The strength of Arts Benicia, a non-profit regional art center, has always been its community, its long-time members, its generations of artist-teachers mentoring the next generation, its volunteer origins and spirit, and the amazing artistic talent of its artist members.
It comes as no surprise, then, that the largest and most popular exhibition produced annually by Arts Benicia is the Art of a Community. The members-only exhibition is usually on display in January and February of each year, opening with a public reception at which over 300 persons fill the center’s spacious 2400-square foot gallery in the historical Arsenal on Tyler Street. The reception is a time for friends to reconnect with friends, and artists to meet other artists, many lingering long after the published end time for the reception.
But not this year, due to COVID19-related restrictions on public events. Nonetheless, Arts Benicia has produced the popular exhibition as an online-only event, with 130 artists participating. The exhibition opened on February 6 and runs until April 11 on the Arts Benicia website, where it can be viewed at https://artsbenicia.org/art-of-a-community-2021-exhibition/. Each artwork has been offered for sale by the artist, with sales benefitting both the artist and Arts Benicia. Exhibiting a work in the show is one of the benefits of membership in Arts Benicia. A wide variety of mediums are on display, including acrylic, oil, and watercolor paintings, sculpture and ceramics, photography, textile art, mixed media, digital art, prints and collages. Participating artists represent the wealth of talent in our local region, with artists from Benicia, Vallejo, Walnut Creek, Lafayette, San Francisco, Concord, Fairfield, Napa, Berkeley and other cities.
An Ekphrastic Poetry Reading – poetry inspired by works of art – was held virtually on March 14, via Zoom instead of in the gallery. The poetry reading, which has been a traditional part of the annual exhibition, involved over 30 poets who contributed their original poetry inspired by works from Art of a Community. The event was a collaboration between Arts Benicia, the Benicia Public Library, the First Tuesday poets, and Benicia poet laureate, Mary Susan Gast. The poetry has been published on the Arts Benicia website, at the exhibition site (see url above).
The work of regional artists will again be on display this month as part of Arts Benicia’s spring online auction fundraiser, Ready, Set, Spring!
The auction will open on April 24 (visit https://artsbenicia.org/ready-set-spring/) and run through May 15. Art lovers and those just beginning to think about collecting art are invited to attend a fun “Happy Hour” Zoom-hosted program, The Joy of Collecting, with artist Lordy Rodriguez as guest presenter. The program, which takes place in advance of the auction, is on Thursday, April 8, 5:00 – 5:45 pm. So, grab a glass of wine and join in to learn more about selecting and collecting art. Event details will be available on the Arts Benicia website. Arts Benicia’s exhibitions and programs are free and open to the public.