The barn sat in the middle of a long field that led to James Pond. It was built in 1861 and it wasn’t long or wide, but it was three stories tall. Each room had different panels of wood and Ella Fitzgerald songs wound their way up the staircases from an old radio. The handrails were knobby, but the whole thing felt sturdy, like it had been there for a long time. Which it had.

Walking the artistic path. — Jeanna Shepard

The barn once belonged to Captain Norman Benson of West Tisbury, a trap fisherman up until the 1970s. In his later years, he sold eels out of his back porch.

“The barn was a Lambert’s Cove fishing shack,” Ashley Medowski said. She is Mr. Benson’s great-granddaughter and today, the barn’s proud restorer and owner. She is also an artist and on Saturday celebrated her annual art reception at the Lambert’s Cove gallery.

“Fourteen years ago I was blessed with the barn . . . and I began renovating,” Ms. Medowski said at the reception. She had always summered on the Vineyard, she had always loved art and the barn had always been full of great old junk.

Current exhibit is called Shorebirds, Ships and Sea Life. — Jeanna Shepard

“You couldn’t even see the floor,” she said.

Years ago Ashley invited friends, family and neighbors to help her clean out the old barn. She then hung her paintings on the walls, and called it the Old Salt Gallery. She opened it up to the public one August evening. Though she recently changed its name to the Ashley Medowski Gallery, she has continued the tradition of opening her doors for a showing every summer.

The theme of this year’s reception was Shorebirds, Ships and Sea Life. There were paintings, notecards and all kinds of art, all created by Ms. Medowski. Some pieces moved, some were 3-D, a few sparkled. Two such paintings were on the third floor. One was of a glittering moon on the water. Next to it was a painting of small boat watching the glittering Oak Bluffs fireworks.

“Very controlled Elmer’s and glitter,” Ms. Medowski explained.

Annual summer reception has become a community event. — Jeanna Shepard

The reception drew a large crowd. Sophia Harrison said that she and her brothers Joshua and Jonah come to Ms. Medowski’s reception each year. They have developed a relationship with her along the way.

“We’ve just become friends from seeing her work,” Ms. Harrison said, “She’s awesome.”

In turn Ms. Medowski admired her guests. “The evening was not only a great success but also a magical night with friends, family and neighbors,” she said, adding that her great-grandfather would have enjoyed the evening too.

“What a guy,” she said. “Norman loved telling stories. He would have loved opening the barn to public.”

For more information visit