Martha’s Vineyard Art Association goes up-Island with juried exhibit at Chilmark library

"Shacks" by June Schoppe — June Schoppe

Updated August 7, 2017:

Martha’s Vineyard Art Association (MVAA) is making the leap from down-Island to up-Island with its show at the Chilmark library. “MVAA and Chilmark: Sustaining Heritage and Beauty” is a tribute to the town’s cultural and environmental heritage, with a focus on scenes of the ever-eroding beaches. The opening will be on Saturday, August 5, at the Chilmark library, 522 South Rd., from 2:30 to 4:30 pm.

MVAA, based at Old Sculpin Gallery in Edgartown, is the oldest art association on Martha’s Vineyard, established in 1954. “Being a founding art entity on the Island, it seems only natural that we spread ourselves across the Island. We’ve had some great competition; there are some phenomenal galleries on the Island,” said June Schoppe, co-chair of MVAA. “One of the problems that we face is that we are a seasonal organization, but we’re changing some of our structure so that we will be able to maintain a level of fluidity in the winter, and hopefully we will get to the point where our artists will sell off of their own websites through connectivity to our own website, which would be great.”

“Reflections” by June Schoppe.

This show is another instance where the association is kicking it up a notch. Beyond being more easily accessible to an up-Island audience, the show will be juried by local artist Marjorie Mason. For non-art enthusiasts, a juried show is when there is a deciding panel or body (as in the jury) who decide which pieces make it into the show. Ms. Mason will also be awarding best in show, first, second, and third place. The awards will be announced at the opening.

MVAA doesn’t normally do juried shows; however, there is a juried process for admittance into the association. This added level of competition for this show is a push for the artists to produce their finest work. “What’s so cool about the art association is that it benefits the artists to be associated with each other, to see each other’s work, to learn from that, and within that, you can see where people go in another direction and think what you can do to make your art better,” said co-chair Janis Langley. “You also think, What do people here want to see?. What is it that sells and doesn’t? You don’t always want to paint what’s going to sell, but it is feedback to you about what people like and don’t like.”

Doing a show in Chilmark allows for the artists in the association to get feedback from a slightly different audience.

“It’s true, it’s that age-old conflict,” said Ms. Schoppe. “Is it art for art’s sake, or are you painting art for a market? If you have that conflict in yourself as an artist, you think, ‘I want to paint that scene. It hits me.’ There’s always those opportunities, but you can collect them or you can paint something that you know everyone’s going to buy. You have an inner conflict of what you need to paint and what you think you can sell.”

On Thursday, August 17, there will be “A Chilmark Conversation,” an informal discussion at

the library where artists will talk about the MVAA and their work and process.

“Our purpose of doing this show is to connect the dots and connect our gallery with the rest of the Island art community, and to take it up-Island,” said Ms. Schoppe. “It’s sometimes true that artists who show down-Island don’t have the benefit of up-Island audiences. It goes both ways, but this seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up, to be able to have a show hang in Chilmark and reach a whole new audience, and hopefully spark their interest.”

Results of the show are as follows:

Best in show—Debra Gaines “Menemsha Texaco”

First Place—Pat Mead “Allen Farm Sheep & Wool Co.”

Second Place—June Schoppe “Shacks”

Third Place—Janis Langley “Menemsha Allure”

The exhibit opening will be from 2:30 to 4:30 pm at the Chilmark Free Public Library on August 5. “A Chilmark Conversation” will be at the library on August 17 at 7 pm.

Updated to include the results of the show.