Arts Benicia’s 16th annual exhibition gives platform to local artists
By Bethany A. Monk
Talk about eye candy.
Arts Benicia is showcasing the work of 176 artists from Benicia and surrounding areas in its 16th annual Art of a Community exhibition, which runs through Feb. 28 at the historic Benicia Arsenal. Areception, “Heart of a Community,” will be held Saturday to honor the artists featured in the exhibition.
“Most of the artists who can, will attend the reception,” said Laura Buchan, Arts Benicia program coordinator.
This, she said, will give visitors the chance to meet the artists and talk with them about their work.
Buchan said Art of a Community is one of the city’s most celebrated exhibits.
“It’s a way to celebrate the artistic community,” Buchan said. “It’s a real joy for everyone to be able to come together.”
Benicia artist Gregg Valley, featured in The Herald’s Friday “Artist in Residence” feature (see beniciaherald.wordpress.com), is thrilled about participating in his first Art of a Community exhibition.
“The piece I chose is bold, fun, and colorful, and is one of my newer pieces that have the 3D elements. I wanted to choose a piece that would be impactful as well as show what I am up to with my work,” Valley said.
It’s a great show, he said. “There is a very diverse group of artists and styles, which makes the show a lot of fun to see.”
Lee Michael Altman, who has lived and painted in Benicia for more than 15 years with his wife, artist Linda Gradmire, has long participated in Art of a Community.
This year he is showing a painting from his “White Circle Series,” exploring wholeness and self-discovery.
“It has a personal meaning for me,” Altman said of the series. “The process of layering color and texture reveals the title of the series.”
His wife is showing two of her paintings as well, he said.
Altman has seen the show and said it represents a variety of talented artists, some of whom are new to Arts Benicia.
“It’s inclusive of so many styles and sensibilities,” Altman said.
Benicia artist Nikki Basch-Davis, who has participated in several Art of a Community exhibitions, enjoys taking in the eclectic works.
This year, she’ll be participating as a visitor. She’s looking forward to taking in all the creativity, the palette of styles.
“It’s beautiful,” Basch-Davis said. “You get to see so many types of expressions, so many different personalities.”
Local artists agree that Benicia offers a unique community for the arts.
“I am personally proud to live in a town that is known as an artist’s community,” Sandra Summerfield Kozak said. This is her first time participating in the Art of a Community.
“Art affects our community in the most positive ways; it brings spirit, energy, balance, and revenue to our people and town,” she said.
Valley thinks so, too.
“I think Benicia has a wonderful art community. It is really great to be a part of it,” he said.