Gilbert Visual Art League’s artwork

HD SOUTH’s Gallery 4 walls are usually filled with Gilbert Visual Art League’s artwork at this time of year.

For its seventh annual Members Art Show, the league has chosen to display most of its work virtually, adapting to the trend out of necessity because of the pandemic. It will display just 25 pieces in Gallery 4.

Donna Finter, GVAL member artist and publicist, said the precaution is due to Covid concerns for the members hanging the art. 

“Only about three or four people can be in the room at a time hanging the works. We are also decreasing the time to be hanging the art,” she said. 

Covid has also robbed the group of an opening reception in Downton Gilbert’s sole arts and history venue, usually well-attended by members and their families.

“However, the representative pieces and a sign will advertise the full online show,” Finter said. “We are being safety conscious and flexible due the pandemic.” 

The league is also displaying its work online via Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix. 

For the Gilbert show, 24 artists submitted 95 pieces of art, with mediums from photography to mixed media to oil paintings. They are on display through Dec. 3 and some pieces are for sale.

The gallery show will be available to museum visitors a few at a time but the online show will be available 24 hours. Those with paid admission to HD South, may see the display at no charge. 

This year, as in previous years, the work adheres to high standards of professional art, said Kayla Kolar, CEO of HD South.

“GVAL’s work is superior and many of their artists are award-winning. They are a group of very talented individuals who come together to share their art, teach new techniques, and celebrate community,” Kolar said.

HD SOUTH has partnered with the league for many years. In addition to the two shows each year, the group holds its monthly meetings in the Neely Community Room and also presents art classes through the year.

 Artists sell their works from the show and a percentage of the sale price goes to support the nonprofit HD South. 

“They have been part of our extended family for years, and have greatly enhanced the arts in our community,” Kolar added.  

Quarantined in their homes for much of the year, league members have been working behind the scenes. 

It even held its first online member meeting and artist presentation by artist Jane Bradley, which was attended by 25 members. 

The intricacies of Zoom technology may have prevented a larger attending.

The league’s latest newsletter, the Art Vine, is 11-pages long, and filled with its accomplishments. 

“We’ve taught free classes to the community, partnered with Herberger Theater Center to have a GVAL online show, held Zoom meetings, and more,” Finter said. “We’ve even amazed ourselves with all we’ve accomplished.” 

Art Vine is sent to anyone who registers with an email address.

Due to the extraordinary use of online resources, Finter said that the group needs funding to create a more sophisticated website with better features and bandwidth to continue the online shows and activities.

“Online may be a permanent need and is certainly one of the best ways to share our work and educational art training with more people,” she said.

 “We also are in need of funds in order to boost our social media posts to make more people aware of opportunities in GVAL and to show the tremendous talent of our members.”

Despite the moves online, art is best enjoyed face-to-face and there are several benefits to it.

 For new artists, it is an experience to understand how to choose the right frame and properly prepare the piece for professional hanging in a gallery setting. 

“The member show is an opportunity for people to see the art live, enjoying the textures and true colors in the works,” Finter said. “Stepping into a gallery of beautiful pieces uplifts the soul.”

GVAL also is participating in a virtual art exhibit titled “Forward With Joy” until Nov. 30, curated by Sue Eddy. 

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