More than 120 attend opening

When the volunteers at the Joe Center for the Arts decided to hold a Member Show a goal was to build the membership base for the fledgling organization.

The breadth and depth of the talent that would come forward to display their work in the space at 201 Reid Ave. was a most significant side benefit.

“We are really impressed with the quality of the local talent,” said Cheryl Ploegstra. “Given that there was just three weeks from the call out to the show, the quality is really amazing.

“Next year we should have twice as many artists.”

By the time of the exhibit opening last Saturday, 30 artists, from Apalachicola to Mexico Beach, had their work, from ceramics to weaving to oil and acrylic paintings to photography, jewelry and pottery, on display.

“Opening it up to multi-dimensional art really opened up the show,” Ploegstra said. “We have artists from all along this portion of the Forgotten Coast.”

Last Saturday, more than 120 people attended the opening.

“This is a great open space and you put 100 people in here and it really comes alive,” Ploegstra said. "Each of the openings we've had the turnout has been more than we could have expected."

Those attending the opening were asked to vote for their favorite works, with the night ending with the awarding of “The Joe’s People Choice Award.”

Elizabeth (Libby) Newman of St. Joe Beach, won the award for her acrylic painting “Follow.”

“I was amazed that my work was selected … out of the huge variety of fantastic artwork on display,” Newman said. “We are really fortunate to have this new venue for the arts in Port St. Joe.”

Newman is also emblematic of one impressive segment of the artists who work is in the Member Show; possessing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drawing and Painting from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Another artist is a former professor of the arts from the Colorado.

The Member Show will remain open to the public Thursdays and Fridays (10 a.m. until 6 p.m. ET) and Saturdays (10 a.m. until 2 p.m. ET) through April 20.

Entrance is free.

The next events at The Joe Center for the Arts are Forgotten Coast en Plein Air (May 4-13, 2018) and an exhibit by the 120 plein air artists attending the Plein Air South convention (May 18-June 20).

The Joe is a recently-opened art center whose mission is to educate, exhibit, partner and inspire through the arts. Future programming will include classes, workshops, lectures and demonstration for children and adults, and exhibits and community showcases. The community can become involved via memberships, classes, volunteering or just enjoying art events.

Renovated in 2017 into climate controlled gallery space, classroom space and handicap accessible bathrooms, The Joe Center for the Arts is sponsored by the Forgotten Coast Cultural Coalition (FCCC).