The Greater Geneva Art Guild made its formal debut in the community with an art exhibit Nov. 9 and 10 at the Geneva History Center.
Nearly 40 artists exhibited their work in media including oil, watercolor, pottery, photography, wood carving, fused glass, colored pencil drawings, Gyotaku and metal sculpture.
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Friday night's invitation-only premiere featured live music, wine, catered food and an opportunity to preview the art. The exhibit was open to the public Saturday. More than 500 people attended Friday's party, said art guild President Lorraine Ochsner.
Ochsner said two factors made the event a success: the overwhelming attendance by community members and the guild members working together to help each other.
"It was received beautifully by the community," she said. Saturday's public exhibit attracted interested art lovers despite the rain.
Ochsner noted that the definition of a guild is "an association of people for mutual aid or the pursuit of a common goal," and the artists accomplished that by working together to create a phenomenal first exhibit.
"We worked like a team," Ochsner said.
"The event exceeded my expectations," said Andria Burchett, an art guild member who exhibited her colored pencil drawings.
It was an opportunity for her to work closely with her fellow member artists and learn more about their work.
"We see each other at meetings," she said. "It was nice to finally put a face with the artwork."
"The overwhelming response was a true appreciation for the talents of our area artists," added Paulette Borota, guild board member.
Artists also appreciated feedback from visitors.
"People have stopped and studied the art," said Jane Marbles, a painter and member artist. "They showed interest in the pieces. It made me want to create more art."
"People loved the variety of art," said Christina Lambert, owner of Circa in Geneva, who was exhibiting her nephew, Justin Burg's, intricate iron sculptures.
The exhibit created a nice sense of community, she said.
"Everyone pitched in for set up," she said. "I have never seen a group of people come together like these people," she said, noting that many art shows involve competition.
For Burchett, the event not only promoted the arts to the community, but also promoted bonding among artists.
"It's a very supportive group," Burchett said. "There is so much talent in the community."
Bonding with other artists is one of the perks of guild membership, said Ochsner's son Al, an art teacher at Geneva High School who exhibited his Gyotaku fish prints and wood sculpture.
"It's always good to be around creative thinkers," he said.
The objective of GGAG is to develop and promote the creative excellence of area talent and intensify the significance of local original visual art by community exposure and involvement.
For information about the Guild, visit www.ggaguild.com or find the Greater Geneva Art Guild on Facebook.