The Oak Bluffs Arts District is thriving again, thanks to the opening of the Island’s newest cooperative space — Art Gallery, on Dukes County Avenue. The building that formerly housed the PIK-NIK Gallery and, more recently, the Studioshop boutique, is now home to a pop-up cooperative venture sponsored by the Martha’s Vineyard Center for the Visual Arts (MVCVA).
The 12 participants cover many bases, from painting and photography to pottery, furniture, and fashion design. MVCVA president Holly Alaimo, former owner of the Dragonfly Gallery and probably the Islander most familiar with the local art scene, has been instrumental in getting the co-op up and running.
“It’s a project we’re running this year, instead of giving grants,” says Ms. Alaimo. “There wasn’t really enough to go around, and we didn’t want to ask artists to give us their work toward a fundraising effort. This way we can share the profits with the members.” The MVCVA is paying the rent and expenses, while the artists are splitting the cost of advertising and taking shifts manning the gallery.
The small space is lovely and bright, with a main gallery and a smaller storefront room facing the street, which will house a featured guest artist every two weeks. Currently the spotlight is on Anna Finnerty, who creates tranquil pastel seascapes, still lifes, and a charming series of Illumination Night lanterns. Next up will be designer Nancy Cramer; each spotlight exhibit will run for two weeks.
Featured prominently in the main gallery are the colorful botanical prints of Peggy Turner Zablotny, who creates intricate patterns with pressed flowers and then photographs them to create larger-than-life floral mosaics. One whole wall is dedicated to Ms. Zablotny’s fantastical floral creations, which are also available as smaller unframed prints.
Photographer Janet Woodcock has on display a series of sepia-tone images of carnival rides and stands. Like all of her work, Ms. Woodcock’s toned silver gelatin prints have a beautiful, haunting quality.
Artist Genevieve Jacobs is showing work in two different styles. She is offering her popular original bird paintings, as well as prints of some of her unique collages, which feature images of animals, birds, and people made up of sections of maps.
Marston Clough has contributed a few of his lovely impressionistic land- and seascapes — including a large one in shades of blue of a rock emerging from the ocean — along with a number of smaller pieces.
Renee Balter’s folk art–inspired paintings add some nice color to the gallery. Her Oak Bluffs street scenes, both contemporary and historical, really capture the quaint spirit of the town.
Janice Frame has turned her attention to a very different subject in a series of watercolor and ink images of women in traditional African garb. Ms. Frame has also created a series of statement necklaces from rope embellished with leather, beads, lace, and other materials.
Plein air painter Liz Taft has a way of capturing the softness and calm appeal of the Vineyard landscape with very limited brushstrokes and an expert use of color.
Two designers are featured in the gallery, each offering a very different style. Nancy Shaw Cramer creates lovely, flowing, lightweight jackets, coats, tunics, and elongated vests from a variety of easy-care fabrics. Her designs tend to flatter all figure types. Ms. Cramer also designs attractive, one-of-a-kind throw pillows.
Kenworthy, the design team of Marlene DiStefano and Randi Sylvia, features unique pieces that are perfect for the Vineyard aesthetic. There’s often a bit of sophisticated bohemian in their looks, which range from a few unique pieces of romantic lace and cotton dress-up wear to some lightweight tie-dye ponchos trimmed with pompoms. The Kenworthy line also includes bags, belts, and leather-trimmed scarves.
Bill O’Callaghan shows some real creativity in his furniture design. His driftwood tables, mirrors, desks, and benches take advantage of the unique forms found in nature combined with organic elements like shells and beach stones. The Art Gallery also features pottery vessels and figures by Mr. O’Callaghan.
Ceramicist Heather Goff is offering the last of the charming ceramic tiles from her former line. Each piece features a veggie, an animal, or a beach find.
For more information about the Gallery, call 508-693-5444.