Summer art openings across Martha’s Vineyard

"Odi and David, Mendocino" by Felicia Murray. —Felicia Murray

Memorial Day weekend means picnics and parades, patriotic displays, and oftentimes, first plunges into the sea. It also means that the Island’s numerous art galleries are either opening their doors for the season, or hosting their first summer openings. You can check out what artists from the Island and beyond have been working on over the winter, and also see which galleries are bringing fresh talent to the Vineyard art scene by doing a gallery hop on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Here are some highlights.

A requisite stop for art lovers this weekend is the annual Friends of Family Planning Art Show at the Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury, which features work by around 90 different Island artists. It’s the most comprehensive exhibit of the year. For the opportunity to get a first shot at the offerings from artists ranging from newcomers to established professionals, check out the fundraiser and art reception on Thursday night, or shop on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and help support local artists while contributing to the clinic.

The 2017 season of the Vineyard Artisans Festival will begin with the annual Memorial Day weekend show, featuring the work of dozens of artists and artisans on Saturday and Sunday at the Grange Hall.

There are a record number of new art galleries opening this year. Three of them will be launching their new ventures on Memorial Day weekend. The Art Gallery, a cooperative artists-run space in the Oak Bluffs Arts District, will be hosting a grand opening on Saturday, May 27, from 4 to 7 pm. The 12 artists featured in the gallery include those working in painting, photography, mixed media, ceramics, furniture making, clothing and accessories. Holly Alaimo, who has been instrumental in getting the gallery up and running, notes that ceramicist Heather Goff will be offering her tiles, which have been out of circulation for many years.

The opening will give people a first opportunity to check out the gallery, which will be open weekends throughout June and then full time in July and August. While visiting the new space, stop by neighbor Alison Shaw Gallery to see what the Island’s most renowned photographer has been working on recently. She will host an opening on Saturday from 5 to 7pm.

The brand-new Island Copper Gallery on State Road in Vineyard Haven, across from the Little House restaurant, will be at the center of a grand-opening block party on Friday, May 26, from 2 to 10 pm. The cooperative effort of Noavakay Knight and Daniel Vignolo will feature a changing roster of artisans throughout the summer. For the opening, the gallery will spotlight copper works by Mr. Vignolo, bags by Ms. Knight, bathing suits from Roy Swim, and paintings by Dan VanLandingham. Ms. Knight describes the new gallery’s focus as “artisanal home goods and accessories.” The Copper Gallery will be open on Fridays and Saturdays from 2 to 10 pm, Sundays from 2 to 6 pm, and all other days from 2 to 8 pm. The block party will include new business the Larder, Vineyard Propane, and live music from 7 to 9 pm.

Photographer Michael Blanchard will launch his new initiative, the Crossroads Gallery, with an exhibit on Sunday called “The Art of Healing.” Ten artists from locations ranging from Los Angeles to North Carolina to Istanbul, Turkey, have all submitted photographs and paintings with a story on how art contributed to their healing from mental health or substance abuse issues. The gallery will feature Mr. Blanchard’s beautiful, inspirational shots of Vineyard locales. He will be signing his book, “Fighting for My Life — Finding Hope and Serenity on Martha’s Vineyard,” and calendars at the opening event, and also at Edgartown Books on Saturday, May 27. Crossroads Gallery is sharing space with existing gallery Island Images on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs.

While on your gallery hop this weekend, also check out the new Creekville arts and antiques gallery in Menemsha, featuring, among other things, period paintings of Martha’s Vineyard, and paintings by Suzie Pacheco. The grand opening will take place on Saturday, beginning at 5:30 pm.

Many established galleries will be celebrating the start of the season with Memorial Day weekend openings. The Eisenhauer Gallery in Edgartown will be kicking off its summer season with a show featuring three artists. Realist Michel Brousseau will be unveiling his newest series of lobster paintings. Owner Elizabeth Eisenhauer will also be introducing the work of new artist Annie Wildey, who paints spectacular, immersive wave paintings. The opening on Saturday, May 27, from 6 to 8 pm will also mark the launch of the Music in the Square Concerts, with tunes by Mike Benjamin.

Louisa Gould will be hosting the first of the summer openings at her Main Street, Vineyard Haven, gallery on Sunday, May 28, from 5 to 8 pm. The group show, titled “Spring Into Summer,” will include new work by some of the artists whom she has represented for years, such as Paul Beebe, Linda Besse, Teek Eaton-Koch, and Fran Dropkin, as well as work by a couple of painters new to the gallery — abstract artist Marie-Louise Rouff and seascape painter Rick Fleury. Also featured will be beautiful hand-blown glass art pieces by Jeffrey P’an. There will be live music and refreshments at the opening.

The Sargent Gallery (formerly Gay Head Gallery) in Aquinnah will open for the summer this weekend (10 am to 5 pm Friday, Saturday, and Monday, and 10 am to 3 pm on Sunday). New work by all of the gallery’s ongoing artists will be on display, along with some samples from artists new to the gallery. These include painter, writer, filmmaker and storyteller Robert Perkins; environmental artist Gin Stone, who recycles old fishing line to construct wildlife subjects; and photographer Felicia Murray of West Chop and New York City.

The Old Sculpin Gallery, across from the Chappy Ferry landing in Edgartown, marks its official opening this weekend. The opening show will feature work by current members, along with an exhibit of pieces by some of the gallery’s most illustrious members from the past, including Vaclav Vytlacil, Ruth Appledorn Mead, and Francis Chapin. “Every year we try to show pieces that haven’t been on display for at least five years,” says gallery manager Carla Felter. “At least two of the paintings hanging now haven’t been shown to the public since the ’60s.”

This article by Gwyn McAllister originally appeared on