Birchtree Gallery & Framing and Northern Lights Stained Glass Studio is the studio and home of unique works of art by Al & Cheryl Wentzell (owners) and other artists in Watertown, South Dakota. We are located at 117 E. Kemp Avenue (between the Blossom Shoppe and Ultimate Kicks). Birchtree Cellar Gallery was started in 1995 in the home basement studio of Al Wentzell, which grew in size every year until the large basement could handle no more at which time in 2004 it moved into retail space at 117 E Kemp Avenue, Watertown, SD 57201. "Cellar" was removed from the name and it is now called Birchtree Gallery & Framing (and Northern Lights Stained Glass Studio). The shop was shared with another framing retailer until late 2008, when the framer retired from the business, and Al, who had been framing for the other company on and off, decided it best to frame under the Birchtree name and he added all new equipment, saws, mat cutters, glass cutters, etc.
Over the years, many other artists and stained glass designers in Watertown and northeast South Dakota have learned from Al Wentzell, including Jerry DeWald of Studio 66 Custom Design Stained Glass.
The Gallery represents Al's paintings and artworks, along with the stained glass and other creations of both himself and his wife Cheryl, and features other local South Dakota Artists, including works of Stained Glass, Fused Glass, Paintings, Pottery, Jewelry, and Photography. Al & Cheryl's son (Chris) moved to Watertown in November 2011 and joined the Gallery specializing in Lapidary, Gems, Minerals, and Crystals, as well as assisting in Stained Glass works. In 2015 William Pinna became a permanent addition to the Gallery and has had his art featured here since 2006.
The shop also has specialty items for weddings, anniversaries, gifts for all occasions incorporated. We also teach Art Classes including plein-air, Stained Glass Classes, art glass, jewelry making and mosaic art. The Gallery teaches Stained Glass classes for Mt. Marty College, usually twice a year and holds open house and receptions for artists during the year.
The Gallery is usually open Wednesday through Saturday throughout the year and is closed the first two weeks of August to go to market shows and purchase glass, etc. Our LOCATION IS HERE and our CURRENT BUSINESS HOURS ARE HERE, and our CONTACT INFO IS HERE.
The Birchtree Gallery TEAM
Al is a recognized artist in many mediums and showcases his art in the gallery. He has won awards in a variety of mediums. He also assists with advice to Cheryl while working on his own designs and art projects when he is able. Read more about him below.
CLASS INSTRUCTOR, TEACHER, and ARTIST.
Cheryl is the class instructor and teacher for all the various art classes we offer. You will find her assisting the students in the studio as well as managing daily aspects of the gallery.
LAPIDARY, GEMS & MINERALS,
STAINED GLASS ARTIST
In addition to being a stained glass artist, CHRIS is a well-known expert in the gem, mineral, lapidary, and mining fields and he assists the Gallery in these areas when not out mining or exhibiting at gem & mineral shows. Learn more about him HERE.
LAPIDARY, GEMS & MINERALS,
STAINED GLASS ARTIST & MASTER.
WILLIAM recently attained the title of Master of Leaded Stained Glass. WILLIAM is also a talented artist in many mediums and is also involved with the gem, mineral, lapidary, and mining fields and he assists the Gallery in these areas when not out mining or exhibiting at gem & mineral shows. Learn more about him HERE.
ABOUT AL WENTZELL: Mixed media with multiple perspectives, fused and stained glass, watercolors, oils and pastels are on display at Birchtree Gallery in Watertown SD. Works range from art glass for home décor, to business, residential and religious clients in both paintings and stained glass windows or functional décor, all perceptions of the world in which we live……….through the eyes of an artist.
A Massachusetts son….a California artist….a world traveling artist and now a South Dakotan Artist. Although these are a few phases that describe me, my recent art works have focused on the Northern Plains and especially the state of South Dakota. My painting of wildlife on the prairies and landscapes depict life sometimes in another century or happening right now on local farms, lakes, rivers, and numerous other scenes. Being a world traveler I am just as at home painting a mule deer in Montana, a rural church on a gravel road, a new trolley car in Watertown or a National Park landscape or plein-air painting in Canada or Europe.
I'm at home from the west coast of Canada through its inlands or the east coast of Nova Scotia. Inspiration for my works come from traveling, working and camping. My childhood (started painting at age 9) and teenage years was spent leaning how to paint, developing my talent and skills and involved in competing in the adult world with first my paintings and then in stained glass. I went to school on the east coast (Boston) continuing high school and college on the west coast (Los Angeles) majoring in art and business, after three years in the US Army that strengthened my goal to become a fulltime artist.
Receiving my education and degree in California enabled me to become acquainted with various are art forms and cultures. I cannot explain to others the peacefulness that comes over me when I'm out in the field taking photos or painting meadows, streams, whether out west doing ocean scenes or in aspen groves, on mountains and in valleys of the Rockies, or on the prairies: the quiet places that make ones spirit and soul feel like you are at one with nature and God, maybe your the first to visit these places. If you have lived in a large metro area and have moved to a slower life style in quiet places, you will understand the importance of all these places and why I like to capture and preserve them in paintings, photography, glass or any other media. It's a kind of a history of what and how I felt, leaving me with a feeling of serenity with nature and God.
Landscapes reflect the affects of atmosphere, colors of nature, plains of space whether done in watercolor, oil, pastels or glass. All of the medias enable me to express myself for all to feel and see. My present passion is watercolor and art glass, but oils have always fascinated me, especially looking at paintings from the old masters to see the realism, light, design and brushwork and layering techniques.
I tend to continue to focus on diversity – always looking around the corner, outside the box, or looking at things in new ways. Looking for something new and challenging for my tomorrows. As a consultant and businessman, when I was younger, the road took me across this and other continents and finally leading me to South Dakota. For a few years I still continued to consult in Canada and the US, this enabled me to become a fulltime artist with a new interest not only in stained glass but now art glass and fused glass while incorporating my painting background and to teach classes. I still occasionally consult with a very good friend when something interest me but more and more I am content solely as an artist, fulfilling my lifelong ambition.