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Island galleries open their doors for the season

Memorial Day weekend generally heralds the kickoff to the summer gallery season and, with the addition of new artists at some of the established galleries and a few new spaces adding their presence to the extensive Vineyard art scene, there are plenty of opportunities for art aficionados to explore this holiday weekend.

The Oak Bluffs Arts District will experience a resurgence this summer with the addition of two new galleries. The space previously occupied by the Dragonfly Gallery and, more recently, Gallery Josephine, will be taken over by Val Francis, who is christening the space Knowhere Gallery. Although the gallery won’t be open until July, Francis has some exciting plans for the space and the Arts District in general.

Photographer Michael Blanchard is opening his own solo gallery on Dukes County Avenue, right next to the Knowhere Gallery. On Saturday, May 25, Blanchard, who previously shared space with Island Images on Circuit Avenue, will officially launch his new gallery venture with an opening featuring dozens of his images in a variety of framed and unframed options. The photographer will also offer visitors the opportunity to purchase his 2019–2020 calendar, with proceeds going to Misty Meadows. Blanchard is also finishing up work on his second book of photos, this one titled “Through a Sober Lens: A Photographer’s Journey,” and he will screen a short promotional video.

The ART Gallery (Martha’s Vineyard Center for the Visual Arts co-op space) will kick off with an opening celebration featuring work by all of the 12 members, including the five newest additions,

Taylor Stone (cutout dioramas), Olivia B Baldwin (textiles and scarves), Linda Ferrini (floorcloths and prints on fabric and paper), Helayne Cohen (pottery), and Suzie Pacheco (paintings). An opening celebration will take place from 4 to 7 pm. The gallery’s early-season hours are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from noon to 5.

The renowned Vineyard photographer Alison Shaw will host an opening at her gallery, at 88 Dukes County Ave., on Saturday from 5 to 7 pm, showcasing her new work.

Over on Circuit Avenue, the Cousen Rose Gallery will open for the year on Saturday, and owner Zita Cousens will kick off the 2019 season at her popular gallery with an opening featuring bloody marys on Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm.

Although the Louisa Gould Gallery on Main Street in Vineyard Haven has been open all year, the photographer/gallerist has been busy over the past few weeks hanging brand-new work by some of her established artists, along with a few new faces, and she will unveil these new offerings at an opening on Saturday from 5 to 7 pm. Among the new artists are painter Pepe Conley, jeweler Emma Kiley Bryant, and abstract artist Deb Colter. Colter, who is well known to Vineyard art collectors. They will add to the gallery’s expanding collection of abstract art, a new direction that Gould is excited about. She also promises lots of new work from a number of her most popular artists.

The Eisenhauer Gallery in Edgartown kicks off its 19th year with an opening on Saturday featuring refreshments, music by Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish from 6 to 8 pm, and the work of artist Elizabeth Lennie. Lennie, a Canadian artist whose work is featured at the Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame, as well as numerous other places in the U.S. and Canada, was introduced to the gallery last year, and made a splash with her semiabstract beach scenes. “We very rarely host solo exhibitions,” says gallery owner Elizabeth Eisenhauer, “but sometimes I’m really excited about a new artist. Last year we brought in some of Elizabeth’s paintings, and they sold out. I just thought this subject was a really good fit.” The gallery is open from 10 am to 6 pm daily.

Nikki Sedacca will open the doors of her Edgartown gallery for the season on Thursday, May 23, and will feature the work of a number of artists, including the gallery’s newest addition, abstract artist Anita Lewis. The gallery will spotlight paintings as well as fine jewelry by artists, including Sedacca, who will introduce her latest collection of sculptural silver and gold wire pieces.

The Sargent Gallery in Aquinnah will open for the season this coming weekend with open houses on Saturday and Monday from 11 am to 5 pm. The celebrations will feature new work and new artists, including landscape painter Margo Balcerek and artist/environmentalist John Sabraw, who creates work using paint produced with minerals extracted in the process of remediating polluted streams. Wine and refreshments will be served, and there will be information and ideas on how to support protecting rare and endangered species, water quality, and habitat protection.

A highly anticipated annual event is the kickoff to the Vineyard Artisans Festival 2019 season. Stop by Saturday or Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm to see what the dozens of participants have been working on over the winter hiatus. The festival will be held both indoors and outdoors at the Grange Hall. Food will be available for sale, and there is a playground for kids. Free admission and free parking.

This article by Gwyn McAllister was originally appeared on mvtimes.com.