While the 46-year-old organization normally hosts its art shows in person, the pandemic has squashed the prospect this year. However, members are not allowing that to stop them from showing off their art.
The Colonie Art League will host its annual holiday art show and sale virtually, from Dec. 1 to Jan. 31, 2021. To view the art and purchase, visit https://www.colonieartleague.com/.
Co-presidents Sue Lunow and Barbara Via are excited about the show. The women are artists at heart; while the responsibility of leading the group has its moments, they remain dedicated to using their talent as a medium to express thoughts and feelings.
“When I joined the league 14 years ago, art was kind of isolating for me because I was painting in a vacuum,” Lunow said. “Joining this organization has allowed me to bounce ideas off of like-minded peers and learn techniques from other people.”
Via echoes Lunow, adding the friends she’s made since joining seven years ago has helped her become a better artist and person.
“I now have such a better understanding of how themes work,” Via said, “and how colors can enhance one another and how to make a piece more harmonious. We’ve also learned how to appropriately frame and hang a painting, something I could never do properly.”
The league’s art shows are casual, but purposeful. For the holiday show, any member can get in; it’s not juried, meaning people can’t be denied due to space or quality constraints. Lunow and Via said a judge is hired to evaluate the art based on guidelines set by the organization. Each piece is unique — if someone buys a piece of art from someone, there are no other prints or duplicates. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Via said the uniqueness of each piece, and the affordability the league tries to offer them at, contributes to the overall experience of a Colonie Art League art show.
The holiday art show is by far the biggest event for the league. In past years, the holiday show was hosted at William K. Sanford Town Library, whose foot traffic lends itself well to sales. The league also hosts a spring show at the Pruyn House; this show is juried, but Via and Lunow said it’s rare someone gets rejected and the juried part of it is more to make sure there is space. While Sanford Library can hold about 90 pieces of art, Pruyn House can only hold about 60. The variety of mediums are vast — the only art the league doesn’t work with is sculpture. Also, there are both traditional and avant-garde artists, with members finding inspiration from each other’s work.
“Our winner last year actually utilized textile,” Lunow said. “It was this avant-garde, super colorful piece that was absolutely beautiful.”
Lunow and Via stressed the league isn’t about creating the next Van Gogh or Monet. The organization aims to bolster the everyday artist and talent, giving them a place to share ideas and sell their work. While some are financially successful just selling their art, many work a “normal” job and sell art on the side. Via said many are excited when they sell one or two pieces a year.
The league also uses its art for charitable causes. The organization recently hosted a virtual show for a cause, which generated over $1,000 for the regional food bank. All paintings were food-themed; members sold 40 paintings of the 70 entered for the show.
Via and Lunow said the league is an excellent option for local artists who want to explore selling work while making friends and keeping their skills modern with new tips and tricks.
“I love how we help each other out,” Via concluded. “These people make me so happy.”