GUILD HALL READIES FOR 83rd

ARTIST MEMBERS EXHIBITION

MARCH 6-APRIL 10

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East Hampton showcase continues to play a fundamental role in

Long Island’s arts history

There’s no doubt about it; 2020 will be a year to remember. But if history has proved anything, it’s that in the midst of fear, doubt, and insecurity, the most beautiful ideas can be born.
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Guild Hall’s Artist Members Exhibition, celebrating 83 years, was launched in 1938, a year when Hitler marched into Austria, bringing the United States even closer to the brink of war, and a deadly hurricane ripped across Long Island, devastating everything in its path.
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And still, at the arts and community hub in East Hampton, a small group of determined individuals started what is now the oldest non-juried show on Long Island, and one of the few non-juried shows still running.
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In those first couple of decades, you could visit Guild Hall and pick up a Jackson Pollock or a Franz Kline for $250. Other early participants in the show, which was launched seven years after Guild Hall’s inception in 1931, included Lee Krasner, Alfonso Ossorio, Perle Fine, Bill King, James Brooks, Charlotte Park, John Little, and many more, showing their support of Guild Hall and its role as their community museum, theater, and education center.
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The exhibition, which requires the artists to be members of Guild Hall in order to submit their works and be accepted, has grown over the years. Now, about 400 artists participate annually, submitting works in every shape and using every material. (The size limitation details are spelled out in the artist submission form on the website.)
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“We will be celebrating our 90th anniversary in 2021, so we are excited that this year we will celebrate Guild Hall’s long-standing commitment to the artists who are the core of the museum’s mission,” said Guild Hall’s Museum Director and Chief Curator Christina Mossaides Strassfield.
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The Artist Members Exhibition attracts remarkable art world professionals as awards jurors who select winners in the categories of Top Honors, Best Abstract, Best Representational, Best Photograph, Best Work on Paper, Best Sculpture, Best Mixed Media, Catherine and Theo Hios Best Landscape Award, Best New Artist and up to 10 Honorable Mentions. The Top Honors winner is also awarded a solo exhibition in the museum at a later date.
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And this year’s judge? “The awards juror has not been confirmed yet, but will be a noted person from the contemporary art world following our longstanding tradition,” Strassfield said.
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What’s Different This Year

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In any other year, the halls would be filled with laughter, delight and camaraderie as the artists and the public co-mingle at an opening reception, spilling out of the museum and onto Main Street, East Hampton.
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Of course, this time around, things are a little different. “Last year we had an opening reception, and a week later we had lockdown,” Strassfield said.
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Curatorial Assistant Casey Dalene went into action mode the day after the museum was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “She photographed all 430 works and created the website so work could be viewed and purchased,” Strassfield continued. “This is something we had discussed, but COVID pushed us to actually do it. This year we will again have an online website component. This will be available so that in case we are in lockdown, we will be able to even have the judging online if needed.”
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Strassfield added that she envisions that the “Directors Choice” tours and the “Meet the Winners” tours will also most likely be online.
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But Guild Hall has also instituted COVID-19 safety measures for visitors, including timed tickets that can be reserved online, masks and social distancing, one-way footpaths, and more.
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And a new tradition includes an ecommerce website in conjunction with the exhibition, in addition to virtual gallery tours and artist talks.
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The requirement for entry in the exhibition is that the artist must be an active member of Guild Hall through April 12, 2021. Deadline for online registrations is February 1. The exhibition will be up from March 6 through April 10, 2021.
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About the 2019 artist members who participated during the pandemic, Dalene said, “I have a profound appreciation for the 400-plus artists that participate in the Artist Members Exhibition every year. This gratitude grew even stronger last year when the exhibition was quarantined in our galleries for three months. At times we didn’t know when or how we would re-open, and the patience and support that we received from everyone in the show was heartwarming, to say the least. I felt like I was not only quarantining with my family, but with 435 artists.”
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For more information on submitting a work,
viewing the exhibition, or sponsorship, visit www.guildhall.org.
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Museum Programming is supported in part by the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, public funds provided by New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, an anonymous donor, Crozier Fine Arts, and funding from The Michael Lynne Museum Endowment, The Melville Straus Family Endowment, and The Lorenzo and Mary Woodhouse Trust.
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Free admission is generously funded by BNB Bank and Landscape Details.
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Photo by Jess Dalene.
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Guild Hall

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158 Main Street, East Hampton, N.Y.
Phone: (631) 324-0806
Box Office: (631) 324-4050
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Guild Hall, one of the first multidisciplinary centers in the country to combine a museum, theater, and education space under one roof, was established in 1931 as a gathering place for community where an appreciation for the arts would serve to encourage greater civic participation. For nearly nine decades, Guild Hall has embraced this open-minded vision and provided a welcoming environment for the public to engage with art exhibitions, performances, and educational offerings. Art and artists have long been the engine of Guild Hall’s activities and the institution continues to find innovative ways to support creativity in everyone.

www.guildhall.org

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