Art League exhibition participation sets record

Published 5:43 pm Friday, July 14, 2023

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From traditional paintings, mixed media and even jewelry, Suffolk Art League wrapped up its month-long Open Members Exhibition Friday, July 14. 

Local artists as well as those outside of Suffolk participated in showing off their creativity in the exhibition. Suffolk Art League Executive Director Linda Bunch said it was one of the “biggest shows” based on turnout of artist displayed at the gallery with more than 140 pieces of artwork from many artist

“While it is the ‘Suffolk’ Art League’s Open Members Show, we always say artists understood regionalism before it was a thing,” Bunch said with a laugh. “So we have artists of course from Suffolk, but we have artists from Williamsburg to Virginia Beach to Southampton County. We even have a Washington D.C. artist – who’s actually a Suffolk native but now lives in D.C. – and still comes back and exhibits with us.”

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Bunch said she and Suffolk Art League appreciate seeing the different types of art from a variety of people who have different backgrounds.

“I think it demonstrates the vitality of the art scene in Hampton Roads, and in Suffolk,” she said. “Just having the number of artists that are exhibiting with us was very gratifying, that those people would travel all the way to Suffolk to display their artwork. It’s just really gratifying to know that they are dedicated to their craft and to their art, but also participating with the Suffolk Art League.”

Bunch urged local residents to watch for upcoming Art League events. 

A one person exhibit by Southampton artist Russell Schools Jr. is set as part of his first place prize from last fall’s annual Juried Exhibition. Schools also will feature artists from the Blackwater Artist League alongside his show. The exhibit date is yet to be determined. 

The next juried exhibition is in late October with artwork entries due in early September. There is more than $2,000 in prize money and the winner will also be awarded a one-person show next summer. 

Suffolk Art League also takes part in the Suffolk Plein Air Festival, set for Sept. 5-9.

“We’ll have over 40 artists from all over the United States and one international artist is joining us again this year to paint Suffolk from the northern to the southern,” Bunch said. “We’ll have artists out in town, in fields, on the waterfront painting Suffolk which culminates in a Friday night wetpaint sale here at the Suffolk Art Gallery. We’re excited to be hosting that event this year.”

Bunch said she hopes people will picked up an appreciation for the arts at the Open Member exhibit

“Whether it’s something you want to hang on your wall or not is one thing, but just to have an appreciation for the effort and the talent of the many artists that are out there,” Bunch said. “One nice thing about the open member show is it’s not judged, it’s not juried. It’s very low pressure. We really encourage our starting artists, ones that maybe haven’t exhibited their work a whole lot. They can just bring their work and get feedback from that.”