Juried exhibition and sale back and supporting the arts
By Connor Dziawura
Photo by Andrea Pazols
When the San Marino League’s sixth biennial juried fine art exhibition and sale was canceled in 2020 amid the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, its artists were put on hold.
Now two years later, the organization behind the show — dubbed “Spring into Art” — is ready to get back into the swing of things, and so are the artists who have been patiently waiting for this moment.
After an invitation-only private opening night reception Friday, March 25, the public can view and purchase art from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, March 26, and Sunday, March 27, at The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens.
“This was canceled in 2020, and these artists, for the most part, hung on to their art for us for two years so they could be at The Huntington in 2022,” says Jeanne Adams, art acquisition chair.
“It’s very disappointing to a lot of people who have worked very hard to have it be a no-go, so we’re excited that we will be on — and I don’t think anything’s going to stop it this time,” says Susan Rosvall, publicity chair.
The event will feature more than 150 juried paintings, which were selected from 700 contenders during a nationwide competition in January 2020, as well as a selectively curated list of nine featured painters and a slew of others who specialize in jewelry and 3D art, such as glass, ceramics, pottery and sculptures. Some of the artists will have multiple pieces in case of the sale of their primary artwork.
The nonprofit San Marino League — a charitable, educational, all-volunteer organization of women committed to philanthropic work in the community and members’ own fine arts knowledge — will split proceeds from each sale with the artists, then donate its half to support The Huntington’s Japanese Garden endowment and ArtCenter College of Design fine art scholarships. For purchasers, 50% of the price of the art is tax deductible.
Entry to the event will be included with admission to The Huntington all weekend, and reservations for general admission — available at tickets.huntington.org — are required. Masks will be required indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces regardless of vaccination status; more info on COVID-19 protocols is available at huntington.org.
Adams says she wanted to have a sense of variety in the show, deviating from the juried competition to also feature well-known creators who specialize in other mediums to participate. She says the focus was initially on mediums like oil and watercolor, with 3D art and jewelry added later.
The featured painters this year will be Peter Adams, Sid Bingham, Karl Dempwolf, Wayne Hunt, Brent Jensen, Joan Kahn, Michael Obermeyer, Jason Situ and Thalia Stratton.
The 3D artists are set to include Reggie Barns, Alexander Kristelis, Wrona Gall, Victor Picou, Muffy Hunt, Melinda Shea, Barry Kleinman and Joan Takayana-Ogawa.
The jewelry will be provided by Jyotsna “Joey” Chawla of Manjusha Jewels, Winifred Cole Collection, Sandra Lopez of Eco-Jé, Conchita O’Kane of Designer Sterling, Yumi Ueno of Yumi Design, Georgina Whitford of Designs by Georgina, and Wolfgang Vaatz.
“It really is focused on traditional art, but the jewelry, the ceramics, they’re more fun,” Rosvall explains. “And I think that’s important to have kind of that other side of it. It’s artisans at work, and so that kind of rounds it out.”
“It just adds another dimension to it to have the 3D as well as the jewelry,” Adams says.
The juried competition ultimately made for a tough decision, one that required Adams to sift through hundreds of artists’ websites. Submissions were scored by a panel of jurors consisting of Seth Baker of The Huntington, Stephen Nowlin of ArtCenter, and Richard Rice of Galerie Michael.
SoCal artist and ArtCenter teacher Robert Sherrill will serve as awards judge, with winners to be announced on opening night and individual cash awards to be given for Best in Show, Second Place, Third Place, Best Depiction of an Iconic Pasadena or LA Landscape, and Best New Artist.
“This is a really wonderful group of artists,” Adams says. “And believe me, I’ve gotten to know them very well — via email for the most part — over the last two and a half years. I’ve got thousands of emails. … But for the most part, they are just a wonderfully creative, giving, easy-to-work-with group of people, and it has been a pleasure to work with them. It really has.
“It has really opened up my eyes … giving me a special view into the life and problems of artists and how seriously they take their work and what they’ve been through. It has really been a difficult two years for them to be able to try to rethink how they market their art and how to survive, how to pay the rent.”
To make matters more interesting, the San Marino League invited the juried artists to a special three-day “Paint Out” at The Huntington in early February this year. A dozen or more works created during this time will be on display at the entrance to the event, Adams says.
“We’re excited just to get back out of the doldrums and back into doing what we do. It’s just beautiful over there,” Rosvall says. “I thought the ‘Paint Out’ was just spectacular. … It was just a beautiful, beautiful day to see these artists at work. And I felt like it was a good omen.”
“Spring into Art”
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, March 26,
and Sunday, March 27
WHERE: The Huntington Library, Art Museum,
and Botanical Gardens, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino
COST: Prices vary; included with general admission
to The Huntington