IEH Art Show opens Saturday

George Thibault's watercolors were displayed on the table, as the Community Room at Woodside Village became a lively scene at last year's show. — File photo by Lynn Christoffers

For Rebecca Perkalis, Irene Baugh, and Marge Toenges, art means passion, therapy, and revitalization, and this Saturday, Oct. 8, they will be among those displaying their work at the annual Island Elderly Housing (IEH) Art Show.

“Our tenants are so enthusiastic about showing their work. Every year we have discovered new talent willing to be in the show to give us variety,” IEH Service Coordinator Ann Baird says. “The talent is varied, and we wanted to provide an outlet for residents to display their work to the public,”

Ms. Perkalis plans on showing her acrylic abstract paintings. She describes her work as being vibrant and brightly colored. Her favorite painting, one of a large purple light bulb, glows with a textured yellow, almost three-dimensional, flame in the middle, a technique she achieved by adding a paste to the acrylic paint.

“I’ve always kept my artwork private, so now showing is a really humbling opportunity for me to say, ‘Hey, look what I’ve done,'” she says. “I posted my artwork on Facebook recently, and that was the first time I’ve ever shown my work,” she says. “This is the second show. The first public show was at the Daybreak Clubhouse.”

Ms. Baird notes that just like the composition of the Island population, there is a wide variety of talents and preferences, and the show includes all manner of expression from paintings and crafts to writing and poetry.

IEH’s only basketweaver, Marge Toenges, will display about a dozen of her handmade baskets, differing in size from a small woven receptacle for business cards to an Easter basket.

She began basketweaving when she was living on Nantucket many years ago. She taught her son-in-law the skills, and he plans on teaching his daughter, passing the art to the next generation.

Ms. Toenges began showing her artwork only a couple of years ago. “I gave away a lot of my baskets as gifts for family members and friends,” Ms. Toenges says. “I have a lot of them in my apartment, too.”

Ms. Baugh, who learned oil painting by watching Helen Van Wyk’s television show, “Welcome to My Studio,” has been painting for more than 20 years. This is her second time showing at the IEH show.

“I’ve given away a lot of paintings,” she says. “If my friends and family say, ‘I like that,’ I give the paintings to them.”

For many IEH residents, their art provides a meaningful way to spend their time. Ms. Baugh said, “I’ll get everything out ready, and three hours go by. I don’t think about time or anything. I don’t notice other things happening around me, and nothing else matters.”

“It helps me really get rid of negative energy,” Ms. Perkalis said. “Art to me is really expressing yourself through creative medium. It allows you to create something larger than yourself. You produce something you weren’t expecting.”

Ms. Perkalis said she plans taking ceramics classes at Featherstone Center for the Arts to try a different medium this fall.

“Our residents are proud of their creativity and what they do and love the positive feedback they get from their families, neighbors, and the general public,” Ms. Baird said. “It’s a nice, exciting, and warm atmosphere at the show. I think the public is amazed at the different kinds of talent they see at the show. There’s something for everyone.”

The annual Island Elderly Housing Art Show is Saturday, Oct. 8, from 1 to 3 pm at Woodside Village II in the Community Room at 60B Village Road in Oak Bluffs, across from the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School.