Arts Benicia’s annual Exhibit, Art of a Community, opens January 26, and is a heartful way to begin the new year, as well as a unique opportunity for members to showcase their varied and diverse talents. Any member can submit one piece to the show for a small fee. Arts Benicia Development Associate, Jean Purnell, says, “You can become a new member and immediately qualify to enter. There is no jurroring.” This is the biggest show of the year, she says.


Last year, there were over 200 pieces, but this year it may be bigger, since membership has grown to over 550 people. The show will feature pieces in all different types of artistic media. Jean’s favorite part about the exhibit is the reception, The Heart of a Community. “It’s the biggest number of people that come into the gallery. It’s such a fun party and way to get all the members together. This show brings back long-term members who always submit but may not submit to other shows.” The reception will take place January 26, 6-8pm.


There are two other events associated with this exhibit. Family Art Day, which happens about six times each year, will take place February 3 from 1-3pm. Family Art Days are free, drop-in events for the whole family, including children and teens of all ages. Jean says, “It begins with a visit to the gallery. The whole event is planned by volunteer docents who have a series of questions that enable young children to find the art accessible—to see into each artwork a little more deeply. They provide education on how to view art, especially for people who don’t regularly view art.”

Courtesy of the artist

Oedipus, David Fitzgerald

After the gallery tour, folks head to the classroom to make their art, which they get to take home. Sometimes there are group activities, and everything is meant to link the people to the exhibit and cultivate that connection in what they create. Supplies vary based on the show, but may include paint, collage items, and wood and plastic scraps. And, Jean says, “the larger the group, the more fun it is!”


The final aspect of Art of a Community gets Benicia poets involved. After the First Tuesday poetry group (which meets monthly at the library and is open to all) visits the exhibit for inspiration, they write poems about the art. Poems will be read, with dramatic flare, the last day of the show, February 24, from 2-4pm.


For exhibit times or general information, visit

For information about Arts Benicia membership, visit


The Art of a Community

January 26 – February 24, 2019

Arts Benicia

991 Tyler Street #114, Benicia


Gallery Hours: Wednesday – Sunday, 12-5pm