‘Between the Lines’

Library staff create their own art show.


We are blessed with immensely helpful staff at our Island’s various libraries. What you might not know about these dedicated helpers is the creativity among them. Olivia Larsen, programming coordinator at the West Tisbury library, along with IT and reference librarian Rachel Rooney and circulation assistant Lauraye White, struck on an idea, and sent out an invitation that read, “As librarians, we are focused on taking care of others, but we often forget to take care of ourselves. We are hoping this art show will inspire us to tune into our creative sides and bring light to our daily lives. Our prompt … is ‘Between the Lines’ … [but] is just a suggestion for inspiration. If you would like to display something that is not necessarily ‘Between the Lines,’ feel free.”

The eclectic artworks in all shapes, sizes, materials, and subject matter festoon the library walls on both floors, as well as the stairwell. There are photographs, sculptures, paintings, fabric works, and more.

West Tisbury library’s Emily Meegan’s playful photograph of a white dog perched on its hind legs looking up lovingly, possibly at its owner, who might be responding “Good dog,” which is the work’s title. Another whimsical piece is West Tisbury library’s Laura Hearn’s “Between the Lions,” in which strips of lines from “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” create evenly spaced rows over a color photograph of a male and female lion.

Rooney’s acrylic and pen on canvas, “The Perfect Fit,” is intriguing, calling for careful looking to discern both the repeated scenes of figures in an urban setting as well as what she writes at its surrounding edge. She also fashioned a fabulous bronze spray-painted lamp, appropriately titled “Deconstruction Reconstruction,” in which she separated the top and bottoms of two laptops into four pieces and then wired them together into a cubic lampshade with their inner mechanisms facing us.

Weezie Gilpen, from both the Vineyard Haven and West Tisbury libraries, gives us a little gem of a piece. She arranged small bits of sea glass and shells to create a linear composition in “Nature’s Bounty.”

Chilmark library’s Jennifer Burkin offers us an opportunity to make up a backstory for her construction “Nevertheless She Persisted,” in which she tied down a dainty white baby dress with crisscrossing lines of string tethering it to the paper-covered backing. Polly Simpkins from Vineyard Haven library offers us “Vineyard Gifts,” in which she employed acrylic, sparkles, and glitter on canvas to depict Martha’s Vineyard framed by “Laughter, Love, Memories, Beach, Home, and Family” like a keepsake of a memorable summer.

Dedie Wieler from West Tisbury library secured four descending photographs on a long vertical backing. Each nature subject has its own lines, such as those made by a spider’s web or the branches of a bare tree silhouetted against a waterscape.

Laura Coit from West Tisbury library uses pencil, pen, and ink to create amoeba-like shapes that she filled with simplified floral motifs. Coit penned sentences that frame the composition, and also follow the contours of the “Ovaries” referred to in her title.

West Tisbury library’s Beth Kramer’s “Unfinished” is an appealing pastel landscape with calligraphically drawn trees in a field, tranquil water, and gently rolling hills. Its green and blue hues evoke a sense of peacefully looking out over the scene yourself.

Lyn Neiley from both the Vineyard Haven and West Tisbury libraries knit “Beanie,” in which her rows of silvery sparkling yarn craft a small hat that sits upon a glass head model looking quite natty. Lisa Sherman from Edgartown library gives us a jewel of a photograph. Looking carefully at “The Offering,” you see that the lovely bird is not perched amid the green foliage but rather appears to be lying on the ground, perhaps the offering of the title. Also from Edgartown library is Chris Look, whose playful painting is so exact a reproduction of a barcode that it actually works, and would make the barcode reader go, as its title says, “Beep!”

So whether or not you peruse the stacks for books at the West Tisbury library, take a trip to see the plethora of creativity from our local library staff.

“Between the Lines” will be on display throughout the month of June at the West Tisbury library. For more information about this event, call 508-693-3366 or email olarsen@clamsnet.org.