By PATRICK FORD
After a two-year hiatus, Menagerie has returned to the Fine Arts Center for the New River Valley, showcasing community artwork.
“This year’s exhibition features a number of new artists who have never participated in the center before,” said Jon Ross, FCC Chairman of the Board. “It increases our deeper reach into the rich vein of artistic talent that our region offers.” The exhibit is open through October 8 in the Edna B. Love Gallery at the Center, 21 W. Main St., Pulaski.
Executive Director Becky Lattuca led the gallery’s return in person and found that bringing people back to the room adds to the art.
“We had a great turnout at the reception and it was wonderful,” Lattuca said. “That’s the great thing about shows like this. When you have so many different artists on display, it’s great for the community to come and talk to someone who’s done this with pencil or this with welded steel. The exhibition mediums range from pencil and steel, mentioned by Lattuca, to photography, oil on canvas and sculpture.
Lattuca says the exhibit is special because it brings together artists from the community.
“I call a lot of [the exhibit] my favorite part, but one of my favorite parts is watching the artists start talking to each other,” she said. “They look up to each other, and often really cool collaborations come out of those spontaneous conversations.”
Menagerie has been a popular community exhibit for FCC for almost as long as the center has been around.
“It’s always nice to see the artistic community come together,” especially after two years, Lattuca said. “And it’s not just the arts, the whole community comes together both for and through the arts.”
She believes an important aspect of art is to bring communities together.
“Having this room with artists walking around and other people coming in to ask questions about their work was really nice,” she said. “It reminds us of how nice things are when we can all get together and talk about the things we have in common.”
Another unique aspect of the exhibition is that visitors can vote for their favorite piece.
“If you happen to have a favorite piece, we ask that you write the title of the piece and the name of the artist and place your vote in the box.” When the exhibition closes, the votes are tallied and the winner wins a $100 prize. The winner will be announced on October 20.