The Artists Workshop is turning 60 years this month,
and we are celebrating in a big way!
We are mounting a juried and judged member's exhibit at our studios on Barracuda Blvd, starting with artwork drop off this Monday, Feb 26, 9am-1pm. Awards will be announced during the Awards Luncheon on Friday, March 2 at the Sugar Mill Country Club. Our opening reception and gala will commence on
Saturday, March 2. The festivities start at 5 and will go til 8pm. Please come out and enjoy the munchies, entertainment, view the award-winning pieces and attend the dedication of the "Marilynne Roland Studio and Gallery" during that time. Invite your friends, family and neighbors - the event is free and open to the public! And - it's in the theme of the Roaring 20s, so if you have some flapper-style dresses or a dapper tuxedo, this is your chance to wear it!
The exhibit will be open Mon-Fri 9:30 til 4pm til March 22, so please come by and view the artwork again, or invite your friends who can't make it to the big gala.
Thanks to Mary PH and Joanne Reilly for giving me the following info about the exciting history of our wonderful organization!
In February of 1957, fifteen creative souls responded to a notice in the local paper inviting anyone interested in forming an art group to come together for lunch at a local Italian restaurant. Before the meal was over, the idea of establishing a local art league had grown from just a hope to a full-fledged commitment to really make it happen. Together they formed New Smyrna’s first chartered art group in March 1958.
Realizing the first priority was finding a place to meet, this enterprising little group approached the City Fathers and urged them to find available space. An upstairs room at 126 Canal Street, above the Parks and Recreation Department, was offered and readily accepted. The space was voluntarily renovated by the group in exchange for its use, and the Artists’ Workshop had its first home.
Three months after forming, the group had grown to 51 members who decided to put on their first show and public exhibit. The Bank of New Smyrna permitted their walls to become the gallery to hang 43 oils and sketches. The public was invited and 300 guests showed up! The first-ever art show in New Smyrna Beach had been received with great enthusiasm, and the Annual Membership Exhibition has continued to this day.
By 1978, with over 200 members and growing, the group had outgrown the Parks & Recreation room and again approached the City Council to request the large room above the Chamber of Commerce at 115 Canal Street. The Artists’ Workshop agreed to clean and maintain the room as well as pay their fair share of monthly utilities. In 1980, the Gallery downstairs adjacent to the offices of the Chamber, was opened and exists in the same space today. The Memorial Library of the Artists’ Workshop was founded in a small room adjacent to the upstairs space.
In 2008, the Artists’ Workshop and the Marine Discovery Center pursued with the Wildlife Foundation of Florida (WFF) and the City of New Smyrna Beach, an ECHO Grant to renovate the old New Smyrna Beach High School Administration building on the land now owned by the State of Florida off the North Causeway on Barracuda Blvd. The Grant provided matching funds for the renovation. Occupying today some 4000 square feet of this building, the Artists’ Workshop has grown to over 300 members and has enjoyed a three-fold growth in the number of classes offered and other programs.
We have made it another 10 years to 60 by the work of our volunteers, and are looking forward to making it to 100!
Look for another article coming next week about Marilynne Roland, whose studio and gallery will be dedicated during the gala!
See you all next week! Ruth
The AWI Blog is written by Ruth Squitieri, Publicity Chair, AWI. You may contact Ruth with comments, questions or suggestions at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise, feel free to comment to each individual blog post directly.