This year’s All-Island Art show was a grand success. Visitors, both year-round residents and out-of -owners, flocked to see the Vineyard artists’ best works. Seventy-two artists registered for the show, and each was allowed to hang five pieces, which made for a multifaceted array of colors circling the perimeter of the Tabernacle. There were 11 prize categories: acrylic, collage, drawing and graphics, mixed media, oil, pastel, photography (landscapes), photography (people), photography (all other), sculpture, and watercolor.
best in show (Dorothy McLaughlin Petell) was chosen from among the first-place winners, and most popular (Heather Capece) was chosen by viewers.
Touring with clipboard in hand was Ray Ewing, one of the exhibition judges who was reviewing the art that had been awarded first-place ribbons to arrive at his choice for best of show. Ewing, who is an educator and photographer himself, reported that he had “seen a lot of great photography. I’m encouraged by new, unusual work by younger participants taking risks, such as more studio-based work in portraiture, or someone doing the photo manipulation with pets. Maybe it’s not what you expect, but I like to see a vibrant and diverse art community here. Of course, we’re going to see the beautiful Martha’s Vineyard scenes and landscapes as well.”
Elizabeth Luce was, in fact, the artist to whom Ewing referred regarding the pets. She Photoshops in additional whimsical images or manipulates the original picture to transform it into a “photo-painting.” Luce enjoys pushing the limits of the art, and many visitors stopped to discern exactly what was going on in each of her pieces.
Artist Kathy Poehler shared with visitors how she created her delicate seaweed collages, collecting the algae that dries in all different colors, shades, and translucencies. Poehler begins by observing the seaweed in its natural state and, even though she may have a vision for a piece, “I ultimately listen to the seaweed. My work ranges from abstract to more pictorial, depending on the specifics of the seaweed I am working with.”
Young Ira Getway and his mother Elaine Cummings were touring the exhibition as well. This was their first time at the show; they happened upon the art show while taking in the sights at the Campground. “It’s great! I love the paintings that are of the Island. They’re really good,” Ira said.
Two friends, Leslie Kidwell and Louise Swartz, were enjoying themselves as they perused the varied displays. “It was much more than I expected. There are many more works than I thought would have been shown, and I particularly like how it’s broken up by media. It’s very impressive,” said Kidwell, a first-time visitor to the art show.
“I always come,” Swartz said. “I just love to see what other artists are doing. I paint myself, and so I’m here for inspiration. Something from every group has inspired me.”
Isabel Engley and her friend Ann Chase started the annual art show decades ago. “We were making crafty things, and one day I said, ‘Let’s have an art show,’ because different people were coming in and showing us paintings.’ The first year we advertised and got 10 artists, and about 200 people came to it. The following years it grew and grew until it was moved to the Tabernacle about 50 years ago,” she said.
Now in its 60th year, the All-Island Art Show is still a thriving tradition.