May 17--The Portsmouth Public Library has been meeting, planning and putting into action plenty of events that are creating artistic opportunities for the community. Their endeavors began last year, when they started the ART (Appalachian Regional Talent) Gallery behind the service desk in the library. Since then, they've been switching out the exhibition monthly to a different medium of artwork. To expand on their offerings, they decided to have an annual event on the lawn of the library, where they invited artists to rent a table and sale their merchandise.
This idea spawned the inaugural, of what they hope to be annual Art on the Lawn. Samantha Hall, library associate and director of ART, was very excited to offer a new outlet for artists, especially those with art forms that cannot be hung, since they only typically except framed and hung pieces for their monthly exhibition.
The library has also hosted a puppet show for the kids to enjoy while parents check out the art tables and had food available.
"We had a great diversity of art available," Hall said. "We had jewelry, crochÊ, etched glass, painted rocks, oil paintings, pastel paintings, stuffed animals and so much more. I'm really hoping we see a lot of people return, that way we have an even better turnout then."
Caity Strange was one of the artists at the sale, where she presented a line of her new jewelry she calls Strange Bootique. What started off as a personal hobby in creating her own jewelry, Strange was asked to create projects for friends and then friends of those friends and she has now opened her own business, where she creates these unique jewelry pieces. Strange uses animal bones and other artifacts to create jewelry. She also deals in postmortem and antique photographs, magick supplies, cruelty-free taxidermy and craft supplies. Her shop can be found online at www.etsy.com/shop/strangebootique.
"I think it is a really great opportunity for artists to showcase their work. Nick, my boyfriend, brought his paintings along with him today, too and is getting the opportunity to show those," she said.
Nick Baxter showcased some of his sketches and paintings on Strange's table, which are similarly in the gothic genre. A lot of Baxter's work involves organic materials such as bones in the context of his images. Baxter also said he enjoyed the event and was happy to have a venue to display his creativity.
"It is going pretty well," Strange said. "It is obviously a small market, but I'd say it is going pretty well for what it is."
Hall said that she feels that ART is still in the early stages, but has been rapidly growing at a positive rate. More information on ART can be found by visiting www.yourppl.org or by calling 740-354-5688 and asking for Samantha Hall at the reference desk.
"I feel like the event went wonderfully," Hall said. "The day turned out to be pretty and people really enjoyed it. We had people driving by and had to stop when they saw everyone gathered on the lawn. So, we not only had the library patrons coming along, but we also had people who had heard about it in the paper or by seeing it here."
The June art gallery will be centered on the medium of photography and pieces are to be submitted by May 24, to allow time for judging.
Joseph Pratt can be contacted at the Portsmouth Daily Times 740-353-3101, EXT 287, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.
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