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THE NEW GALLERY ON THE BLOCK: BECK FINE ART

The Beck Fine Art Gallery, located inside ArtWorks at 200 Willard Street in Wilmington, opened its doors on February 23rd, 2024. The gallery's primary goal is to showcase the finest contemporary art in Southeastern North Carolina. It centers around the works of renowned painter Dan Beck, who serves as the anchor artist, but also features eight resident and two guest artists.


By Sara Byrnes

Dan Beck, "Cypress Cove" Oil on Canvas

After high school, Dan Beck worked a series of jobs that included a ranch hand in Arizona, construction on the beachfront of Florida, refinishing furniture in Louisiana and four years in the infantry. Throughout his jobs and in between, he would fill journals and sketchbooks with drawings. This passion pointed him towards the artist's way. He used his GI bill to attend Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design and later, studied at the Art Student League of Denver, where he learned to use pastel and oil paint in an impressionist style from various master painters. His instincts to pursue his passion for painting were right and he now has a robust portfolio of work and a slew of awards and gold medals and has garnered a reputation as one of our nations finest artists.


Jenny Mckinnon Wright, a resident artist at Beck Fine Art Gallery, said of Beck Fine Art: "This gallery is high quality. I'm not in a bunch of galleries anymore. I'm in this gallery now, and it's the only one I will be in. I was invited to be in this gallery, and I felt that it was an honor. It's by nature of the artists in it, and Dan Beck is at the top of the heap."


This sentiment was echoed by Ann Hair, another resident artist in the gallery, "Dan is definitely a master painter." 


Ann has been in Wilmington since the 2000s. When Dan first came to Wilmington, Ann was familiar with him from another gallery owner who had some of his work. 


"I was connected with Dan on social media," Ann said. "I messaged him and asked if he would be in his studio on such and such a day. I took him a bottle of wine and another friend with me. We popped in and saw him in his studio. When we were leaving, he asked where we were going. I told him we were going to critique. He said, can I come? And I said yeah. Then I got on the phone in the car with the group because we're not supposed to bring anybody to critique. I told them I was bringing somebody to critique, but I thought it would be okay because it was Dan Beck. It was perfectly fine."


Jenny responded, "Dan sort of had a magnetic compass towards art events." 


As I spoke with them both, they riffed off each other. "Dan is also fun," Jenny said, "I enjoy his company. I enjoy being with him. And I enjoy watching him work. It's like a dance," she said, proceeding to spar with the air, holding a pretend paintbrush to demonstrate Beck's working process.



As people entered the gallery, Jenny taught them a lesson on perspective. The patrons were close to Jove Wang's paintings, a guest artist featured. Jenny encouraged them to back up and then back up further. "What do you see now that you didn't see before?" She asked. 


"A car," the patron responded. 


"Yes," she exclaimed, "you don't see that if you're right up here." 


"The faces become increasingly human the longer you look at them," another patron said of Beck's work. 


"They do," Jenny agreed. 


Beck Fine Art Gallery collaborates with local talent of various painting styles, methods, and subjects. There's a tight-knit community of local artists in Wilmington. "When you have a group of artists that aren't competitive, we energize each other. We're very kind. We're honest. We know each other. It's nice being a part of this gallery for that reason. Since we opened, I've met several local artists I didn't know," Ann said. Quite a few of these artists are on display in the gallery. 



Kari Feuer, the resident artist, says of being involved in the gallery, "I was very honored to be asked to be part of this gallery, as Dan Beck is one of the area's premier painters and is part of a wider national community. Our work is not similar, but that makes an interesting gallery! The common thread among our artists is that we all respond intensely and emotionally to the visual world around us—but in different ways."


Pappy Khouri, a resident artist, began his career after retirement. For him, this gallery is an opportunity to be "a part of what Dan Beck does, to be among fellow artists with varying styles expands my appreciation for what it takes to paint."  


Other artists currently showing at Beck Fine Art Gallery are Susan Fishbein, Heidi Lee Peach, Ora Sorensen and Peggy Vineyard. They moved to the coastal Carolina area from various places at different stages of their lives. The common thread they all share is their passion for art and love for this region they call home. 


In addition to our local talent, Beck Fine Art Gallery also brings you some of the finest impressionist painters from around the country, including Jove Wang from California and Richard Oversmith from Asheville, NC. 



The gallery is open Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., and on Fourth Friday Gallery Nights. While visiting, you can speak with some artists featured in the gallery. 


If you can't make it to the gallery, you can always view some of the artist's work on your computer or phone by visiting www.beckfineart.com


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