Family Planning of Martha’s Vineyard’s art show now through Sunday

The Family Planning Art Show is a great opportunity to see a wide variety of art all under one roof. — File photo by Susan Safford

Beginning Thursday evening, the Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury will be transformed into an exciting gallery as the annual Friends of Family Planning Art Show opens for its 25th year. The Gala Opening Preview Party from 6 to 8 pm is for many the season’s first festive gathering, a fun party for a good cause where friends enjoy socializing after the long winter.

The exhibit, featuring work by some 120 talented artists and artisans, remains open through Sunday, May 26, tempting visitors with an array of creative treasures matching every taste and pocketbook.

Island generosity and caring keep the event thriving year after year. Artists offer their work for sale and give 40 to 100 percent of the proceeds to the organization. Local restaurants and caterers donate delicious food for the lavish party buffet.

“The art show benefit is organized and staffed completely by our board and community and artist volunteers,” said Jennifer Knight, Friends of Family Planning’s board president. “It is truly a celebration of our Island community supporting its own ”

Board members handle every aspect of the event, from seeking out artists and setting up the exhibit to soliciting food and beverage donations, serving hors d’oeuvres, and greeting visitors, answering questions, and manning the sales desk.

Nili Goldstein is art show coordinator, Noreen Baker in charge of food donations for the gala. Bernadette Budinger Cormie of Herring Run Kitchens and Provisions has volunteered to coordinate the kitchen again this year, with Cathy Walthers assisting her.

Jazz keyboardist Jeremy Berlin’s music will set the mood for enjoying art, refreshments, and conversation. Special guest Kate Taylor will present a special announcement at the festivities.

Marston Clough, a talented painter himself, was in charge of gathering art for the show. He said he was gratified by the response of the artists who were both generous with their work and supportive of the Family Planning mission.

“I like the community feeling of it,” he said.

The exhibit is noteworthy for the variety it displays, from painting, printmaking, collage, and photography to sculpture, handmade furniture, clothing, jewelry, ceramics, note cards, and more.

Ms. Knight listed returning favorite artists including Leslie Baker, Nancy Furino, Jay Lagemann, Washington Ledesma, Marjorie Mason, Alison Shaw, Jeanne Staples, Wendy Weldon, and many others. Rez Williams, Darcie Lee Hanaway, Janis Langley, Lindsey Morris Provost, Steve Myrick, Marie-Louise Rouff, Emily Coulter, and Hiroko Nakamura Thomson are first-time contributors.

According to Ms. Knight, Chris Brooks will sell his driftwood lamps and Thad Harshbarger his stained glass lamps, both contributing 100 percent of proceeds. Emily Coulter of Emily Coulter Weddings is creating an artistic installation for the show, and will offer a future installation to be sold during the show and co-created with the buyer’s input.

“This piece will be a perfect way to celebrate and commemorate a special occasion,” said Ms. Knight, “and all proceeds will go directly to Friends of Family Planning.”

A highlight of the annual show is the poster, created each year by a Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School student and chosen in a contest in cooperation with Chris Baer and the school’s art department. The colorful 2013 winning design by Isaiah Rain Maynard depicts the Ag Hall topped by a variety of artists’ tools. According to Ms. Knight, usually 30 to 50 posters are submitted and cash prizes awarded for first ($250), second ($150), third ($75), and honorable mention ($50). This year’s contest was underwritten by the Martha’s Vineyard Center for the Visual Arts.

Founded in 1978, Family Planning of Martha’s Vineyard provides affordable and confidential reproductive health and family planning services, including screening for anemia, high blood pressure, and diabetes; gynecological exams; counseling and education; pregnancy, sexually transmitted infection (STI) and HIV testing; and birth control. Screening for HPV and Hepatitis C testing are available. Vasectomy reimbursement up to $1,000 is offered.

Ms. Knight emphasized that Family Planning is unique on the Island in meaningful ways. It offers a sliding scale and free services for those who cannot pay. “No one is turned away,” she said.

Many services and supplies are provided at little or no cost such as free condoms and free pregnancy testing. It specializes in women’s reproductive care and STI counseling for men and women. Minors can come here to receive confidential care as well. Client appointments are as long as needed, not dictated by time constraints.

The comfortable clinic facility in Vineyard Haven on State Road is supported primarily by federal and state funds through Health Imperatives, a regional umbrella organization. According to Ms. Knight, funds raised by Friends of Family Planning through the art show and an annual appeal pay for many important budget items. These local revenues contribute to rent, pay for condoms and pregnancy testing, subsidize staff training, upgrade and purchase equipment, finance laboratory tests, and keep the clinic facility clean and well maintained. She added that along with raising funds, board members often pitch in on maintenance projects.

Friends of Family Planning Art Show and Sale, Ag Hall, West Tisbury. Gala Preview Party, Thursday, May 23, 6–8 pm, $50 at the door. Show Friday, May 24 through Sunday, May 26, 10 am–6 pm. Free. For more information call 508-696-0459 or visit