Summer art show on the move — again: Housatonic Valley Art League finds another home


Photo Gallery | 2016 Housatonic Valley Art League Art Show

GREAT BARRINGTON — The Housatonic Valley Art League's nomadic summer tour returns to Stockbridge Road with what one of the largest, most diversified juried exhibitions in its 40-year history.

The show that opened last week and runs through July 31, displays 132 paintings from 47 local artists located in space at Berkshire Home and Antiques next to Cove Bowling Lanes — the group's third location in three years.

The nonprofit group's member exhibit immediately follows from Aug. 4 to Sept.5, Labor Day.

Founded as Sheffield Art League in 1974 and renamed a decade ago, the Housatonic Valley Art League has been seeking a permanent summer home for three seasons.

Since the mid-1970s, the arts league held summer shows in Sheffield, but two years ago headed north as the increasingly popular July and August exhibitions outgrew available space in town.

In 2014, the group moved to Jennifer House Commons on Stockbridge Road, but last year found the nonprofit group yet again in search of space it could rent for two months.

The league was able to land on its feet in the gymnasium of the former Searles Middle School, then- owned by Iredale Mineral Cosmetics, giving the local artists a coveted downtown venue to take advantage of the summer tourist foot traffic. The Bridge Street building has since been sold to local lodging entrepreneur Vijay Mahida, whose development team is converting the structure into an upscale hotel.

The league's return to Stockbridge Road this year gives the organization tremendous visibility on one of the most heavily traveled roads in the summer, organizers said.

Juried show Chairman Harvey Kimmelman says those who stop in will view some of the best locally produced art work the Berkshires has to offer this summer.

"It's more diversified than in the past with more sense of style and expression," he said. "The judges said they didn't see any paintings worth rejecting — they thought the quality was on target."

That diversity is evident in the 132 pieces primarily done in watercolor, oil, acrylic or pastel. The judges were Jean Stover, of South Egremont, whose works are in various national and international art collections, and Peter Seltzer, an national and international award winning artist of still life and figures in oil and pastel.

The 132 submissions is about 30 more than usual for the 2016 juried exhibition, in part, because organizers allowed artists to enter up to three artworks, compared to the limit of two in previous years.

"We have a fair number of new people in the show, some bringing new works that are remarkable," said league member and a show organizer Hans Heuberger.

Marilyn Orner, of South Egremont, has two still life paintings dealing with tomato casting a shadow and a crystal bowl reflection.

"I'm interested in everyday moments — it's intriguing what's around us," she said.

Orner has painted for years and finds the Berkshires is loaded with creativity expressed well on canvas.

"There is an amazing amount of artists in the area and the [HVAL] show opens the public to an incredible amount of work," she said.

Contact Dick Lindsay at 413-496-6233.

If you go ...

What: Housatonic Valley Art League Juried Exhibition

When: Through July 31

Where: Berkshire Home & Antiques, 197 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington (next to The Cove Lanes)

Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday



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