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Art league closure temporary, donations sought

By Kathy Prucnell, Islander Reporter

Anna Maria Island Art League president Laura McGeary waits May 26 in the doorway to the gallery, 5312 Holmes Blvd., Holmes Beach, which closed May 18. McGeary was awaiting artists to collect work from the recent show. Islander Photo: Bonner Joy

Anna Maria Island Art League president Laura McGeary told artist Rob Reiber May 26 at the gallery, that “nothing is canceled.”

She quickly corrected herself to say the children’s summer art camp has been canceled, but even that may be resurrected if she can find volunteers to put it on.

The gallery and art league facilities at 5312 Holmes Blvd., Holmes Beach, were abruptly closed May 19, when then-executive director Christina Reginelli resigned, put notices on the doors stating “closed until further notice,” and locked the doors behind her.

McGeary was at the league facilities last week to make arrangements with artists who need to collect their artwork from a recent show at the gallery.

McGeary said artists were scheduled to collect work May 29-30.

She said artists also may contact her to arrange picking up their work.

Last week, the signs posted on gallery doors that first read “closed” were changed to “on vacation.” Also last week, the league’s website was updated, cancelling all classes and workshops “until further notice,” including Kids Camp 2012.

While McGeary said she would not comment further on why the league closed its office and facilities or any plans to reopen the art center, she stood by her previous comments that the league closure is not permanent.

She sent a statement last week saying the league is struggling financially and is need of assistance.

“Together,” she said, “we can keep the art league you’ve appreciated and helped by volunteering, open and growing.”

She said donations — $25, $50, $100, or more — “can help make this happen.”

McGeary urged donations be made quickly, setting a deadline of June 16. She asked checks be mailed to the art league address, 5312 Holmes Blvd., Holmes Beach FL 34217.

She also suggested that anyone wishing to make a larger donation should call her directly.

She said assistance is needed to “continue providing the community visual arts educational resources and numerous events.”

The league has a 22-year history on Anna Maria Island, showcasing local talent, offering art classes, camps and workshops.

It also sponsors two art and craft festivals each year at the Holmes Beach city field that draw crowds of 10,000 or more eventgoers, Winterfest and Springfest, which, according to the league’s website, provide funds for the art center and its scholarship program.

McGeary said the two annual festivals put on by the art league not only help sustain the league and its scholarship programs, but also benefit the participating artists and the community.

The league’s landlord, artist Richard Thomas, also said he expected the closure to be temporary. He declined further comment.

Reginelli recently told The Islander the league board met May 16, and she believed there were financial problems. She said she resigned May 18 and posted the signs on the door.

Several board members also told the newspaper they had resigned, but declined to comment on the closure.

“When there needs to be an announcement,” McGeary said of the league reopening, “it will be made.”

McGeary can be reached at 941-704-3708 or 4art4ever@gmail.com.

One Response to Art league closure temporary, donations sought

  1. Leslie Robbins says:

    I think further investigation as to why the majority of the members of the board resigned under the leadership of Laura McGeary needs to addressed.

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