In Oxford: Library Installs Art Gallery

Cultural Arts Commission Treasurer Jennifer East (left) and Chair JoAnna Elizabeth Lucas in front of the Oxford Public Library’s art hanging space permanent display. The hanging system, which features eight walls, was installed on Monday, July 15. The Cultural Arts Commission will jury shows, with its first being a themed show promoting and preserving culture and the arts, from Saturday, August 31, to Sunday, September 8, at the library, 49 Great Oak Rd. There will be an opening reception at the library. (Pendergast photo)

OXFORD — The Oxford Public Library will now house more art than just literature, as a new gallery hanging system will allow visual artists to display media in the library’s adult section. The art hanging space was funded by the town’s Cultural Arts Commission and installed on Monday, July 15.

Commission chair JoAnna Elizabeth Lucas and commission treasurer Jennifer East spoke with Voices on Wednesday, July 17, about the new hanging space and their plans for the gallery.

“We’re very excited to have this gallery come to fruition,” Ms. East said. “This has been something we’ve been working on for a year and a half now.”

“We’re really excited for this new chapter in our town and our commission,” Ms. Lucas added.

Ms. East said the commission was looking forward to continuing to work with the library staff as well.

“Since the library is brand new, our walls are empty so we’re very excited to have art hang there,” Library Director Robbie Costigan told Voices on Thursday, July 18. 

“It’s going to be really great. We’re looking forward to working with the Cultural Arts Commission.”

The Oxford Library’s Gallery, unlike other libraries, is integrated in the adult section of the library, so most of the walls in the adult section now double as an art hanging space.

Ms. East said she thought that the gallery’s integration was a strength, as it makes the art more visible to patrons who visit the library.

“I think it’s a very proper fit for it,” she said.

The hanging system provides eight walls for artists to display art and one wall in the Oxford Room, which will be a permanent display maintained by Ms. Costigan.

“We’re probably going to do monthly or bimonthly exhibits,” Ms. Lucas said.

Ms. East said the plan is for the commission to jury shows, bring artists to the library and, with library approval, show local, state and regional artists.

Ms. Lucas noted the commission will require a fee for most shows, but the money collected would go to nonprofit groups.

Artists will also be able to sell pieces at the gallery.

Ms. Lucas added the commission has ideas to include not just exhibits by single artists, but by groups of artists, students and others.

“Our main goal is to work on and build up the relationship between the community and the commission,” Ms. Lucas said.

The commission has an inaugural show slated from Saturday, August 31, to Sunday, September 8, featuring local artists with the theme promoting and preserving culture and the arts.

“That first event will be a nice variety of artists to really introduce the gallery as a community project,” Ms. East said. “Our hope is to get a lot of community members into the gallery.”

Ms. Lucas said, “for this first show, we’re going to accept all different types of media.”

The Cultural Arts Commission is seeking artists to submit any media painting, digital art, photography and fabric arts that are already framed and hang ready wired.

Art cannot exceed 24 by 26 inches or weigh more than 40 pounds.

“We just are unable to accept sculpture,” Ms. East added.

The commission requests all art submitted not contain lewd images, as the library is frequented by children.

Artists may submit a total of two pieces with a $10 donation. All funds will be donated to the Friends of the Oxford Library.

Art can be listed for sale, with 20 percent of the sales going to the Cultural Arts Commission.

Submission deadline is Saturday, August 24.

Those seeking additional information or artists seeking to have their work displayed may email Ms. Lucas at oxfordculturalarts@gmail.com or visit www.oxfordculturalarts.org.

The Cultural Arts Commission is also seeking new members and public input.

Those seeking additional information may visit the commission when it meets from 7 to 9 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month at Town Hall, 486 Oxford Rd.

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