studios and were actively exhibiting in art shows and galleries. Mayer founded another Friday Morning Artists group. The initial gathering of five or six artists grew to over 100 within a year. The rules he established were simple: no dues, no officers, no agenda, no email. “I realized people need some professional/social contact. You can’t live in a vacuum.” The group eventually formed subgroups, including photographers, mosaic and ceramic artists, and sculptors. They became active in the community with storefront shows and projects. Inspired by the “The Gates” in Central Park by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, the group designed and installed 125 miniature sails in Easton’s Thompson Park, a conceptual art piece they titled “Coloring the Winds of March.” The project firmed Mayer’s belief that villages like Easton and Shepherdstown need to support artists 52 weeks out of the year, not just for a two-week show. “If you can make the arts—music, writing, visual
“Santa Fe Winter,” abstract mixed media painting, 16 x 20.
arts—part of the warp and woof of a community, then people will come. But if you do it just to get people into your shops, then it’s short-lived.” Another decade passed. One day Joe said to Ann, “I think we’re getting dull. We need an adventure.” They put their house on the market and it sold in a week. The next move was to the desert: Santa Fe, New Mexico—a renowned art community. They built a studio and kept on painting. Ann began a 9-month atelier on portrait painting while Joe attended Lifelong Learning classes, taught a course titled “Improv for Seniors” and delved more into abstracts, or what he calls “music without words.” Yet, although active in the Santa Fe art scene Mayer couldn’t shake the feeling of being a visitor. “Everything was painted some shade of brown— even our dog, Harry. The sky was too big, the landscape was too big to paint, so I started doing interpretations, translations of the Southwest, of the ever-present sun. u