Arts return with alumni exhibit opening, museum fundraiser | Local News

September marks a restart of the arts as some galleries open their doors for exhibit receptions for the first time in a year and a half, and the Greenville Museum of Art brings back one of its biggest fundraisers.

Three galleries will host opening receptions from 5-8 p.m. Friday for the 2021 East Carolina University School of Art and Design Alumni Exhibition. Masks are required.

Works of art will be on display through Sept. 25 at Emerge Gallery and Art Center, 404 Evans St.; Wellington B. Gray Gallery in Jenkins Fine Arts Center; and the Janice Hardison Faulkner Gallery in ECU’s Joyner Library.

The exhibit, last hosted in 2015, will showcase art from 140 alumni from across the country, featuring graduates from a more than 50-year span. It includes works from nearly 20 artists from Greenville, Winterville, Snow Hill and Washington, N.C. Painting and drawing, video, graphic design, textiles, metal design, ceramics, printmaking, sculpture, wood design, photography, industrial design, book arts and mixed media are included.

Traditionally held every five years, the exhibit was postponed in 2020 due to COVID-19.

“After being delayed by a year due to the pandemic, I’m thrilled that we are finally hosting this wonderful exhibition of artwork from our talented alumni,” said Kate Bukoski, director of the School of Art and Design. “The work in the exhibition showcases a variety of media from graduates ranging from our first MFA class in the early 1970s to just this past year. There is something for every viewer in this extensive exhibition.”

Friday’s opening receptions are part of the monthly Art Walk events sponsored by Uptown Greenville and represent the first in-person receptions held at the Emerge and Gray galleries since March 2020, when COVID-19 forced museums and galleries to close their doors.

While visual arts has, in many cases, been in a better position to weather the pandemic than performing arts, lengthy closures followed by virtual events have taken their toll. In 2020, Pitt County Arts Council at Emerge created the Artist Support Grant to provide direct support to individual artists during and following the pandemic. The initiative helped provide funding for visual and performing artists in Pitt and four other area counties.

Summer Shindig

The pandemic also has created financial challenges for the Greenville Museum of Art, 802 Evans St., which had to cancel some of its key fundraising events in 2020. On Sept. 9, a year to the day that the museum reopened, it will host its End of Summer Shindig.

“2020 has been a year of extreme challenges,” Sim Asher, the museum’s communications and events coordinator, said in a statement. “Many of our exhibitions and events were thwarted due to the conditions of this pandemic.”

Summer Shindig, which was not held in 2020, is the museum’s second largest annual fundraiser.

This year’s event, scheduled from 6-9 p.m., will feature live musical entertainment from The Still Shakers and catering from Moore’s Olde Tyme Barbeque, along with lawn games, a silent auction, prize drawings and an open bar. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for ages 6-10. There is a discount of $5 each for tickets purchased in advance. The event is free to ages 5 and younger.

Robert G. Mull

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