Since its inception three years ago, artists have continued to share their work at Arts on the Coast’s summer exhibit.

This year’s “Connected to the Sea” theme embodies the unique coastal beauty our region. From streams, rivers, tidal creeks and barrier islands to the sea, this exhibit will showcase the aesthetically pleasing, and highly important, connections between the land we occupy and its dependence on surrounding waterways.

“Connected to the Sea," hosted by Photopoint Gallery and Elmgren’s Garden Center in Richmond Hill, kicks off with an opening reception from 5-8 p.m. June 28.

“The Photopoint Gallery is where the garden meets art," said Joy Dunigan, one of two serving vice presidents at Arts on the Coast. "So many people come to the Garden Center, then happen to find the gallery, and immediately, you see people relax and enjoy the art that is on display by local artists.

“The gallery space was perfect for sharing with all of my artist friends. We hosted the first Holiday Artist Collective in 2015, so hosting the AOC annual exhibit in 2016 seemed like a pretty natural thing to do, so we did.”

 

AOC affords artists like Charles Opper the opportunity to expand their reach. A resident of Midway, Opper is a software engineer who finds solace in his artwork.

“I rediscovered my love for the arts after a 20-year hiatus,” Opper said. After feeling creatively unbalanced, there was an “internal festering," he said, to get back to creating.

This year will be Opper’s second time participating in the AOC show. While he has found success utilizing social media platforms, this exhibit is special because it can help artists get their start, especially in areas that may not have art communities.

“[The] art community in Midway is not nonexistent, it’s just small,” said Opper.

“Having AOC enriches a community and offers up something for everyone,” Dunigan added. “As an artist, I am a bit biased, but I really don’t think any community can have enough organizations like AOC, because most artists always lean toward giving back to their community in some shape or form. AOC unites creative personalities, artists and their mediums — professional or not — which typically introduces other great opportunities that bring people together and furthers fellowship amongst all artists.”

Area artists can still participate in this juried show, as entries are being accepted through June 23. Artists must submit an entry form at artsonthecoast.org.

The June 28 opening reception, Ogeechee Riverkeeper Night, will feature catering by Richmond Hill’s City Center. A portion of sales generated that night will benefit Ogeechee Riverkeeper, a nonprofit organization that serves to protect, preserve and improve the water quality of the Ogeechee River Basin.

As for this year’s exhibit, Dunigan said, “I hope that we’ll see the rise of more junior artists. It is so cool to see young, aspiring artists take that big leap and enter their art to be seen alongside other working artists. We are also always excited to see new faces. We tend to see anywhere from five to 10 new artists each year.”