Bettendorf’s Bereskin Gallery Debuts New Photography Show, Opening Reception Friday
Joe Maciejko has been shooting beautiful photos for far longer than Paige Magistrelli has been alive, but both passionate Bettendorf residents are among 23 area artists who will have their photography on display in February at the Bereskin Gallery and Art Academy, 2967
State St., Bettendorf.
Five other Q-C photographers are part of a new ongoing campaign to promote the work and purpose of United Way Quad Cities.
While gallery owner Pat Bereskin has featured photography for sale since she first opened the Bettendorf venue in 2017, this is her first full exhibit of photos. The Photographic Exploration Project – featuring 43 works – will be on display through Feb. 26, with a free opening reception with the photographers on Feb. 5, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
“They range from very talented hobbyists to those that are professional,” Bereskin said recently. “For our first call to entry for photography, we are quite pleased with the quality of the results.”
The Riverbend Photo and Video Club worked with her to get the word out and encourage their members to participate.
“I have long admired the photography of our local artists,” Bereskin said. “Watching them record the eagles on the water on the most bitter cold day, or capture the workmen at the I-74 Bridge site on the hottest of days. How wonderful for all of us to be able to reflect on the beauty of the world during these challenging times.”
All styles and techniques were welcome for the open call, including experimental, documentary, portrait, travel, cityscapes or any other approaches to photography.
“We look forward to discovering new visions of photography through the artist’s most personal approaches to image making as they capture what they are most passionate about,” Bereskin said in the call.
Maciejko, 78, a retired psychologist and longtime photographer for Ballet Quad Cities, submitted both a stunning dance image and a more recent shot (from this past November) of the new I-74 bridge at sunset for the exhibit.
“We’ve been following it, in its various phases of construction,” he said Friday. “It’s a fun project to keep going back and see the changes. The arch form, it kind of grows on you. It will grow on you and be well-known architecturally. It’s really fun from a photographer’s standpoint to see the old versus the new,
“The arches are actually much higher than you think they were,” Maciejko said of the new bridge. “There’s a very pleasing gracefulness to the arches and suspension cables. It’s really kind of moving.”
He’s vice president of the Riverbend photo club (with about 80 members), which started two and a half years ago. “Our mission is to focus on artistry,” Maciejko said. “Don’t just buy expensive stuff and call yourself a photographer. You have to learn to see. We work on sharing our work, enjoying it. We’re not just after scores and ribbons.”
“There is amazing talent, and our job is to cultivate that – whether you’re an advanced photographer or beginner with an iPhone,” he said. “There are things to enjoy and learn. One of the other things we emphasize is giving back to the community.”
Paige is a Bettendorf High senior, who’s been studying art with Bereskin since 2012 and has interned in her gallery the past 18 months.
“To be honest, I am honestly more a painter. I got into photography my freshman year in high school,” she said Friday, noting she’s studied drawing and painting with “Mrs. B.” “I took a photography class; I had to take photos for the class and I really enjoyed it.”
Through art, “her passion and love of color and design made it the perfect way for her to express herself,” Paige wrote in her bio. In the new exhibit, she is displaying a sunset in her Bettendorf neighbor and a crystalline sea scene in Cinque Terre, Italy from a summer 2019 art trip with Bereskin and other students.
“I’m really excited — to be honest, I wasn’t planning on submitting anything,” Paige said of her photos, noting Bereskin encouraged her. “I just feel like really proud; I was really stoked when I heard the news. I am just very thankful for Mrs. B, letting me have this opportunity. I get to show my artwork for people who come to the gallery.”