All Island Art Show encircles Tabernacle

As it did in past years, the All Island Art Show will turn the Campgrounds into a celebration of art. — File photo by Ralph Stewart

It’s that time again, the 53 annual All Island Art Show opening Monday August 1, when creative energy takes over the Campgrounds, and the Tabernacle becomes a carousel of creativity.

All artists over the age of 16 — professional and amateur, new and returning — are invited to submit five original pieces that, although not juried, are reviewed by judges for awards, and displayed around the Tabernacle. (There is a Junior Art Show on Tuesday, August 2, from 10 am to 12 noon for children 15 and under.)

According to recent years, about 500 entries are submitted for each year’s show. Bob Cleasby, the Tabernacle programs director, says that it’s the Tabernacle’s biggest event of the season.

More than just for the art, the show attracts visitors who come to be part of the festive atmosphere, who enjoy meeting Island artists and hearing about their techniques and methods.

Monday, August 1, from 9 am to 4 pm, will be an ooh-and-aah event, a display of originality and artistic talents in wide variety and range in a unique and charming setting. It would be hard to find a more enticing setting for an art show than the Campgrounds in Oak Bluffs, encircled by the Carpenter Gothic cottages whose front porches are usually hanging baskets of flowers, and furnished with wicker, rocking chairs, and friendly faces.

The All Island Art Show was originated in 1958 by the late Sydna White, and has been headed by Jeanne Wells for close to 32 years. Ms. Wells explains that her love of art first drew her to get involved with the show, and the fact that is was a come-one-come-all event made it all the more enticing. She supports providing an opportunity for people who have talent and enjoy making art to display their work and get reactions from the public.

The judges — professional artists and gallery owners — are assigned different categories including oil and acrylic paintings, collage, drawing, graphics, color and black and white photography, sculpture, fibers, and more. In the past, judges have included Jennifer Pilsworth dealing with photography; and for the paintings, Melissa Breese of Shephard Fine ArtSpace, and Michael Hunter of PIKNIK Fine Art & Apparel. Don McKillop from Dragonfly Gallery and Nancy Blank, artist and Featherstone Center for the Arts teacher, have also served as judges.

Due to the generosity of individuals and art establishments, a long list of awards is distributed. The Vineyard Treasure Awards are given in honor of esteemed Vineyard artists, and other awards are sponsored by galleries and individuals. Other awards include: Best in Show ($150), First Place in different categories ($50), and Second Place ($25). Some pieces receive a special ribbon in the name of people who have been significant in making contributions to the Island’s art community. There is an award for Most Popular ($50), determined by viewers’ votes. Red ribbons are given for merit. Awards are presented between 2:30 and 3:30 pm.

But however gratifying it is to receive an award, the benefit to artists is the chance to introduce themselves and their work, to interact with the community, and to carry on this long-standing tradition. All displayed work is available for sale unless otherwise noted.

All Island Art Show, Monday, August 1, 9 am to 4 pm, Tabernacle, Campgrounds, Oak Bluffs. Tuesday, August 2, the Junior Art Show, from 10 am to 12 noon.