Wagner Witte Gallery Hosts Grand Opening & Master Exhibit During Waterfowl Festival

Downtown Easton’s newest art gallery, the Wagner Witte Gallery, officially opens its doors with a grand opening celebration and featured exhibit opening on November 11 during Waterfowl Festival.

“Our Chesapeake” is a master exhibition of still photography, shot and produced by the Emmy award winning team of Paul and Holly Fine who have been collaborating on films for more than 40 years. This special opening exhibit will be an unforgettable visual trip around the Chesapeake Bay. It will be Paul’s premier showing of his still photographs. He has photographed and boated on the bay since 1970. The Exhibit will also include continuous showings of the Fine’s 1981 documentary “Harvesters of the Chesapeake.”

Paul Fine started making still photos when he was sixteen. His first assignment was working for his dad, Nate Fine, the Redskins photographer for almost 50 years. As the sideline photographer, he took the game day photos for the program book. At age 20 he moved on to motion picture work as a news cameraman for the ABC affiliate in Washington DC where he met his wife, Holly.

In 2002 Paul was sidelined himself when he was diagnosed with a Motor Neuron Disease. The Fines put their career on-hold, moved fulltime to their weekend house in Easton, and waged a battled against the debilitating effects of the progressive disease. With the help of dedicated doctors, amazing physical therapists, a walker, a wheelchair and sheer determination Paul was again able to pick up his still camera and shoot nature scenes of his beloved Chesapeake Bay.  The exhibit is the culmination of that battle!

The Fines, a prolific husband and wife documentary team, produced and directed films that garnered widespread acclaim and recognition. They are four-time recipients of the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award, including a Peabody Lifetime Achievement Award for their “impassioned and personal reporting spanning decades of local and network television.”

The Fines’ film career spans decades. A critic wrote that their work “…uses a distinctive style while giving a human face to complex contemporary issues.” They produced, he shot and she edited, television news and documentaries for WJLA Channel 7, CBS News, ABC News, “CBS Reports,” “60 Minutes,” “Nightline, “PrimeTime,” and “20/20.”  Their productions include “The Survivors” for Nightline that told the moving story of two people severely burned at the Pentagon on 9/11 and “In the Killing Fields of America,” a provocative documentary on violence in America, produced for CBS Reports.  Other contributions to “60 Minutes” included sensitive and compelling portraits of individuals from many walks of life, ranging from AIDS nurses to Barbara Streisand to a homeless activist and Chris Rock. In 1993, the Fines executive-produced, shot, and edited “‘60 Minutes’ . . . 25 Years,” a highly rated look at the program’s correspondents and memorable stories.

Their work has earned them hundreds of awards, including more than 80 White House News Photographer Association (WHNPA) awards. Paul was named WHNPA Photographer of the Year for five consecutive years. They have also won over 80 Emmys, four Peabody Awards, the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award, Ohio State Awards, Headliner Awards, the New York Film Festival Grand Prize, and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.

The Fines’ children are carrying on the visual tradition. Their eldest son, Sean, and his wife, Andrea, directed and photographed the Oscar nominated and Sundance audience award film “Wardance.” The film was previewed in Easton at the Avalon Theatre in 2007.  Their son, Bryce, is a graphic designer and illustrator.

The Wagner Witte Gallery is pleased to present the work of Paul and Holly Fine as the featured grand opening exhibit. The gallery is owned and operated by Jennifer Wagner, former owner of Gallery 26, and Kathleen Witte, co-developer of Easton Market Square. Wagner is well known for creating delightful mosaics around the region. Earlier this year, Wagner was named “Best Artist on the Upper Shore” by Maryland Life magazine, and in 2010 her Gallery 26 was voted “Most Unique Gifts” by What’s Up? magazine.

The Witte Wagner Gallery will represent and exhibit award-winning regional, national, and international artists and artisans in a professionally staffed gallery. “Art for Everyone, from Everywhere” is the description Wagner & Witte use to describe their concept. Their goal is to create a fun, exciting collection that art lovers from all walks of life and varied interests will enjoy and purchase.

Artists represented by the gallery are Jennifer Wagner (mosaics), Heidi Wetzel (fiber art), Sharon Stockley (metal jewelry and sculpture), Larry Bechtel (bronze sculpture), Liz Lind (watercolorist), Michael George Dean (oil paintings), Julie Patterson (oil paintings), Susan Fay Shauer (portrait artist), Victor Aborca (melted wax and crayon), Jimmy Reynolds (American folk art), and Heather Crow (paper art).

The gallery will also offer sales of art-related books, prints, and unique artisanal gift items. Workshops, classes, special events, and lectures will be offered to the public regularly.

Meet Paul and Holly Fine at the Wagner Witte Gallery grand opening celebration while enjoying refreshments and live music by Garter Grant during Easton’s famous Waterfowl Festival, November 11 from 5:30-8:30pm.

The Wagner Witte Gallery is located at 5 N. Harrison St. (across from the Tidewater Inn).For more information, email jwmosaics@ymail.com or contact Jennifer Wagner at 443.521.4084.

In photo: “Crabby” by Paul Fine is an image from the “Our Chesapeake” exhibit, which opens at the new Wagner Witte Gallery on November 11. This is a master exhibition of still photography shot and produced by the Emmy award winning team of Paul and Holly Fine, who have been collaborating on films for more than 40 years.