Saturday, November 19, 2011

December Exhibit: Cranbury Gardens IX-Works From Art In The Park


By Bob Gilbert

The December 2011 exhibit at the Gourgaud Gallery is entitled "Cranbury Gardens- Works from Art in the Park" and features "plein air" paintings by local artists. In the following question and answer session, Amy Amico, Chairperson of the Gourgaud Gallery, explains what this exciting exhibit is about:

Question: What is the concept for "Art in the Park" and who are the participants?  When did “Art in the Park” get started and who came up with the idea?

Answer: Art in the Park will be celebrating its ten year anniversary in 2013 and was developed by Bob Virgadamo when the Gourgaud Gallery was operated by Cranbury Township as the only municipally operated art gallery in the state. Since then, the gallery has become a part of the Cranbury Arts Council and the plein air sessions have grown into a very strong part of the arts programming offered by the CAC. The Art in the Park sessions run from May to October and offer a new location once a month where artists can come to paint at a location in Cranbury and the surrounding area. The program is free and artists who participate are invited to present the artwork from the sessions in the annual December exhibit at the Gourgaud Gallery titled "Cranbury Gardens- Works from Art in the Park". Local artists visit the gardens, farms and historic properties and are able to paint from noon to 4 pm, rain or shine. Art in the Park has become a wonderful way for artists to meet and paint together in an open air environment

Q: What is "plein air" painting, and what are the advantages as opposed to painting in a studio?

A: Plein air painting is basically "live” painting at a location where the artist can view a scene and paint in the medium of their choice. Many artists work in watercolor as well as pastel, oil and acrylic. Some are able to take photographs of many different views to have reference for finishing the artwork at home. Outdoor painting lends itself to challenge the artist with a constantly changing environment with light, subject and season, as opposed to a studio environment where the light and subject can be controlled.

Q: How are "Art in the Park" locations selected and are there rain dates in the event of inclement weather?

A: Art in the Park is "rain or shine". Many of the locations are possible because of the generous homeowners in Cranbury who wish to share the beauty of their properties with the artists. Even a rainy or cloudy day lends itself to another "view" for the artist so there is always an opportunity to create from whatever the day might bring.

Q: Do the artists who do plein air painting generally complete the painting at the site, or do they sketch or photograph and complete the work elsewhere?

A: Each artist works in their own unique way, and the artists range from the beginner to the working artist, so some artists are able to create multiple pieces from one session, while others may sketch, take photos and do rough preliminary paintings and complete them at home.

Q: If someone wishes to join your group for plein air painting, how would they do that?

A: If you are a CAC member, there will be information sent out as soon as the next schedule is ready, usually in April. The website for CAC,, will also post the information for those who are not members starting in May when the sessions begin. The artist can arrive at the location, sign in and include their contact info if they wish to be invited to exhibit art in the December show. While the sessions are free, donations to the Cranbury Arts Council are always welcome, as well as membership applications available to those who wish to support the arts programming that CAC offers to the community.

The Art in the Park, “Cranbury Gardens 1X-Works from Art in the Park” will open Dec. 4 and will close Dec. 26. The Artists Reception will be held Dec. 4 from 1-3 PM. Come and meet the artists, and view the wonderful art work. Refreshments will be served. In addition to the Art work, there will be notecards (of paintings from the members of the Cranbury Arts Council) for sale at a very nominal cost.

Cranbury Gardens IX

Works from Art in the Park 2011

December 4-26

Reception Sunday December 4 from 1-3 pm

Hours: Mon-Fri 9 am-4pm, 1st and 3rd Sunday 1-3 pm, last Sunday closed for holiday
Linda Gilbert
"The Bicycle"

Amy Amico
"Fallen Beauty"

Tamara Woronczuk
"Patio Plant"

Please come to the Sunday Artist Reception at the Gourgaud Gallery, Cranbury Town Hall, to celebrate the art created from the Art in the Park plein air series sponsored by the Cranbury Arts Council. Each month from May to October, a different Cranbury property hosts local artists to capture the scenes offered at the beautiful farms, gardens and historic homes in Cranbury. Over 30 artists participated in this year’s series and the art will be on display through the month of December, making it a great time to purchase art for holiday gifts. All art that is sold gives a 20% donation to the Cranbury Arts Council in order to continue in its mission to promote and support the arts through its programs, classes, exhibits, summer art & technology camp and winter theatre camp.

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