Local resident Patty Kipps was running errands near the Williamsburg Regional Library Monday morning. She decided to stop by the library's art gallery to view paintings and photographs on display by Virginia Master Naturalists.
The exhibit, which will run for a few more weeks, piqued her interest. She decided to make a special trip.
"I knew there was an exhibit at the library and I wanted to see it," Kipps said, as she perused the pieces. "From what I am seeing, these look very nice."
The current exhibit is among one of seven hosted by the library this year. So far, interim program services director Rob Haas has booked groups for the library gallery through next March, with more in the offing throughout next summer. Some groups are new to the exhibit space, some return annually.
"We have regular groups that we always have, but there is no shortage of folks wanting to use the space. It is nice to have it booked," he said, adding that former program services director Patrick Golden who retired last year, "never had to scramble to fill in spots."
The location is prime and is one of the best deals in town—it's free. That's what makes it so attractive to groups. The biggest challenge is finding availablility in month-to-two-month increments. Exhibits have run the gamut from photography to quilts. Typically the exhibits highlight work from a group of students or organization members.
"Occasionally, there is a single artist who does a show," Haas explained, "But that is more rare."
The location directly outside the much-used library theater makes it an ideal spot. The gallery is located at the crossroads of several popular meeting rooms and provides straight access to the Youth Services section of the library.
"There is a lot of exposure for those who exhibit here," Haas said. "The traffic is very heavy."
Often those who attend cultural events at the theater arrive early to take in the exhibits. Some people purchase works, although the library isn't involved in that aspect.
"Folks are welcome to sell their pieces but they handle all of that on their own," Haas said. "We don't take a percentage, which is not like a typical gallery. We hear feedback that some of the artists do sell their work."
Haas has been at the job since last February, following Golden's retirement. He has worked at the library for 15 years, and enjoys spotlighting area arts groups. He works to balance the content of the exhibits, featuring a variety of media throughout the year. Groups can hang large pieces and have use of two lighted glass cabinets, which were donated by a local resident.
"The only restriction we have with exhibition is that we are limited in our ability to showcase three-dimensional pieces," he said. "We don't have pedestals to display 3-D works right now, but you never know."