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Photo by Heather Clements of her exhibit "Cut It Out: Paper Cut Art by Heather Clements." Sculpture by Roland Hockett, top right corner.

BCPL usually rotates exhibits monthly – an excellent way to highlight local talent while offering patrons fresh art frequently.

Sarah Burris, who coordinates BCPL’s art exhibits, says, “To keep the gallery running smoothly, I reach out to artists who would be a good fit for the space. It helps to visit the local art galleries and art shows.”

In conjunction with exhibits, some participating artists present demonstrations, teach workshops or lead art tours at the library. A few examples: 

  • Olga Guy demonstrated her Chinese ink and brush technique.    
  • Dolores King held an artist talk about her creative process and approach to encaustics (pigmented hot wax).
  • Tammy Marinuzzi led an art tour of her collaborative exhibit with Chandra DeBuse, followed by a workshop on using sketchbook drawings to develop projects with other artists.

Although BCPL focuses on local artists, it occasionally displays work from elsewhere. One exhibit featured posters by Kansas cartoonist Grant Snider of Incidental Comics, whose work often includes literary themes. BCPL paid for shipping and framed the posters.

Some shows arise thanks to partnerships. In addition to local art groups, BCPL has partnered with other types of organizations to present exhibits.

“One example is an exhibit of photographs and paintings created or owned by Bay County Audubon Society members,” says Shader. “This was very well received by patrons, and Audubon was very pleased with the media attention they received.”  

“Right to Decide” exhibit

The library’s participation in “Right to Decide” came about through an invitation by Gulf Coast State College. A project of Posters Without Borders, the traveling exhibit featured posters about voting rights designed by artists and art students from all over the world. GCSC hosted the main exhibit, while the library hosted the portion created by art students.   

“Patron response has been overwhelmingly positive to all of the art exhibits. It is always fantastic to see visitors pause at the artwork before heading into the stacks,” Burris says.         

imls180.for.panel.jpgMany of these resources and programs are funded under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Florida's LSTA program is administered by the Department of State's Division of Library and Information Services.