The art walk comes to you with the Gainesville Fine Arts Association Summer Showcase. Comprising general public- and member-submitted artworks displayed on a digital platform, viewers can scroll through the pieces and purchase them as if in the physical gallery.
“Online exhibitions are something we’ve always wanted to do so the pandemic kind of jumped that forward a little bit,” said Katy Lemle, gallery director and operations manager. “We’ve been fortunate to be able to kind of move quickly to that sort of platform for exhibitions.”
Now applying to the online format as well, the gallery’s exhibitions usually follow a theme and are finalized with monetary awards. The Summer Showcase, however, was open in its subject matter, allowing artists to create according to current events or personal themes. The gallery and its sales will be promoted for two months before being placed in their archives.
With 130 pieces, awards are given by a community professional. In this case, Héctor Puig, owner of Héctor Framing and Gallery, gave out merit-based prizes to eight artworks.
“The Best in Show, Sylvia McIntyre-Crook, she is an architect, she is a long-time member,” said Sue Kelman, the acting president of GFAA. “The second-place winner Robin Makowski is new to the area and she is a new member to us and is a well-established water colorist in the state. The next winner was Alfred Phillips. He was our original art director of the gallery and he is an award-winning established artist, so those three award-winners are really great examples of good art in GFAA.”
The five other awarded pieces range from personally reflective photography to surrealistic imagery.
Since announcing their closure March 16 due to COVID-19 and sad to see their physical doors closed, Lemle said that there is no rush right now to reopen when it may not be the time to do so, especially with accessibility of the online galleries.
“It’s pretty easy as an upcoming artist or emerging artist or even someone who hasn’t shown in a while, our platform makes it very easy for anyone to show,” Lemle said. “We don’t have a vetting process, you don’t have to get your work approved. We’re a community gallery space so we want lots of artists of all walks of life and all skill levels.”