Pequot show brings people together

As in past years, the Pequot Art Show is expected to draw artists and art lovers together in the warm setting of the Oak Bluffs hotel. — File photo by Danielle Zerbonne

Jacquelyn Brickman traveled to Martha’s Vineyard more than a decade ago to recover from a broken back — a temporary stopover on what had already been a long road to recuperation. In the process, she established an annual art show in the community she quickly grew to love.

On October 2, the non-juried art show at the Pequot Hotel in Oak Bluffs will celebrate its 11th year of uniting seasoned and novice artists.

“We knew a lot of local artists, and they knew a lot of other people, and we invited everybody,” says co-curator Laura Kay Coggeshall.

She, along with Ms. Brickman, originated the welcoming event with the encouragement of Pequot owner Don Glassie. The two were working at the hotel and creating art on the side: Ms. Brickman painted murals on the Pequot Hotel walls, and Ms. Coggeshall painted seascapes. Although Ms. Brickman was planning a show of her own art, after seeing Ms. Coggeshall’s work, she asked her to join.

That spirit of inclusion continues to define the Pequot show — the exhibit features a variety of mediums, including photography, painting, and sculptures, with anyone encouraged to showcase, even if they arrive the day of the event with their art in hand.

“For a lot of people it’s their first show; it’s a great way to gain experience,” says Ms. Coggeshall. She says a similar experience many years ago gave her the confidence she needed to display her work elsewhere.

Ms. Brickman adds, “It’s a nice, easy time. You can see beautiful artwork from people who may never have shown before.” Each year the event “evolves as life evolves,” she says, and each year is a little different from the last. She says she’s, “always overwhelmed with the people and the art that come in.”

At least 11 artists are expected to participate next week, including some perennial attendees. Island nature photographer Julian K. Robinson, whose work has been admitted to the Vineyard Historical Society’s permanent collection, will be on hand, as will Rhode Island painter James Steele.

Although artistic expression is the raison d’être for the exhibit, Ms. Brickman, who lives in New York, and Ms. Coggeshall, who lives in Rhode Island, say they equally value the opportunity to reconnect with the Island that inspired the show and local friends they’ve made throughout the years.

“I have never felt so attached to a place. I just love the area,” says Miss Brickman. “It’s my home away from home, but it actually feels like more of a home than home. If there’s a heaven on earth, this is it.”

In keeping with the focus on the Vineyard, attendees are asked to donate $5 in honor of the late Betty Boyd, an Islander and long-time participant of the Pequot show, who died in 2008. Those funds, along with 10 percent of the proceeds, go toward funding children’s art programs at the Oak Bluffs Library.

“Hopefully it creates a good feeling in the community, says Ms. Coggeshall. By holding the event each year in October, it puts the focus on the community rather than the tourists, she says. “It’s a nice time of year for people to gather.”

“There’s a feeling of lightness to the event,” says Ms. Brickman. “It’s the end of summer, a good place to have a glass of wine, see some good art, and catch up with people you haven’t seen in a while.”

11th Annual Pequot Hotel Art Show Opening Reception, Saturday, October 2, 6-8 pm, Pequot Hotel, Oak Bluffs. $5 donation. 508-693-5087