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A Gem Across the River:
Washington County Art Museum
By Mary Bell
SAIL Newsletter Winter 2015

Museum Image 

One Sunday in December, a friend and I ventured across the Potomac for an afternoon of art and music at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts. Pleasingly sited on the lake in City Park in Hagerstown, the museum was established in 1931 by the Singer family, and it has been recognized as one of the finest small museums in the country. Its mission is to collect, preserve, interpret, and exhibit art of lasting quality for the citizens of Hagerstown, Washington County, and the surrounding region.


The museum's strength is that its professional staff is dedicated to its basic mission, and they understand what they can and cannot do. For example, on our lecture tour that Sunday, the Museum Director, Rebecca Massie Lane, characterized the Museum's European collection as “a cabinet of curiosities”, i.e. a hodgepodge of good quality donated items. This small collection is not displayed very well, and most of the paintings need a good cleaning.


The rest of the museum's collection, however, is well-organized and masterfully displayed in well-lighted, airy galleries. True to its mission, the collection emphasizes American works, regional artists and local subject matter. I was delighted to learn that the Museum features the works of currently working artists. The Museum is currently featuring the works of Philip Koch, who is on the faculty of the Maryland Institute of Fine Arts, and local Shepherdstown artist Diana Suttenfield will have an exhibition at the Museum opening with a reception on February 28.


The Museum hosts an excellent concert series, with performances at least monthly. On our recent visit, we heard the Kuznik Trio, comprised of members of the Maryland Symphony. While the trio had scheduled a program of Mozart and Mendelssohn, they instead played works by three little-known 20th Century Polish composers. We enjoyed all of the pieces, and it's unlikely we would hear them performed anywhere else.


The Museum's website: No entry fee and free parking.

Items of Interests
by Nanci Hellmich, USA TODAY
Although some people want to move to a warmer climate or exotic locale in retirement, for most folks, their current home is where their heart is.
Watch the eagles that live at the National Conservation Training Center located just outside Shepherdstown as they feed and tend to their new eaglets.
This web site is built with seniors in mind. It contains health and wellness information for older adults and is hosted by the National Institutes of Health.
The Medical Press web site features an article showing that training the elderly in social media improves well-being and combats isolation.

Heart Attack and Water - I never knew all of this ! Interesting.......
An offshoot of the sharing economy, virtual villages are popping up all over the country to offer older adults access to resources and social connections that help them age in place.

SAIL Installs 2015 Officers
 Vicky and Jack
Shepherdstown Area Independent Living (SAIL), installed new officers for 2015 at a meeting of its board members. The outgoing board was comprised of Carolyn Rodis, Hal Snyder, Judy Moore, James Stovall, Dan Van Bellegham, GT Schramm, with Vicky Thomas serving as president, Jack Young as vice president, Ted Walton as secretary, and Cris Kinsella as treasurer. The 2015 board is made up of members Vicky Thomas, GT Shramm, Dan Van Belleghem, Hal Snyder, Diana Eldridge and John Griffith, with Jack Young serving as president, Carolyn Rodis as vice president, Ted Walton as secretary, and Carl Moore as treasurer.
At the meeting, outgoing president Vicky Thomas reflected on the group's accomplishments since its inception in 2012. About a third of the organizations like SAIL close within the first three years. SAIL hasn’t closed. “We're growing!" she said. In fact, SAIL has almost tripled its membership since it started. SAIL began with approximately 26 members and now includes approximately 80 participants.
SAIL was the first "village" of its type established in the state of West Virginia. As Thomas explained, SAIL's purpose is to sustain quality of life for area residents as they age by providing community support and various services and resources. "I think Shepherdstown's really special and I don't want to go to a retirement community because they're all very far from here," she said.
In a letter to outgoing president Thomas, Jack Young described her as "one of the visionaries who first dared to consider the possibility." Thomas said that SAIL has work ahead in continuing to pursue its mission. "It's still a young organization. It still has a lot to do." Particular emphasis continues to be placed on addressing the many challenges older residents face in terms of transportation. "It's a really big thing for people like us," she said. "I look back at all the ideas we have had, all the people who have been central to this organization's beginning. Members and board members who are no longer in town or in SAIL, early volunteers, the ministerial association, Good Shepherd's staff and board members, the current and former members-all are in my thoughts," Thomas said in her final president’s report. "So, let's have a wonderful year."
More information about SAIL can be found by visiting or by emailing

Award at Friday Brown Bag Lunch
 Member Eunice Earle is presented the coveted SAIL Raffle prize by SAIL Board member Ted Walton.
At the regularly scheduled Friday Brown Bag Lunch, Board Member Ted Walton presented SAIL member Eunice Earle with the SAIL Raffle prize. It was a beautiful watercolor painted and donated by SAIL member Marian Buckner. Marian is a renowned artist who has exibited widely. Her local showings have included juried venues at the Bridge Gallery and the Martinsburg Arts Center.

Pot Luck Dinner
John King and Judy MooreOn Friday, January 30, SAIL hosted its annual Pot Luck Dinner to celebrate Ground Hog Day, The event was held at the Trinity Episcopal ChurchFellowship Hall and was attended by approximately 40 people including the newest member John King. Good food and convivial conversations were acompanied by a lively "trivia" challenge.
Jack and Avery Younis with Norma Siler 
Our thanks to Jack and Avery Younis who helped with the party arrangements as a part of their high school community service activity