At Lawrence’s Essex Art Center this summer, the art is spilling out of the usual designated galleries, taking over walls throughout the entire floor. In total, more than 250 paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, pieces of jewelry, and other work are on display – and on sale.
This abundance of art is part of the organization’s annual Salon Show + Art Sale the largest contemporary art sale in the Merrimack Valley, and an important fundraiser for the center, leading to the event’s tagline: “Buy art. Do good.”
The diverse artists featured in the show include highly acclaimed established professionals, center faculty and students, and emerging artists as young as 11. The pieces encompass a wide range of style, subject, and media, including colorful abstract paintings done in acrylics; striking drawings of birds rendered in charcoal; colorful organic stoneware; jewelry crafted from handmade paper; and much, much more.
The show and sale runs through September 10. Proceeds from the sale support both the artists who created the work and well as the Essex Art Center, helping support the organization’s slate of free and reduced-cost art programs for Lawrence youth. These offerings are particularly important because many Lawrence public schools do not provide fine arts education, says center executive director Monica Manoski.
Browsers and potential buyers are encouraged to visit the center at 56 Island Street in Lawrence to see the show in person. All of the pieces can also been seen online. The online shopping portal includes a “virtual install” feature, that shows what the piece looks like hung is a room, allowing potential buyers to get a sense of a work’s true scale.
The exhibition was open to any artist from the region. The event is juried, but inclusive: Every artist who submitted work had at least one piece chosen for the show.
The center was founded in 1993, when three classmates at the now-defunct Bradford College in Haverhill opened a nonprofit art studio offering classes in Lawrence. Today, the center offers dozens of classes to students young and less young, across many art forms.