Paintings with Purpose

Bringing the Art World’s Big Names to Small Audiences at Wentworth Gallery

Wentworth Gallery is a 30-year family-owned business with eight galleries along the East Coast, including one in Bethesda at the Westfield Montgomery Mall. Wentworth’s bread-and-butter business model is about offering a huge collection of more than 200 artists’ work with a wide variety of price points to both long-time collectors as well as those who have never before owned a work of art. Each month, they feature one specific artist and host a cocktail reception for art lovers to rub elbows with the talent. Potomac Lifestyle sat down with Gallery Director Holly Hendrickson to discuss Wentworth’s prominent position in the art landscape and its featured guest for March.

On March 17, you’re showcasing Def Leppard’s drummer, Rick Allen. What’s his story, for those who might not know?

He’s an interesting guy, probably best known for recovering from the loss of his arm in 1984 and learning how to continue drumming in spite of it. He and his wife started the Raven Drum Foundation, a charity they use to help people through things like PTSD and physical disability. They really believe that the power of music and art can transform people’s lives and help them move through trauma.

What’s his artistic style?

He has a cool mix of pop art; he uses photography that he manipulates digitally and then prints on canvas and does sort of a mixed media painting on top of it. He uses lots of different textures and patterns and plays with different textiles. Most of his themes portray his feelings of home toward his birthplace of England and the U.S. because he found success here both as a rock star and an artist.

What’s the value in having a place like Wentworth Gallery in this community?

There aren’t too many shopping malls where you can buy a pair of jeans and then go pick up a Salvador Dali. We have names like that in our collection—that’s one of our greatest strengths. We have a great mix of landscapes and cityscapes, still life and abstract, and it’s so cool to introduce a variety of people to the art world—to explain to them why a particular artist or piece of work is significant and valuable, to flip that switch for them and see the lightbulb go on for the first time.

“Art is a really personal process. You see a special connection happening when someone falls in love with a work of art; it’s a very intimate moment.”

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