Essex Art Center annual art fair and sale raises funds for arts education
At Lawrence’s Essex Art Center this summer, art is breaking out of the usual designated galleries, taking over the walls throughout the floor. In total, more than 250 paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, jewelry and other works are exhibited – and on sale.
This abundance of art is part of the organization’s annual Salon Show + Art Sale, the largest sale of contemporary art in the Merrimack Valley, and a major fundraiser for the center, leading to the event’s tagline : “Buy art. Do good.”
The diverse artists featured in the exhibition include highly acclaimed established professionals, faculty and students at the center, as well as emerging artists as young as 11 years old. The pieces encompass a wide range of styles, subjects and mediums, including colorful abstract paintings done in acrylics; striking drawings of birds rendered in charcoal; colored organic stoneware; jewelry made from handmade paper; And much more.
The exhibition and sale run until September 10. Proceeds from the sale support both the artists who created the work and the Essex Art Center, helping support the organization’s list of free and discounted art programs for young people in Lawrence. These offerings are especially important because many public schools in Lawrence don’t offer fine arts education, says the center’s executive director, Monica Manoski.
Browsers and potential buyers are encouraged to visit the center at 56 Island Street in Lawrence to see the show in person. All pieces can also be viewed online. The online shopping portal includes a “virtual installation” feature, which shows what the piece looks like hung in a room, allowing potential buyers to get an idea of a work’s true scale.
The exhibition was open to any artist from the region. The event is juried, but inclusive: each artist who submitted a work had at least one piece chosen for the exhibition.
The center was founded in 1993, when three classmates from the now defunct Bradford College in Haverhill opened a non-profit art studio offering classes in Lawrence. Today, the center offers dozens of classes for students young and old, across many art forms.