Art Unlocked Exhibit Supports Crozet Artists

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“No Man is an Island,” a playful sculpture made of shellacked paper umbrellas by Laura Allen. Photo: Clover Carroll.

Still in need of a holiday gift for that person who has everything? Why not give them a unique work of art? From the colorful, whimsical paper umbrella “No Man is an Island” by Laura Allen to the delicate leaves slipped into Elizabeth Herlevsen’s “Low Serving Bowl” to the serene Blue Ridge view in “Last Stretches of Light” by Noaa Spiekerman, original artwork from local artists is on sale now through the end of the year at artunlocked.org/art as a follow-up to the recent Art Unlocked: Unlocking the Boundaries Between Artists and Community, exhibit held November 4 through 14 at the McGuffey Art Center. Two floors plus the intimate first floor gallery were adorned with an eclectic assortment of original works in a range of media, from oil to clay to comics to chapbooks. 

For this exhibit, seven arts organizations from Central Virginia came together to showcase and celebrate the creative expression of 68 independent artists, whose works were selected from a diverse community of talent. “During this year of challenge and change, Art Unlocked offered a meaningful opportunity for individuals to connect with artists that reflect today’s creative movement in Virginia,” said Sharon Tolczyk, director of Crozet Arts, which nominated the eight Western Albemarle artists who participated in the exhibit.

The subtle and serene Blue Ridge Parkway view “Last Stretches of Light” by Noaa Spiekerman is oil on cradled board 24” x 22”

The funds raised from the event will be used to support seven Central Virginia arts organizations, including Beverley Street Studio, Crozet Arts, McGuffey Art Center, Orange Art Center, Staunton Augusta Art Center, Shenandoah Valley Art Center, and The Bridge. Each organization nominated up to ten artists whose works were juried by a committee of professional artists. Crozet Arts nominated eight Crozet/Western Albemarle artists, including Laura Allen (chosen as one of 13 Ambassador Artists), Jessie Coles, Emily Hancock, Elizabeth Herlevsen, Jerry O’Dell, Nym Pedersen, Nancy Ross, and Noaa Spiekermann. 

The thought-provoking exhibit featured one representative work from each artist, including the graceful turquoise “Nancy O Tulip” vase by Nancy Ross, the handbound “Permeable Membrane” essay by Adrienne Rich letterpress printed by Emily Hancock’s St. Brigid Press and illustrated by Nancy Maxson, the vibrant rainbow colors of Nym Pederson’s “Portrait of a Young Man,” the delectable, impressionistic still life “Hubbard and Onions” by Jessie Coles, and the fabulous sea-themed pendants by Charlene Cross—a permanent member of McGuffey.

The spiral motifed “Low Serving Bowl” by Elizabeth Herlevsen is stoneware and porcelain slip 16” in diameter. Photo: Clover Carroll.

Not only were all of the pieces for sale during the exhibit, but a ticketed live auction/dinner/musical event was scheduled outside McGuffey for Saturday, November 14. “Sadly, the organizing committee made the tough decision to cancel Saturday’s main event due to national and local COVID spikes. We feel it is the responsible thing to do for our community and staff,” reported media director Austin Mill. However, all of the featured pieces may still be viewed and purchased on the website until the end of the year. The proceeds from the gallery sales and main event will be shared equally by the seven arts organizations, including Crozet Arts. It was also disappointing that COVID prevented the artists from staffing the exhibit to talk about their work.

The McGuffey Art Center, located at 201 Second St. NW in Charlottesville, is an artist-run cooperative founded in 1975 that houses 46 artists’ studios. Formerly an elementary school, the building is a work of art in itself, featuring wide corridors, huge windows, and polished hardwood floors. A place to express one’s love of art and nurture the creative spirit, it is open Wednesday through Saturday 1-5 p.m. to visit the studios and also offers classes, workshops, and exhibits.   

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