Annual art show benefits homeless initiatives


An annual event, happening next Wednesday and Thursday, will provide visitors with an opportunity to view a fairly comprehensive selection of work by local artists while also supporting an organization that addresses an urgent need on the Island.

“Give Me Shelter: Art Exhibit to Benefit People on Martha’s Vineyard Who Are Homeless” is a two-day art show to help support the goals of Harbor Homes of Martha’s Vineyard, a nonprofit organization that serves as the umbrella organization for all homeless prevention programming on the Island.

In its third year now, the art exhibit and fundraiser will feature a record three dozen artists — all of whom live either full-time or part-time on the Island. Among this lineup are artists with a dedicated following, such as Kara Taylor, Wendy Weldon, Leslie Baker, Ruth Kirchmeier, Alejandro Carreño, and Rez Williams, who is showing one of his signature large-scale paintings of fishing boats.

Another artist of worldwide renown, Irving Petlin, will be represented with a selection of his pastel paintings.

Along with these familiar names, a number of contemporary artists who are less familiar to Islanders will be represented.

Jennifer Joanou’s new hand-embroidered artworks on raw-edged linen, “Art Forms of Nature,” are inspired by Ernst Haeckel’s magical drawings of organic structures. Nancy Shaw Cramer exhibits new mixed-media works. “Snap 3” comprises gestural monotypes, deconstructed, rearranged, and reconstructed. “Splash 7” has glass beads sewn on paper, individually, in small units, in mounds, or threads on cable wires, mounted on mesh.

Summer visiting artist Holly Murray exhibits elements from her “Nest/Shield/Bluebirds” project — a painting and a group of individual ceramic bluebird nests. These form part of a larger project incorporating bluebirds and keystone species.

Photography will be represented by images from popular local photographer Michael Johnson, and newcomer to the Island art world Jay Gardner, who creates fascinating pieced-together images using an ink-transfer method that gives his photos a nostalgic, vintage look.

This year a wider range of affordable art is available, with small prints by Donna Straw, and Melissa Nellis Patterson, who will be debuting her “Vineyard Vintage Designs” featuring Island towns and the four seasons on the Island in classic travel-poster style. Sylvie Bags, handmade from vintage barkcloth, will also be on offer.

The annual art sale has proven an effective way for Harbor Homes to raise money for the important work they do on the Island. The primary goal of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization is to acquire properties that will function as permanent housing and to offer life skills education to individuals and families who face homelessness.

Tanya Augoustinos, who is curating the show, says, “Ultimately, there are people who grew up here, who spent their whole lives here, and can’t afford to live here anymore. We are losing year-round, long-term residents to the increase in housing costs. It’s easy to deal with something before it becomes a problem, but this is already a problem here. Things happen in people’s lives — unexpected things — and it could happen to anybody; that’s what we all have to understand and remember.”

“Give Me Shelter” benefit art show and sale will take place at the Grange Hall, 1067 State Road, West Tisbury, on Tuesday, August 1, from 12 to 7 pm, and Wednesday, August 2, from 10 am to 5 pm. There will be a reception on August 1 from 5 to 7 pm.