■ ‘Art of a Community’ opens today; reception planned for Saturday
By Keri Luiz
Arts Benicia will celebrate its 25th year this week with one of its largest yearly exhibits, Art of a Community.
The show, which opens Thursday, features about 140 artists, Executive Director Larnie Fox said. It was arranged by gallery tech Mary Shaw.
“It’s a first time for her to take on a major responsibility for that, and it looks great!” Fox said.
Now in its 18th season, this year’s exhibit honors Bill Rhodes, an artist and volunteer who died Jan. 3. His painting, “Proposed EU Flag,” graces the show’s promotional postcard. “As was typical of Bill, he answered the call when we had a little contest to see whose image represented the idea of community best,” Fox said.
“It’s all these brightly colored shapes that he saw as Fiats, like looking down into an Italian square, seeing Fiats going every which direction. His email said, ‘If that doesn’t represent community, I don’t know what does.’”
“Proposed EU Flag” sits on the exhibit’s title wall and a small tribute will go above it, Fox said.
An event like Art of a Community serves as an “incentive for artists to become members,” Fox said. Every member is allowed to show two pieces in the show, and “that’s a big thing for them, they’re eager to show. Even though the show is pretty crowded.”
He said the variety of artists in the show ranges from those who are well known locally, like Carol Dalton and Mark Eanes, to those who have never shown their pieces publicly before.
“It gives an overview of where art is at this particular year,” Fox said. “(It is) art from our community produced recently from people of all backgrounds, levels and interests.”
It’s a busy time for Arts Benicia. Aside from Art of a Community’s opening reception and Family Art Day on Feb. 5, the gallery also will host smARTe, a “small art” event, on Feb. 9.
“SmARTe is a mixer type of thing,” Fox said, featuring a slide show and talk followed by a DJ and refreshments.
Arts Benicia’s smARTe is a smaller version of the events larger institutions like the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the de Young Museum host. And they are geared toward a particular demographic.
“These are aimed at young adults, where they come in and get some sort of art programming,” Fox said. It is designed to give an overview of interesting things going on in the Bay Area art scene.
In Fox’s words, “It’s a good event.”
If You Go
Art of a Community is showing at Arts Benicia, 991 Tyler St., Suite 144, from today to Feb. 19. The opening reception is Saturday from 7-9 p.m. Family Art Day is Feb. 5 from 1-3 p.m. Gallery hours are noon to 5 p.m., Thursday to Sunday. For more information, visit www.artsbenicia.org.