Deena C. Bouknight – Contributing Writer
After months of quiet on the art community home front, Macon County Art Association is hosting an exhibit at the Macon County Public Library that conveys the theme and message during this pandemic era that “art is essential.”
The exhibit, which opened Sept. 24 and runs through Oct. 26, features a variety of mediums, including oil, watercolor, acrylic, pastel, fiber art, silk, mixed media, and reproductions. Nine local artists’ works are represented: Bonnie Abbott, Cheryl Binnall, Marty Brown, Carol Conti, Terry Evans, Margie Kellam, Pat Mennenger, Kathy Ratcliff, and Karen Smith.
Artists of all types have been especially affected by the lingering pandemic since viewing art, art classes, demonstrations, all involve gatherings. As the state has entered Phase 3, however, artists such as Cheryl Binnall and Carol Conti, past president of Macon County Art Association, are encouraged.
“Now more than ever, I think people realize the importance of public art,” said Binnall. “It has this capacity to bring joy, to bring wonder, to bring a glimpse of hope when you’re outside during this time that is so challenging and difficult.”
“As an artist, I felt challenged in the beginning, when the reality of this unprecedented time hit me and what would be the new ‘normal,’” said Conti. “In July, I began holding my classes outdoors and personally, have really focused on my plein air painting. For me, I relish the peace of being out in nature as I try to convey the joy I feel through my work. My goal is to provide the viewer with a moment of light during this dark season. Art is essential in reflecting our human nature, recording history, and providing hope that we can get through this time together.”
The exhibit at the Macon County Public Library includes everything from old barn scenes to fairy tale images to realistic animal paintings.
“We ask our community to please support the arts and drop by to see the creativity of our artist members both at the Macon County Public Library and Uptown Gallery,” said Conti.
Uptown Gallery, operated by Macon County Art Association volunteers, opened back up Memorial Day weekend. The gallery on Main Street in Franklin is currently open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Monday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is stocked with one-of-a-kind artistic gift ideas for the holidays. “We have safety protocols in place so our customers can feel safe while they browse and look for that special handmade art piece made by local artists,” said Conti. “We are still in the process of discussion for holding classes and workshops at a future date.”
Fo Halloween, the Macon County Art Association is hosting an Autumn Witches Walk, to be held Saturday, Oct. 17, at 11 a.m. All ages and pets are welcome. Participants will meet at the Main Street Clock Tower at 11 a.m. and parade on the sidewalks of Main Street and end at the gazebo for a photo opportunity. Participants are encouraged to wear witches masks and costumes. Then stop by the gallery and see how they have decorated for Halloween. A 50/50 raffle is also going on at the Uptown Gallery. Tickets may be purchased at the gallery. Half the money raised goes to the winner of the raffle and half to the gallery. A winner will be drawn at 3 p.m. Saturday.
“We are raising funds for the gallery to continue to be maintained as a support for local artists and for community enrichment,” said Conti.
All COVID-19 safety protocols will be observed for these events.