Artful Alliance

What: Summer Regional Show
When: June 3rd through June 22nd
Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Franklin Square Gallery
130 E. West St., Southport
Cost: Free!
Info: (910) 457-5450

The iconic gray and white building set on West Street in downtown Southport has a rich history as a community venue. While today Franklin Square Gallery hosts the Associated Artists of Southport (AAS), a non-profit organization of over 125 exhibiting members dedicated to the cultural enrichment of our city, the building originally was built in 1904 as a school house. Since, the space within the simple façade has been home to City Hall, a community building, and a library. For 109 years, the edifice has been a beacon for Southport’s success.

‘Playing for the King’ by Claire Sallenger Martin received second place in the two-dimensional category for the 2012 Summer Regional Show at Franklin Square Gallery. Courtesy photo

‘Playing for the King’ by Claire Sallenger Martin received second place in the two-dimensional category for the 2012 Summer Regional Show at Franklin Square Gallery. Courtesy photo

For the past 30-plus years, Franklin Square Gallery has been under the command of AAS. Aside from filling its rooms with breathtaking local artwork, AAS also supports many community outreach projects. In 2009, potters of Southport made and sold 1,030 bowls for Empty Bowls, raising $11,500 for the local food bank. Likewise, the organization supports its members and area residents by offering workshops and competitions. “Learning and improving is at the heart of the goals of our art organization,” member Eloise Randolph tells.

Works for such a competition were accepted at the gallery from AAS members and non-members on May 31st to be judged for admittance in the Summer Regional Show. The exhibit will hang from June 3rd through June 22nd. Randolph and Carol Kidd selected the judges who will evaluate the submitted works. They chose Gina Strumpf as the two-dimensional judge and Judy Mooney as the three-dimensional judge.

“We were impressed that [Strumpf] has mentored with nationally known artists and has studied and participated with workshops with acclaimed artists from Canada, southern France and Tuscany,” Randolph explains. “She is a featured artist in numerous galleries in the Southeast and has private and corporate collectors throughout the USA and Europe. Gina Strumpf, on paper and in conversation, is enthusiastic and energetic. We are excited about her being with us for our Summer Regional Show … and we are counting on her enthusiasm and energy rubbing off on us.”

Raised in Louisiana, sculptor Judy Mooney works with ceramics and bronze and is a studio artist in Savannah, Georgia. She formerly was the vice president for community development with the YMCA, but now she revels in the stories of people told through her clay works. Mooney’s sculptures are featured throughout Georgia and South Carolina.

On Sunday, June 2nd, Mooney and Strumpf will choose which works will make it into the Summer Regional Show, and they will explore the works a second time to select the winners. Last year AAS received 172 submissions, and Best of Show and $500 was awarded to Toini Wilson for “Repose #2.” First, second and third-place prizes, as well as merit awards, are also chosen in both the two-dimensional and three-dimensional categories. Three memorial awards are selected as well. Both members and non-members of AAS are eligible to take home prizes.

A reception will be held in conjunction with Southport’s First Friday Gallery Walk on Friday, June 7th from 5 p.m to 7 p.m. The public is welcome to join. “The awards will be presented at this time,” reception chair Kathryn Scheetz shares. “The award winners will be there and usually we have a large turnout of other artists. All the items in the gallery will be for sale unless labeled ‘not for sale.’”

Drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be available for guests to enjoy. “We will offer wine, Cabernet and Chardonnay, and a refreshing fruit water,” Scheetz continues. “We are planning a summer pig pickin’ menu of Carolina BBQ mini sliders, slaw, chips, seasonal fruit and various sweets.”

As the Summer Regional Show is juried, visitors to Franklin Square Gallery will be seeing some of the best works submitted by artists in the entire southeast region, co-chair of the show Kimberly Bandera says. “Membership in AAS requires volunteering at the gallery and on special projects like the Summer Regional Show,” Bandera, also the owner of Howe Outrageous Art Gallery and Marketplace, details. “I think it’s the greatest strength of the organization, since it encourages creative people to pool their talents in ways unavailable when working alone in a studio. It’s always inspirational to talk to other artists and discover how they see the world and how they interpret their art.”

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