Art gallery finds suc­cess in of­fice com­plex



JaneKav Art Gallery is per­haps the only art space where pa­trons can pe­ruse ce­ram­ics while wait­ing for their tax forms.

Most peo­ple don’t know there is a gallery in­side Suite 103 in the pro­fes­sional com­plex at 625 Barks­dale Road, artist and pro­pri­etor Jane Ka­vanagh Mor­ton said. Vis­i­tors, she said, typ­i­cally find out through word of mouth or are al­ready friends or neigh­bors.

“We have clients that come in a lot dur­ing tax sea­son, and they’re de­lighted to come in and look at some­thing re­ally nice be­fore they go back and find out what the prob­lem is with their taxes or how much they have to owe,” Ka­vanagh Mor­ton said.

Her hus­band, Jeff, runs Alma Com­pany Ac­count­ing. He’s op­er­ated the busi­ness in its cur­rent lo­ca­tion for about 25 years. Be­fore that, it was his fa­ther’s ac­count­ing firm.

Ka­vanagh Mor­ton stud­ied ce­ramic art at Hood Col­lege in Mary­land and has worked in var­i­ous medi­ums for 40 years. She sells her work at The Pal­ette & The Page gallery in Elk­ton, Md., and in an on­line Etsy shop. But her pieces con­tin­ued to fill the Mor­tons’ home in the nearby Oak­lands neigh­bor­hood.

So, about five years ago, the cou­ple came up with the idea of mov­ing some of her work to the of­fice.

“It’s great,” Jeff said of the gallery now oc­cu­py­ing his wait­ing room and back of­fice. “Be­fore this, we had a bunch of old ac­count­ing books.”

The ac­count­ing of­fice and gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. week­days. Ka­vanagh Mor­ton is usu­ally off-site work­ing in her home stu­dio but vis­its the gallery by ap­point­ment and is also in dur­ing her bi-an­nual open house. The ac­count­ing firm has about 250 clients, and about 70 to 80 vis­i­tors showed up at the last JaneKav open house, Ka­vanagh Mor­ton said.

“When we have the open­ings, it’s a real neigh­bor­hood gath­er­ing,” Ka­vanagh Mor­ton said. “And peo­ple say, ‘I had no idea this was here.’ And I say, ‘Well, now you know.’”

The next open house, her Hol­i­day Art Show, will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Satur­day at JaneKav Art Gallery, with a pre­view of the event from 6 to 9 p.m. tonight. In ad­di­tion to ce­ram­ics from Ka­vanagh Mor­ton, the show will also in­clude pho­tog­ra­phy and en­caus­tics from her sister, Bal­ti­more-based artist Nancy Ka­vanagh O’Neill, and ce­ram­ics from fel­low Delaware artist Paula Ca­men­zind.

Al­though each artist has a dis­tinct style, Ka­vanagh Mor­ton said she ex­pects vis­i­tors will see the artists have a kind of “com­fort­able­ness” among each other.

The Ka­vanagh sis­ters, she said, both found in­spi­ra­tion in their fam­ily’s his­tory of Ir­ish cop­per­smiths who set­tled in Bal­ti­more.

One of Ka­vanagh Mor­ton’s largest sculp­tures on dis­play in the gallery is a brew pot, which her fa­ther sug­gested, and which is based off a pho­to­graph Ka­vanagh Mor­ton took of a whiskey ket­tle at Jame­son Dis­tillery in Ire­land. In another room, pho­tos of Ir­ish towns from Ka­vanagh O’Neill ap­pear along­side minia­ture ce­ramic houses.

While both Ka­vanagh Mor­ton and Ca­men­zind work with clay, their work shows two dif­fer­ent sides of ce­ram­ics. Ca­men­zind uses porce­lain to cre­ate time­less vases and bowls based on an­cient Chi­nese works. She then en­hances the sur­face with glazes in irides­cent blues and pur­ples, and tex­tures in­spired by shells, coral and sea glass.

“What I love to hear from peo­ple who have my work is they pet it, they pick it up and they hold it,” Ca­men­zind said.

Ka­vanagh Mor­ton’s work, while still tac­tile, is more whimsical and nar­ra­tive, and has a rus­tic ap­pear­ance. All of her works – many of which fea­ture lit­tle faces – are cre­ated with her hands, through the process of slab mak­ing and coil build­ing, and she prefers not to use the throw­ing wheel.

“I think it will work to­gether be­cause it is dif­fer­ent,” Ka­vanagh Mor­ton said of the show. “Va­ri­ety is the spice of life.”

Per­haps that’s the same rea­son a neigh­bor­hood gallery has found a home in an ac­count­ing of­fice.

Our Town is an oc­ca­sional se­ries that ex­plores the peo­ple, places and tra­di­tions that make Ne­wark unique. Send sug­ges­tions to jshan­non@ches­


Artist Jane Ka­vanagh Mor­ton (right) poses with fel­low Delaware artist Paula Ca­men­zind in the JaneKav Art Gallery on Barks­dale Road.

Minia­ture ce­ramic houses cre­ated by Jane Ka­vanagh Mor­ton are on dis­play along­side pho­tog­ra­phy from Nancy Ka­vanagh O’Neill in the JaneKav Art Gallery.

Pot­tery cre­ated by Paula Ca­men­zind is on dis­play in the JaneKav Art Gallery.

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