors used. They are symbolic, I think of the way a color makes me feel. The animals are also symbolic. For example, to me the Bee is diligence, the deer is calmness, and the bear is strength. Everything in my art has a meaning and everything has a purpose

Natural Muses – Kira B. Skala

May 13, 2019

Visit the Old Town Welcome Center at 33 E Boscawen St. just off the downtown mall to see our new exhibit of watercolor works from local artist Kira B. Skala. Her pieces explore botanicals and landscapes with color and purposeful brushstrokes and are not to be missed.

Kira has always been an artist, using different mediums throughout her life.  Growing up in the Hudson Valley of New York State, she was fascinated by the shape, color and movement of rivers, trickling streams, hemlock forests, flora and the breezes of the Shawangunk Mountains.  Kira spent endless hours and days outdoors, cultivating her natural curiosity and awe of how the earth lives and moves.  Rhythm, movement and shape, line and light wound itself into Kira’s life as she studied ballet.

Through her love of dance, she moved to VA and received a BS from Shenandoah College and Conservancy of Music in 1985.  She stayed in the field of dance for 12 years as a faculty member and choreographer at Vostrikov Academy of Ballet and the Virginia Youth Ballet.  Through her work, she explored themes celebrating her early curiosity about shape, color, rhythm and movement.

Working with dancers led to a desire to explore life’s spiritual movement and answering a call to the ministry.  She completed her Master’s of Divinity at Virginia Theological Seminary and was ordained to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church at Washington National Cathedral in 2001.  She continued to serve two parishes in the Piedmont Region until her retirement in 2009.  Her medium through her ministry serving God and the community was the power of words, liturgy and the sacraments.


Retirement has included many mediums! She creates beautiful artwork through quilting and hand embroidery.  She is also an artful cook, gardener and photographer.  She took an introduction to watercolor class with Kris Loya at Round Hill Arts Center in 2017 and she continues to paint on a daily basis.  Her inspiration is the culmination of life experience and the natural world. Her current work focuses on the numinous and miraculous beauty found in nature.



Artist Statement

Kira is inspired by the work “Silent Noon”, music by Ralph Vaughan Williams and poem by Dante Gabriel Rossetti*. The poem and music describe a moment of infinite beauty amidst silence, an idyllic garden and quiet intimacy. Her work captures a moment of quiet beauty in this busy, noisy, terror-filled world. She hopes that you, the viewer, gain a moment of peace, clarity and groundedness.

This show is dedicated to Jeanne Aulaire Mischo, 1963 – 2015: friend, artist, activist.

*Silent Noon (No. 2 from The House of Life)

Music by Ralph Vaughan Williams and poem by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1903)


Your hands lie open in the long fresh grass,

The finger-points look through like rosy blooms:

Your eyes smile peace.

The pasture gleams and glooms‘Neath billowing clouds that scatter and amass.

All round our nest,

far as the eye can pass,

Are golden king-cup fields with silver edge

Where the cow-parsley skirts the hawthorn hedge.

‘Tis visible silence,

still as the hour glass.

Deep in the sun-searched growths the dragon-fly

Hangs like a blue thread loosened from the sky:

So this winged hour is dropt to us from above.

Oh! Clasp we to our hearts,

for deathless dower,

This close-companioned inarticulate hour

When twofold silence was the song of love.

Never Stop Playing: Toy Photography by Roberto Rosas

November 15, 2018

Once upon a time, deep in the borough of Manhattan, a child was born into this world destined for infamy. It was a time of post-Vietnam war societies clashing over peace on earth that spurred the ideals of an Ecuadorian-American prodigal son tossed into the mix that we used to call “The American Dream”. Shouldering the responsibility of being the first of his family to be born in America, he took it in stride and flexed his artistic might, overcoming the barriers of a highly complex dichotomy of his heritages’ belief systems. In a nutshell, this meant listening to his parents ask repeatedly, “Why do you always draw skulls and devils?” Influenced by a constant flux of Heavy Metal Magazines, comic books, horror movies, and the Six Million Dollar Man, Roberto quickly carved out his style and shortly after, destroyed it.

Roberto C. Rosas has lived in the Shenandoah Valley for 20 years, running a small studio out of his basement called “The Lab Winchester”. While being a full time caregiver for his handicapped brother in law, Roberto, a native of New York, creates photos of his toy collection to represent a childhood nostalgia of 70’s pop culture clashing with modern car culture aesthetics. 


Visit the Old Town Winchester Welcome Center throughout the months of November and December 2018 to see the exhibit and be sure to join us from 5-7 on the evening of December 7th for a reception with the artist for First Friday.