The group has a website, www.vaalart.com, where “we hope to raise the visibility of our ‘home-grown’ artists in the larger community,” said Signe Grushovenko, co-director and founding member of the arts organization.
The 3-year-old group has had a website, though it has undergone a number of changes.
“One of our main missions is to help our artists to connect with the public, so in the first year, we decided we should have some sort of local artist database. This way, if a designer, local business or individual is looking to purchase artwork, they have a way to shop
local first,” Grushovenko said.
“Obviously, in this day and age, online is the best and most efficient way to do this.”
Of the website’s new look, which “really doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but it has lots of great art,” Grushovenko said, “We think it is very important to keep the website fresh and interesting. Because we have so many members’ works featured there, it is a bit of a job to change out everyone’s images, but we’d like to do that at least once a year.
“The main thing is that we are adding new members and new work by those members all of the time. It is exciting to me to go there and see that there is such a fantastic variety of creative work being made in our own community.”
Grushovenko believes the website is a “great visual tool for us to demonstrate who our members are. If someone contacts us with an opportunity to show or sell work, we can easily refer them to the website to see members’ work. A great illustration of this is that we
were contacted in early 2010 by an art consultant looking to place original work at the new West Georgia Health System building. They found the website through a web search for LaGrange area artists, called us up, and we were able to assist about a half dozen of our artists in selling nearly 50 works. This was not only a fantastic sales opportunity, but such an honor for our artists to be chosen to be part of such a fine public collection.”
Included on the website are application materials for joining the organization.
“We are interested in having members at all levels … beginner to professional … and want to encourage any and every creative individual in the Chattahoochee Valley area to join us,” Grushovenko said.
Of changes within VAAL itself, she said, “I think the organization is definitely changing. We are constantly coming up with new things to offer our membership and then stepping back and looking at what ‘stuck’ and what didn’t. I would say that the website and the brochure have both been a huge success and are programs that we will continue with into the future. Our exhibitions have all also been quite successful. In addition, we have also offered plein aire painting outings, group critiques, workshops, open studio sessions and social outings. My favorite events, and those that are usually best attended, are when our artists come together to share their new works.”
Art, even on the web, is very important, Grusho-venko said.
“Pablo Picasso said it best, ‘Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.’
“I think it is a great reminder of why we make art and why art is important in our, and every, community,” Grushovenko said. “Art spurs a deeper level of thought and emotion that we often might breeze on by in the course of our ordinary, hectic days.”
Becky Holland may be reached at bholland@ lagrangenews.com and (706) 884-7311, Ext. 229.