Islanders have the opportunity to check out the creations of their friends and neighbors at San Juan Island Museum of Art’s “Artist Registry Exhibit” this winter.
“We have people that show [their work] all over North America, we have that caliber of artist,” San Juan artist and exhibit founder Yvonne Buijs-Mancuso said. “I am really excited it has taken off the way it has.”
While she is no longer organizing the show, Buijs-Mancuso is one of the 70 artists whose work is presented in the exhibit. Mediums range from two-dimensional oil; acrylic; pastels; photography and encaustics; to three-dimensional jewelry; pottery; sculpture; and mix-media. The registry runs from Dec. 20-Feb. 21. Museum hours are 11 a.m.- 5 p.m., Friday–Monday. Admission for adults is: $10, members and 18 and under are free. Mondays are “Pay As You Can” days.
The show originated as a way to support island artists and give their work a home, Buijs-Mancuso explained. Besides showcasing local work, Buijs-Mancuso came up with a registry, an online compilation of San Juan artists that visitors can readily access. An online registry — hence the title of the exhibit — was created. Each artist on the registry is a dues-paying member of the museum. Today that list consists of approximately 125 individuals. As part of the registry, the artist can choose to be in the exhibit or not. Those who opt to participate in the exhibit assist in setting up and taking down the show.
“Just like a party,” Buijs-Mancuso said with a laugh. Working together on the project, she added, gives up-and-coming artists a chance to mix and mingle with more established artists and ask them questions without feeling intimidated, fostering a mentorship atmosphere.
“The registry helps promote professionalism and gives the artist the steps to become a professional artisan,” she explained.
In 2014, before the facility was completed, the exhibit was held in the emergency medical services garage. The theme was “Unveiling,” which corresponded with the unveiling of the new facility. A record crowd of 700 people passed through to tour the new building and view the creations of their fellow community members.
“Everyone here knows an artist, but they may not have had the opportunity to see their work,” Buijs-Mancuso said, noting how introverted many artists are.
The registry, she continued, gives locals a chance to learn more about their friends and provides an opportunity for the community to connect and bond. According to Buijs-Mancuso supporting local artists deepens friendships and benefits the island’s quality of life.
“Having the islands be an artist mecca creates a gentle more peaceful place to live and visit,” Buijs-Mancuso said.
The museum’s official opening occurred Feb. 14, 2015, Buijs-Mancuso said, adding that artist William Morris was the headline, and even gave a rare personal appearance. For the museum’s anniversary this Valentine’s Day, the public is invited to an open house celebration. The event is free and runs from 4-7 p.m., Feb. 14.
This year, until Jan. 20, exhibit views will have a chance to vote for their favorites in the Peoples Choice awards. There are two categories — one dimensional and two dimensional. First prize in both categories is $300, second prize is $150 and third prize is $50. Funding for the awards this year is sponsored by Jay and Suzy Wakefield. This is the first year a cash award has been offered, according to SJIMA’s Diane Martindale, however, approximately four years ago ribbons were awarded to the top five recipients.
Islander Bonita Diemoz has been a part of the registry for the last five years.
“The talent on the island is incredible,” Diemoz said, adding that she appreciates SJIMA for supporting and showcasing island artists.
Diemoz’s artistic medium is photography. She explained that this year her piece features a photo she took while walking on Shaw Island, which she thought made a perfect entry for a San Juan-centric show.
Diemoz stated on her SJIMA registry bio that “Art has always been a part of my life. … I take the photos … and alter and manipulate them digitally. My images are not meant to be factual but rather unique pieces on which to ponder.”
Buijs-Mancuso chose what she calls an edgy piece for the exhibit, titled “She’s Like the Wind.” She sculpted the base from concrete. The woman’s face, Buijs-Mancuso continued, was created from fused glass giving a three-dimensional effect that pulls people in.
“If you push people beyond their comfort zone, they learn more about what the artist is trying to communicate,” Buijs-Mancuso said. “That is really what a museum is all about.”