The Galveston Art League invites anyone who likes visual art to attend the grand expansion of its downtown Galveston gallery from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Friday, March 15. The party will begin with a Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony.
About a year ago, the Art League purchased the gallery space at 2119A Postoffice St., which is next door to its original site at 2117A. During months of construction, workers opened a passageway between the two addresses; improved the electrical, cooling, heating, and lighting systems; laid flood-proof flooring; and painted. Finally the dust has settled (and been swept up!) so that the Galveston Art League can show off the new gallery.
The nonprofit organization’s volunteer army has decorated the twin galleries with dozens of pieces of artwork by local artists for the debut. Guests will enjoy refreshments and self-guided tours of the two spaces that exhibit and sell paintings, jewelry, and 3-D pieces such as sculpture, pottery, and dolls. The expanded gallery also has a retail area selling T-shirts, books, and other items relating to Galveston’s rich art history.
The expansion is a big step for the Galveston Art League, which was founded in 1914 to promote visual arts and art education in the region. For more than a century, the league has held low-cost workshops, children’s classes, membership shows, and juried competitions (open to nonmembers and members) while promoting the work of local artists.
Two other milestones in the organization’s history are the leasing of the 2117A Postoffice gallery in April 2004 and the purchase of the site in 2008. Five months later, Hurricane Ike inundated the gallery with 8 feet of water, a total loss that prompted rebuilding the next year.
In 2014, its 100th anniversary, the Art League held its first fundraiser gala, an evening of fine dining plus live and silent auctions of artwork, entertainment items, and more; live music playing in the background; and conversations with artists and civic leaders. The fall gala has been held annually ever since.
The organization ― staffed 100 percent by volunteers ― depends on support largely from the annual gala, contributions, and membership fees. Memberships, starting at $10 for students and $35 for individuals (details: click on the Join tab at www.GalvestonArtLeague.com), provide a variety of benefits. For example, members are the first to receive emails announcing the league’s low-cost workshops, and they’re invited to monthly preview parties of new exhibits. Professional-level members can participate in the gallery’s Featured Artist program, with a large display of their artworks offered for sale.
Members who volunteer with the league for six or more hours every two months are entitled to half off their fees for the league’s nine member shows per year. All members receive discounted entry fees for the league’s juried competitions.