A New Galaxy in the Vineyard Art Universe


“Pinkletink,” by Renee Balther

Returning with a new name, a few new faces, and an additional way of displaying work by member artists, the Martha’s Vineyard Center for the Visual Arts’ (MVCVA) cooperative gallery reopened for its fourth year in Oak Bluffs Arts District in June. Formerly The Art Gallery, the space tucked back from the street on Dukes County Avenue now goes by the less generic, nicely alliterative name of the Galaxy Gallery. “We like to call it a gallery of stellar artists,” says MVCVA president and gallery director Holly Alaimo, on the choice of the new name.

Although the roster has changed from year to year, the gallery’s mission to serve as a resource for local artists to show their work and to promote themselves, has remained since its launch in 2016. The nonprofit MVCVA provides the space, while the artists split the cost of advertising and take shifts manning the gallery. For those who want to avoid enclosed spaces, this year the gallery has installed a large digital screen in the front window to showcase a rotating display of available work.

All but one of the current nine members of the cooperative have been involved since the first year. These include painters Renee Balter, Marston Clough, Lowely Finnerty and Liz Taft, woodcut artist Ruth Kirchmeier, mixed media artist Genevieve Jacobs, jeweler Joan LeLacheur and botanical collage artist Peggy Turner Zablotny.

“Catching the Wind,” by Genevieve Jacobs

The newcomer, Janet Messineo, is hardly an unknown among locals, although she is most widely recognized as a fisherwoman and taxidermist. A couple of years ago Messineo started turning her talent for recreating nature realistically in the form of stuffed, mounted fish, to reimagining sea creatures creatively as works of art. Along with colorful mounted and hanging “whimsy fish,” as she calls them, Messineo is also showing fancifully painted horseshoe crabs.

Renee Balter captures the flavor of Oak Bluffs with her colorful folk art depictions of some of the landmarks and homes that make the town unique. This year Balter is also offering a line of bags featuring her images.

Marston Clough creates memorable scenes of the Island in his characteristic impressionistic style. He will be featuring both large and smaller works in a variety of attractive price points.

Genevieve Jacobs is showing work in two different styles. She is offering her popular original bird paintings as well as prints of some of her unique collages featuring images of animals, birds and people made up of sections of maps.

Plein air painter Liz Taft has a way of capturing the softness and calm appeal of the Vineyard landscape with very limited brushstrokes and an expert use of color.

Lowely Finnerty uses pastels very effectively to create mood in her evocative Island landscapes and seascapes.

Working with dried flowers and other vegetation to create intricate patterns, Peggy Turner Zablotny then photographs the designs to create larger than life floral mosaics. She is offering both prints and cards with her unique designs.

“Zinnias,” by Ruth Kirchmeier

Ruth Kirchmeier uses hand carved woodblocks to create multi-application prints of various scenes featuring bold lines and striking colors.

Well known on Island for her unique wampum jewelry and mosaic tiles, Joan LeLacheur creates the perfect combination of Island materials and craftsmanship.

Messineo’s book Casting Into the Light: Tales of a Fishing Life is on sale at the gallery, as are books by humorist and poet Arnie Reisman.

The MVCVA was founded in 1991 as a non-profit, non-competitive, unifying organization for Island artists. Previously the organization owned and operated a gallery in the old Oak Bluffs firehouse building, which now houses the Alison Shaw Gallery. The Galaxy Gallery is dedicated to the MVCVA’s founding goals: to provide a space for visual artists to display and sell their work, to interact with other artists and to reach out to the community to enrich their understanding of and love for the arts.

The Galaxy Gallery, located at 99 Dukes County Ave., Oak Bluffs, is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11am to 4pm. To schedule a private viewing any day, call Holly Alaimo at 508-693-5444.

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