First Juried Art Show Opens at Cultural Center

Southampton Cultural Center's inaugural Juried Art Show features diverse work by 40 artists.

Around 40 artists were selected for the ’s at the Levitas Center for the Arts, and many of them turned out for the artist reception on Sunday. The exhibition continues through Oct. 24.

The art show features the top picks of around 125 submissions, said , the exhibition juror. Strassfield is the director and chief curator at in East Hampton.

Special call-outs went to four exhibiting artists. Southampton artist Sheila Isham won Best In Show. Isham will receive a solo show at the cultural center in March 2012, said Kirsten Lonnie, the executive director of the center.

Honorable Mentions went to Beryl Bernay, Fulvio Massi and Jeanette Martone. Massi’s art is part of the at the .

Artwork includes painting, sculpture, photography, drawing and mixed media works. Artists selected are from the South Fork and beyond. An exhibition list is is posted at the cultural center's website.

Southampton Cultural Center decided to hold its first open-call curated show to expand its exhibition roster of quality shows, said Don Saco, a cultural center board member and sculptor. Arlene Bujese was brought aboard a few years ago as curator-in-residence to present a series of exhibitions.

“We have a beautiful gallery and have wonderful exhibits,” Saco said. “We’re unique, as a gallery, since we’re not a commercial enterprise and it’s offered to artists to present their work. We aim for high quality in our shows. That’s been a priority, and we’re seeing artwork in a category that’s on par with recognized galleries.”

Artist interest in the first-time exhibition was strong, said Lonnie. This contributed to the range of artwork in the show. It also ensured the open-call curated show will become an annual event, she said.  

Strassfield said there was a spectrum of art to choose from. “I was surprised at the diverse submissions,” Strassfield said. “Some work was traditional with a well-thought-out quality, lyrical landscapes, photography, contemporary, abstraction … When it’s so diverse, it can be a challenge to curate.”

Strassfield agreed to curate the show as a way to connect to her community and foster art in Southampton, she said. Strassfield lives in Water Mill.

For artists, the show presented another chance to get their work in front of the public.

“I submit for every occasion,” Massi said. “I submitted to the Parrish too. The Parrish was a big surprise. I love Frank Wimberley’s work. He’s an incredible painter. I was so happy he chose me.”

Michael Ahearn wanted the chance to exhibit art in his hometown. Now in his third year at Pratt Institute and living in Brooklyn, Ahearn submitted a painting of entrance. The work is a part of a series on private club entrances as local iconic imagery in the landscape tradition, he said. The works also explore exclusion-inclusion, he said.

The Juried Art Exhibition raises funds for the Southampton Cultural Center. Artwork sales are divided evenly between artists and the cultural center, Lonnie said. Artists paid a $25 application fee to enter.


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