“Buggie” by artist Philip Laber is photographed among home accessories sold at WITHIN. The piece, measuring 36 by 28 inches, is available at Beréskin Gallery and Art Academy

BETTENDORF, IOWA (March 10, 2022) — As people look for ways to refresh and improve their living spaces, two Bettendorf business women are collaborating to make the process easier and more inspiring.

The opening of a major new art exhibit, “Dialogues Within” by noted artist Philip Laber at the Beréskin Gallery and Art Academy, 2967 State St, is giving Pat Bereskin, owner of the gallery, and Michelle Blunk, owner of WITHIN, an interior-design studio at 1729 State St, the opportunity to showcase the strengths of their individual businesses.

“I called Michelle and said I think this is a perfect time to collaborate because people are stepping out, the weather is getting nice, and people are starting to invest in their homes because for the past two years they’ve been stuck inside and they’re tired of looking at the same stuff,” Bereskin said.

Some of Laber’s works have been photographed at WITHIN among the various home furnishings and accessories that are offered there to give prospective buyers an idea of how Laber’s art can be incorporated into their living spaces.

“There is no time better than now to embrace local and regional art,” Bereskin said.

“Nonplus,” 60 by 42 inches

Blunk said the beauty of buying local is that it eliminates the long wait times brought about by supply chain issues and labor shortages when items are ordered.

“We need to find a piece that gets you excited about your project,” she said. “We build off something that you’re in love with, you’re excited about, and you have a connection to.”

There is much to be excited about Philip Laber’s artwork. It is alive with color, texture, line and mood, Bereskin says, calling the style a cross “between Marc Chagall and Vasily Kandinsky.” The majority of work in the exhibit, which runs through April 28 and is sponsored by WITHIN, has never been seen before by the public.

“A room can be designed around his signature pieces, or a piece can nestle into a room,” she said.

An Iowa native, Laber was a long-time professor and former chair of the Department of Art at Northwest Missouri State University and is a master printmaker and photographer. More extensive information on his work can be found at www.philiplaber.com. He has recently moved to the Quad Cities area and resides in Long Grove.

Bereskin and Blunk have long collaborated as founding members of the Downtown Bettendorf Business Women, often referring clients to each other’s businesses. This is the first time, however, that the collaboration has been centered around a specific art exhibit.

About the businesses

Beréskin Gallery & Art Academy is open Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call to make a personal appointment at 563-508-4630.

WITHIN is open Monday-Friday, 10AM-5PM. Call at 563-359-1655.

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