For decades, while she worked and raised her family, Irene Ganter, of Upper Deefield Township, had little time for artistic pursuits.

But after retiring as office manager for her husband’s machinist shop in Vineland, she rediscovered her love of painting.

She gets support from The Bay Gals, a group of 13 women artists — the youngest is 62 — who meet weekly at the Hopewell Senior Center, and often sketch on location at natural areas along the Delaware Bay and Cohansey River.

Started in 1995 by Liz Sherman, of Cedarville, the group includes former teachers Kathy Peterson, of Bridgeton; Marie Cobb, of Fairton; and Maxine J. P. Kelly, of Stow Creek Township.

There are also former nurses Mary Ann Bickings, of Hopewell Township; and Joyce Hobson, of Bridgeton. Cumberland County Board of Realtors Past President Diane Risdon, of Millville, is a Bay Gal, as is Joan Getsinger, of Fortescue, a retired executive secretary at Kimble Glass Inc.

“We support and encourage each other,” said Ganter, who was born in Germany and immigrated at age 7, when her family settled in the Bridgeton area. “I’ve learned from being with the other girls and picked up skills.”

Their show, Springtime on the Delaware Bay, is on display this month at the Bayside Discovery Center in Port Norris. Other members are Maxine Lewis, of Bridgeton, an original member; Charlotte Myers, of Pittsgrove Township, and Terri Ely, of Bridgeton.

Ganter said some members take lessons from group member Ellie Sorantino, who runs Wind Whistle Studio of Art in Fairton and who has encouraged her to work in varied media.

If you go

Food, art and music at February’s Second Friday in Bivalve ~ Love on the Bay! from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 8 at Bayshore Center, 2800 High St., Port Norris. Visit

Consumer Bowl winners

Cedar Creek High School’s Leah Filardi, 16, of Sweetwater; Tim Bridel, 17, Hammonton; Dario Colon, 17, Egg Harbor City; Rachel Ann Parsons, 16, Egg Harbor City; and Hari Desai, 16, Egg Harbor City, won the 2013 New Jersey High School Consumer Bowl 2013 for Atlantic County on January 25 at their school.

They were tested on their knowledge of issues such as flood insurance, price gauging, identity theft, auto leasing and Internet fraud. Cedar Creek moves on to the regionals at Burlington County College in April. Winners there compete for the state title, sponsored by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.