Saturday, January 24, 2015

Abstractions by Zol

The side gallery at the Boatworks currently features an exhibition of abstract painting by Zolbayar Uguumursaikhan, who is kind enough to let us call him Zol.  The opening reception was held tonight and drew a pretty good crowd, many of whom wanted to know about the work.  The artist is originally from St Petersburg, with stops in Moscow and Mongolia on his way to this country, where he arrived at age 13.

Zol uses his work to explore his interest in the process of creation, seeing a link between what he does as a visual artist and the earth's never ending cycle of life.

The use of the natural materials, minerals, and elements of the earth makes him both part of a tradition that has followed humanity from ancient cave art to the painting of the Renaissance to today, and also part of billions of years of geology and biology.  The full version of his artist statement is currently posted on the main website for those who want to know more.

Providing entertainment for the reception was BelmarArts favorite Thomas Wesley Stern, whose music has nothing specifically to do with Zol's artistic philosophy, but was equally enjoyed by the crowd.  In typical fashion, the crowd gradually drifted away from the art in the front and side galleries gather around the food and music.

The Abstractions by Zol exhibition remains on display during regular gallery hours through February 6, 2015.

No Sew Fleece Blankets from Fiber Fridays

Yesterday the Boatworks hosted the latest meeting my the Fiber Fridays shared interest group.  Attendance was light, but those present made quick work of the fleece provided by Blankie Depot to create eleven no-sew blankets.  All handmade blankets and comfort items donated to Blankie Depot go directly to children in crisis through hospitals, first aid squads, and other service centers.

Greg Insetto, the organization's new executive director, was there to introduce himself and the mission. He recently taught himself to crochet, so expect to see the results during "show and tell" at a future group meeting.

BelmarArts will be a drop off location for any donations of handmade blankets or other items for Blankie Depot.  Check the organization's web site to learn more and what they are looking for.

The next Fiber Fridays group meeting will be on Friday, March 27th, where they will be "hand knitting" scarves from t-shirts.

photos and story courtesy of Rebecca Szabo

Saturday, January 17, 2015

You Are What You Eat opens in Belmar

2015 is here and the Belmar Arts Council is back open for business.  As in recent years, we started the new year with a member salon exhibition.  All current members could pay the fee and place one or two pieces in the show, which has the title and theme "You Are What You Eat."  We had 23 member artists decide to participate, providing 31 food themed artworks that fill our front gallery.  As usual, there is incredible diversity in the represented mediums- painting, collage, photography, mixed media, fibers, pastels, ink drawing, printmaking, and found objects/trash.

Because this is a Salon style show, as part of the opening reception each artist was invited to speak for a few minutes about their piece- the story behind it, process, etc.  They could also take questions if any came their way.

Art about food is fairly common- it's part of our daily lives- but many of the artists were able to discuss personal and cultural connections to the subjects of their pieces.  If nothing else, food subjects can provide means to explore color, shape, texture, pattern, and other formal artistic issues, plus maybe provide a snack when you're done.

We are estimating that we had a little over 100 people in attendance, which is more than we would typically expect for a winter show with 23 artists, but part of this show was that the participants were asked to bring food related to that depicted in their artworks.  Spam, Mac & Cheese, and Tomato Soup can be seen in both the art above, and the food table below.   Put out free food and people will show up.

Meanwhile, the back room is displaying favorite works from some long time members, part of a nice atmosphere enjoyed by many after the Salon portion of the evening was over.

The You Are What You Eat exhibition will remain on display through February 27, 2015.  Regular gallery hours are Wednesday to Saturday, 1 to 5 pm, and admission is free.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Lego Workshop

This morning the Boatworks hosted a new art class for the first time- building with Lego.

Instructor Maureen Ennis brought an interesting assortment of Lego pieces, and building experience, to this initial workshop of what is expected to be an ongoing series.

Instructions were provided to show how to build some holiday themed items- tree ornaments, poinsettias, even a mini-Santa Claus.  Sculptures were made from a mix of standard pieces and some specialty pieces that are available if you look in the right places.

After the participants were done making the holiday themed items, they had the option of exploring their master builder side and making unique creations of their own.

Based on the success of this class and the enthusiasm of the participants, it is expected to run again in early 2015.  Check the main website for details next month.  The plan is to be building some cheeseburgers, among other things.

additional story and photos courtesy of Rebecca Szabo

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Something New at the Boatworks

Back in May, the Belmar Arts Council announced plans to replace our front door with an electric one.  A door that opens automatically gets us closer to being fully accessible, plus it will make it easier for everyone moving big bulky items in and out, as we artists often need to do.  A fundraising campaign was started.

Today the process took a big step forward.  Workmen arrived in the early afternoon on this very chilly day and removed our legendary purple door.  Then I had to go take care of some other stuff, and when I came back it was dark, but we had a beautiful new glass door.

The transition isn't over quite yet.  It turns out that the people who make the technology for opening the door are not the same people who install doors, and we won't be seeing them here until sometime in 2015. So the next time you come to the Boatworks you will likely still need to reach for the handle.  But now we are halfway there.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Fiber Fridays for the Holidays

Yesterday was the latest gathering for Fiber Fridays.  Between the WUF show and the temperatures, there are plenty of indications right now that we into the holiday season, so the group decided to go along in that spirit and make large snowflakes out of cut and folded paper.

A large supply of embellishing materials was also made available, to be used for decorating the snowflakes, or for making holiday cards.  Some people took their snowflakes home, but others were added to the Boatworks decorations, to go along with WUF in the front room, or to be part of the holiday party coming up on December 14th.

It looks like this will be the last Fiber Friday of 2014, but look out for news of more activities next year.

photos courtesy of Rebecca Szabo

Saturday, November 15, 2014

WUF Opening Reception

Three sure signs that winter is arriving in Belmar.  One is the temperatures start dipping down close to freezing.  Another is that it's already dark when our art receptions start.  And the third is that the annual WUF show is open for business.

As usual, the annual Wearable Usable Functional show has brought a wide variety of hand made goods to the Boatworks, the creations of over 30 of our members.  We're talking about jewelry, ceramics, books, cards, ornaments, home decor, accessories, and fabric products, among other things.

Almost 60 people came to the reception. Some brought their money and have already gotten a head start on their holiday shopping.  Others enjoyed checking out the wares in the front room and the fine art (from our Silver and Gold level Art Partners) in the back room, sampling refreshments provided by the artists, and the live music of the BAC Beach Bums.

The gallery will be open special hours for this sale, 1 to 5 pm from Wednesday to Sunday through December 21st.  All purchases may be taken home immediately, so expect the artists to replenish the stock on a regular basis.

The reception officially ended at 7:00 pm, but the Boatworks remained open for another activity.  The Jersey Shore Writers held a book launch party for "Darkness Falls at the Jersey Shore."  A few dozen were in attendance to hear the involved authors read their works.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

WUF Is On The Way

Today was the intake day for the next exhibition at the Boatworks.  It's time for the annual Wearable, Usable, Functional show, or what we just like to call WUF.  Dozens of members have provided unique original artisan creations that fit one or more of the descriptive words in the show title, and all of it will be for sale.  Lots of ceramics, jewelry, clothing, plus some holiday related items, and even some pet accessories showed up today.  There will be a preview sale starting Wednesday at 1:00 pm, as things will be for sale during the gallery's regular open hours this week.  There will be an opening reception on Saturday, November 15th, from 5 to 7 pm, and special Sunday hours through the end of the show on December 21st.  Participating artists will be able to replace sold items during the run of the show, so it may be worth making more than one visit.  Plus, free gift wrapping is available.

 Meanwhile the back room has a separate show, an invitational featuring artwork from the BelmarArts Parters Silver and Gold, also running through December 21st.  Admission to both exhibitions is free.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Writer Returns to Belmar

On this beautiful Sunday afternoon in Belmar we had a book event going on at the Boatworks.  Author Mick Bennett grew up here, before going to Pennsylvania for college and establishing a life in Gettysburg, also a town that sees its share of tourists in the summer.  Times at the beach gave way to writing, but now the two have come together.  He was here in town today to promote his first published novel, "Missing You in Belmar, NJ."  The story and characters are pure fiction, but the setting is based on his experiences growing up in Belmar.  This book, set in the 1980's, is the first novel of a planned trilogy built around the central character.  Above, Mick Bennett with his book, below, the crowd enjoys hearing him read an excerpt from the opening chapter.  Those in attendance were very excited by what they heard and are looking forward to future installments.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Grass Roots Opening

Tonight the Boatworks hosted a show unlike any we've ever had before.  This exhibition consists solely of work from participants in classes, workshops, and shared interest groups offered by the Belmar Arts Council, work all from 2014.  This building is busy almost every day of the week, so it's no surprise that we ended up with over 50 pieces representing the variety of what can be found here.

Starting in the front room, visitors to this show can find

photography from both the photo interest group (above) and from the many photography workshops (below),

paintings and drawings from participants in those long running classes,

work including text from participants in the writers group,

and examples of the kinds of things covered in the embellished surfaces workshop series.

And then as visitors move into the back gallery, they will see paintings from the summer's watercolor class,

several relief prints from the woodblock printmaking class,

various products of the Fiber Fridays special interest group,

and paintings and drawings from participants in the Wednesday evening costumed figure drawing group, plus one item from the landscape painting class.

Sure, many of our art receptions include live musical performances, and we had a few people (above) providing that for us tonight, but we also had a reading (below) from a member who not only took the self publishing workshop series, but then published her book.

We had the usual big crowd at the opening, including much of the refreshments provided by members.

The Grass Roots exhibition will remain on display through November 7, 2014 during regular gallery hours, with the Bob Steeler Solo Exhibition running in the side gallery through October 10th.  Admission is free.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Going Back Under Water

It's been months since we had a mural being worked on in Belmar, and it's late in the year to start a new one, so we're doing the next best thing- working on an old one.  It's been seven years since we finished our first mural on the side of the Boatworks, so long ago we didn't have this blog going yet, though we published highlights from that process in 2008.  Considering some of the natural disasters that have happened around these parts in recent years, it has held up surprisingly well for house paint on a concrete wall.  There has been noticeable fading (it's a broad wall facing south) and it was decided to add some new paint to bring back some of the boldness of the original look.  The underwater blue was redone last week, along with some of the mysteries of what may be found below.  Today we had more people continuing work on it, repainting plants, sea creatures, and other items.  It's a big wall (about 30' by 12') and so there is a lot of work to go.  There is no advance schedule, but if you are a member and receive the weekly newsletter, there will be reminders there when the crew will be out.  About 10 people have been part of the process so far in 2014.  If you have painting skills and don't mind climbing a ladder, we could probably use your help.