Half century of creativity
The Greeley Park Art Show hits its 53rd birthday
By Heidi Masek firstname.lastname@example.org
Fifty-three years ago a small group of graphic artists and illustrators set up tables in Greeley Park in Nashua to show their artwork. From that, an August tradition formed hosted by the Nashua Area Artists Association that has grown to almost 100 exhibitors.
“I think it’s exposure,” NAAA president Sarah Roche said about the popularity of the juried show. “For some people it is terrific. You’ll watch piece after piece being sold. For others, people are getting to know you, which is the whole idea. We want people to recognize that we have some very professional [artwork] in the area.”
The visual art extravaganza includes oils, acrylics, watercolors, sculptures, mixed media, digital art, woodworking, prints, pastels, crafts and jewelry.
“The hardest part is that we cannot stake into the ground this year,” Nancy Lee Black, of Milford, said. She’s volunteering and showing for the first time and sharing a booth with an artist who paints images on glass, creates glass-on-glass pieces, and carves woods.
Another new and unique exhibitor is Bob Janules, a nature photographer who uses the mathematical equations of chaos theory to create fractal images, Black said.
The NAAA tries to encourage new artists to sign up, said Paula Super. “Of course, then there are artists there for years and their work changes,” she said. Roche said some devotees are in their 70s and 80s.
Super paints in oils and started out using mills and degenerating buildings as subjects, as well as people and landscapes. “I just did a big abstract; I thought I would try and have a lot of fun with it,” she said. Super’s only been painting for six or seven years. “This organization certainly helped me to blossom. I was already doing shows not long after I started painting.” Super has shown her work in the Nashua Library, and the Nashua Chamber of Commerce used one of her Nashua scenes on a brochure.
“It’s a great chance to see neighbors and friends; it’s a very community-based art show,” Super said.
Judges this year are Pamala Tarbell, artist and owner of the Mill Brook Gallery and Sculpture Garden in Concord, Sandra Cote and Allen Hall, a member of the Copley Society in Boston. The field for Best in Show is open because 2005 winner Leslie Redhead moved to Vancouver. Artists may submit one work (per booth) that was created in the last two years and has not won an award at a previous Greeley show. The awards ceremony is 3 p.m. Sunday, and artists can win prizes, money or gift certificates.
Two art scholarship recipients, one sponsored by the NAAA and one by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashua, are also featured.
“It’s always interesting to see those people show their work,” said volunteer Sandy Presley, of Hollis, who shows watercolors and oil paintings.
The NAAA also runs a children’s art contest. Art teachers encourage students to submit work, and applications are available at the NAAA’s Gallery One, 5 Pine St. Extension, Nashua.
Since the artists have quite a few hours to man their booths, they often bring a piece to work on and visitors can watch art in action. There will also be wood turning demonstrations.
Super called Roche “a mover and a shaker” who stepped in to organize this year’s show after the original volunteer was called away. Since Roche will be busy running the show, other artists are showing her work.
“Once it’s actually open it kind of runs itself,” Roache protested. Asked if there were enough volunteers, Roche said, “Oh heavens no, a volunteer organization never gets enough help.” Board members rolled up their sleeves to get the job done this year and Roche said “what’s interesting is newer members spring into action.”
A strange aspect of this show is that no money is allowed to be transferred on the grounds, a stipulation in Mr. Greeley’s will. Artists have to walk every customer to the sidewalk to for payment. Prices can range from $100 to $2,000, and Gallery One will make credit card transactions.
Artists keep the proceeds from their work, but pay a membership and vendor fee. This year donated artwork will be raffled to raise money for the NAAA scholarship fund.
There are no rain dates for the show because the park is booked in the summer. Roche will notify through radio and TV if a day must be canceled.
There are 174 NAAA members from all over southern New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Some join just for the Greeley Park Art show, Black said. The NAAA has monthly meetings but usually about 20 people attend. This is its biggest annual event, although members also show at Gallery One and annual Chandler Library shows.
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