Friday, January 22, 2016

Artists showcase selves with Art of a Community

(Originally published in the 1/22/16 edition. A correction was made regarding Mary Shaw's title.)

   It is time once again for Benicia citizens to see the beautiful and thought-provoking work that its community’s artists are capable of creating.
   Arts Benicia will be hosting its 22nd annual Art of a Community exhibition which showcases the work of artists from Benicia and surrounding areas. 
   “This is artists showing work that best represents them and putting their best foot forward,” Arts Benicia Exhibitions and Programs Manager Mary Shaw said. “We have a wide range of artists who do their work on weekends and others who do this as their life’s work. We try to welcome everyone.”
   The event will feature more than 200 pieces from approximately 170 member artists. Many of the artists hail from Benicia, including Mike Kendall, Diane Williams, Mark Eanes, Nikki Basch-Davis and Fred Schlatter. However, there will also be work from artists in areas like Napa and Sacramento. 
   “We are a regional arts center,” Shaw said.
   The art pieces will come in a variety of forms, including paintings, graphic design, photography, sculptures and textiles. A painting by Flora Baumann shows the Mothball Fleet on the Caruinez Straits and how it has been disappearing over time. Fiber artist Alexa Day has her own take on Claude Monet’s iconic “Bridge Over a Pond of Water Lilies” painting. There is even more abstract work, such as Tracy Cullen’s robotic mannequin wearing an Air Force fighter pilot uniform.
   “We received so much artwork that I actually considered setting up two separate portables,” Shaw said. “That is work in and of itself, so all the pieces are displayed in the gallery.”
   Shaw believes this is a good opportunity for artists to promote their own work.
   “When you put your work out there, you’re putting yourself out there,” she said. “You’re always hoping you can rise to a higher level with your own work.” 
   Overall, Shaw says the exhibition is the organization’s most important because it is a way to give thanks to the members who have supported Arts Benicia.
   “It shows what a wonderful community we have,” she said. “Arts Benicia is grateful we can have this interaction and be able to support artists’ endeavors. We wouldn’t be who we are without them.”

   The Art of a Community will be on display from Saturday, Jan. 23 to Sunday, Feb. 21 at Arts Benicia, located at 991 Tyler Street. An opening reception will be held tomorrow from 7 to 9 p.m., and an open house and Family Art Day will be held Saturday, Feb. 20 from 1 to 4 p.m. The open house will have information about the organization and how to become involved, and appetizers and desserts will be provided by First Street Cafe. The gallery is open from noon to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. For more information, call 747-0131. 

All photos by Nick Sestanovich
"Steam Powered Robotic Warrior" by Benicia artist Tracy Cullen

"There Was a Boy" by Vallejo artist JeanCherie

"Chasing the Goose" by San Jose artist Milo Abadilla

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