2020 - Wrapped Up with a Ribbon (and some Duct Tape)
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Reflecting on this year, I realize, the Beach Art Center has much to be grateful for. Sometimes it’s difficult to realize that this “year” did not begin in mid-March 2020! In January, we had what was likely THE most successful art show in our 42-year history. Thank you to the Cottage Artists and “Save Our Cottages” for allowing the Beach Art Center to host this wonderful event. It started our year on an emotional high. This was an event not normally on our calendar, the funds raised in January were very helpful in getting us through the unexpected events of 2020. In February, we held another successful Gala – this time with a Roaring 20s theme. We had a wonderful time. Thinking about our entertainment the beautiful decorations, the Speakeasy …brings back very happy memories of the art center and the community being together in support of a common goal. Thank you to all who attended, who worked on this event and to our sponsors. In March, we had our Student Art Show. The opening of this gallery show was also our annual meeting and was the last social event of the year. On March 15 we closed for what we thought would be 3-4 weeks, but it was July before we could re-open. When the closure came, we were able to turn it into productive time. We moved up a Hurricane Hardening project, which was planned for later in the year. Windows and doors were replaced & roof tie-downs installed – keeping the Beach Art Center safe for many years to come. As with most construction projects, unexpected problems were found and we had to replace some walls in our pottery studio and completely empty it out. This was an opportunity to reset and reorganize the studio. Many members of the art center and the community were here for weeks during our closure, cleaning and organizing. It was dirty work – and they did it all joyfully, with masks at a social distance! Ron Sacra led the charge and created some wonderful storage for our refreshed pottery studio. We thank our pottery instructors and the many volunteers who put us back together better than before. Barbara Eastbourne, an artist and member of the Beach Art Center, generously donated the funds to complete this project. Without her support, it wouldn’t have come to fruition. We are also grateful to Marty Kehoe and WKM Restoration for their fantastic work on this project. While we were closed, Andrea Harms (Kind Sun Studio) leveraged our social media presence to celebrate creativity in the community. Using this medium, artists shared what they were creating while at home and encouraged others to do the same. It was certainly the expectation when we temporarily closed and moved our construction project forward, that we would reopen in full for summer camp and classes immediately after (oh…the innocence of March 15, 2020!). As it became clear this wouldn’t be the case, creative options were discussed. Artist & Instructor Shawn Dell Joyce started teaching remote classes (just as the rest of us were all learning to spell “ZOOM"!). Shawn worked with BAC and our instructors to establish our current Online and Hybrid learning programs, allowing classes to be taught and taken from anywhere. In July we re-opened, following Covid guidelines. Our 1st Gallery show was appropriately called “Hope”. Our Gift Shop team completely reset our Gift Shop, it’s fresh and full of local art. We have had two more gallery shows since we re-opened and have put the art online so you can enjoy them even if you can’t come to see it in person. In September we returned to In-House classes. We reset our classroom to allow for each student to have a full table with space between. Our Art on the Rocks classes returned in September as well. We also kicked off a creative online fundraiser in September. With the help of Linda Keene and a group of fantastic artists, we hope to raise $5,000 this year with our “$20 for 2020 raffle”. As of this morning, we have raised $4,440. Online tickets are still available and the prizes are beautiful. Planning is different these days but we continue to plan for the future. A calendar for 2021 is shaping up very nicely with weekly classes for all levels as well as guest instructors coming to the Beach Art Center in 2021 for wonderful workshops. The mission of the Beach Art Center is to “inspire lifelong learning, empower the individual, and engage the community of all ages in the creative arts”. Even during a pandemic, this mission has served as a clear touchstone of who we are and what we do. 2020 has certainly been a year of change and challenges. Thank you to Irene Zaffres for your continued positive spirit and resilience. Thank you to Barbara Parker and the Board of the Beach Art Center for your leadership & generosity, to the Community and Members for your many contributions, creativity, commitment and volunteerism. Undoubtably, as soon as I click “send” I will think of the name of someone or an event which has been left out. Please know that if I didn’t list your name, it is not a reflection of the gratitude of the Beach Art Center and our community, (it’s just shoddy work from one volunteer). Wishing you all a very safe, healthy and Happy New Year! Patricia Thomas Volunteer