Newspaper Articles

*   $3,000 in prizes to be awarded at Juried Spring Art Exhibition                                                                                                         
Azalea Festival  Your Guide April-2004                                  Wilmington Morning Star
By Amanda Green
Staff Writer

The Wilmington Art Association doesnít host the Juried Spring Art Exhibition for the money.  Though the show is technically a fund-raiser, many times, the group loses money on the event once all the bills are paid.  But the association continues the event, now in itís 22nd year, for the love of art.
     "Our purpose is to support the visual arts and promote competition through the artists and the encourages them to paint better," said Barbara Allinson, president of the art association.
     This year, the event has attracted 125 artists and about 250 pieces of their work from across the state.  The show is open 10a.m.-5:30p.m. April 2-4 in St. Thomas Preservation Hall, 208 Dock St.
     Luana Loconi winner of Raleigh is this yearís exhibition judge.  she was just chosen to represent the United States in a show of contemporary art in Italy.  In the Wilmington area, sheís known for her commissioned art.
     The artists bring in their work March 29, "and she selects the pieces that will stay in the show and then selects the winners out of that group," said event chairwoman and artist MJ Cunningham.  This year, prizes total $300, plus the organization gives out awards in memory of area artists as well as awards and merchandise from art supply companies.  
     The association also gives awards of $150 each to two high school students for the best pieces from younger artists.  
     Looking at the art is free, but if you purchase a work, 30 percent of the proceeds go to the WAA, and 70 percent goes to the artist.  In addition, you can purchase tickets to win three pieces of artwork in a drawing during the show, Ms. Allinson said.

*   Find fine arts at the festival:                              Wilmington Morning Star    3-31-2004
By Zach Hanner - Correspondent
New Hanover Neighbors: 343-2319

Want to go?

Where: Wilmington Art Associationís Juried Spring Fine Arts Show and Sale.

When: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Friday-Sunday at St. Thomas Preservation Hal, 208 Dock St.

Admission: Free.

Wilmingtonís annual Azalea Festival attracts all sorts of interesting performers, merchants and culinary delights. But if you prefer fine art to funnel cake, thereís one stop you canít miss on your Azalea Festival tour.

Running concurrently with the festival, the 22nd annual Wilmington Art Association Juried Spring Fine Arts Show and Sale will offer residents and tourists alike an opportunity to sample the creations of more than 200 local and regional artists.

"We have some really wonderful art," said M.J. Cunningham, chairwoman of the event. "Weíve publicized it all over and have gotten responses from a lot of different levels of artists."

A few years ago, the WAA broadened its format to accept three-dimensional art or sculpture, as well as the typical two-dimensional works. It still does not allow photography or computer-generated or airbrush work.  All art must be original, created in the past two years and never have been displayed in a WAA show.

With $2,500 in prizes, the competition gives local artists a chance to shine and make some money. The top prize is $500 and all the works are available for sale, with most of the money going back to the artist.

Typically, more than 1,000 visitors come through the show during the weekend, WAA President Barbara Allinson said.

This year, internationally recognized artist Luana Luconi Winner is the juror. Ms. Winner, who lives in Raleigh, is primarily a portrait painter and is a founding member of the Portrait Society of America. She was recently chosen to represent the United States in the fourth edition of the International Contemporary Art Show in Italy.

"Sheís got quite a resume," Ms. Cunningham said.

The benefits of showing oneís work cannot be underestimated, according to Ms. Allinson, who works mostly in watercolors and has been painting and showing for about 10 years. She offers advice for artists reluctant to share their work in a public forum.

"Itís better hanging out in front of people than sitting in your basement," she said. "The only way youíre going to grow is to expose your work. Every time you put something out there, you learn something from the experience."

*   Arts council startup seeks business support          Wilmington Morning Star   2-20-04
By Amanda Greene
Staff Writer

G.E. Nuclear president and CEO Andrew White has firsthand knowledge of the arts' economic impact on business.

One of his employees from Atlanta was considering moving her family to Wilmington to take a job with G.E. Nuclear, but she was worried about how the move would affect her daughter, a high school junior who loves theater.

" But once her daughter visited Ashley High School and saw the beautiful theater they have there, I think that was the deciding factor for their move to Wilmington," he said, speaking to about 150 people Thursday night at the Greater Wilmington Arts Alliance's Arts Awareness Gathering at City Hall.

The meeting, aimed at the business community, was the first in a series of events promoting a new nonprofit arts council in Wilmington. The former agency, The Arts Council of the Lower Cape Fear, folded in 2002 in the midst of budget problems. The meeting will be re-broadcast at 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Feb. 25-29 on the city's Time Warner Cable channel, GTV-8.

Speakers emphasized the economic impact of the arts on Wilmington's businesses to solicit support for the group to become an arts council in a year.

"The relationship between businesses and the arts is, now more than ever, symbiotic," said Scott Satterfield, executive director of Wilmington Industrial Development. "From my standpoint, arts are good for business."

Connie Nelson, communications manager for the Cape Fear Coast Convention Center & Visitors Bureau, said 81 percent of traveling adults in the nation are historic or cultural travelers who spend their money with local businesses.

The downsides of not having an arts council are higher taxes, reduced quality of life and less tourism, Ms. Nelson said.

"The arts have really reclaimed some areas for the public in cities. We think that the arts are a strong underpinning of a free and independent society," in the way artists comment on society with their work, said Mary Regan, executive director of the N.C. Arts Council. She encouraged Wilmington to form another arts council and quoted a recent study from the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., that found frequent attendees of arts events are very likely to vote and attend local sporting events.

"We need an arts council desperately here," she added.

No one knows that more than Barbara Allinson, president of the Wilmington Art Association. Her group, which runs The Wilmington Gallery, hasn't applied for grants actively since the former arts council folded.

"I think we will definitely apply for more grants once another arts council is formed," she said. "There's great advantages to having an arts council, like having someone to give you classes on how to prepare grants."

Tom Cunningham, vice president of community development for the Greater Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, learned some new things about Wilmington's arts scene at the meeting.

"One of the roles the business community plays, obviously, is helping with the funding of the arts community," he said. "Where arts communities are strong, they're strong because they have a lot of backing from businesses such as banks."

The Greater Wilmington Arts Alliance asked for people to join an advisory committee. The agency's next event will be 7 p.m. March 31 in Thalian Hall's ballroom and will encourage public participation in the organization.

*    An Art Show -Stopper                          Wilmington Morning Star,  April, 2002
    by Amanda Greene
    Excerpts from:
             "Find your inner Picasso at the Juried Spring Art Show and Sale"

     The Azalea Festival is more than just flowers and belles.  Art is a fundamental part of the event each year with the Azalea Festival Master Craft Show and Juried Spring Art Show and Sale.
     This is the ninth year for the Mater Craft show, sponsored by the Silver Coast Wine Company, and the 20th year for the Juried Spring Art Show and Sale, sponsored by the Wilmington Art Association.
     "This year we are including 3-D art for the first time and our judge is Martha Smith Brooks of Morehead City, past president of the North Carolina Watercolor Society and we're happy to have her here," said Barbara Allinson, chairwoman of the show.
     The show and sale will be from 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Friday- Saturday at St. Tomas Preservation Hall, 208 Dock St., with about 175 artists submitting up to two pieces of original art.  Ms. Smith Brooks selected the artists for the show.  The show offers more that $4,000 in prizes, including best in show, six merit awards and Peopleís Choice.  
There will be drawing for a framed lithograph by Mary Matteson Smith, a $95 value at 5 p.m. Sunday.
     "This is always a well-attended event, well-participated event full of wonderful artists from here to Virginia and New York to South Carolina," Mrs. Allinson said.

 *   Feature "Focus on Art"                                   Encore Magazine, March 2002
     "A Sample of Artists of the Cape Fear"   
     Barbara Allinson:   Artist

     Allinson considers herself a value painter, finding that vibrant and intense watercolors play an important part of expressing the mood of the subject.  She is a member of the Washington Watercolor Association, exhibiting member at The Wilmington Gallery and the 2002 Wilmington Art Association Spring Show Chairman.
*   Lifestyle                                                           The Daily Journal,  April 6, 2000
   by Tammy Minnigh
    Excerpts form:  "The budding of art"

     When you think of the library, you think of a collection of books, magazines, newspapers and maybe even a few computers hooked up to the internet.  But this month, Bull Run Regional Library also will boast a collection of paintings, sculptures and photographs by local artisans.
 the Manassas Art Guild is holding its first show at the library through April 29.  the 50-member guild is celebrating its 27th year of promoting fine arts and crafts in Prince William County.
The artwork will adorn the walls of the library and several display cases.
"It could be quite surprising," said guild spokeswoman Barbara Allinson.  "Usually, they bring their newest works."  
     Having an alternative forum for art is important for artists in the area, Allinson said.
"There aren't many places in Manassas other than the library or the Center for the Arts,"  to display work, she said.  "We try to display our artwork as much as we can"

*    Lifestyle                                                 The Daily Journal, November 18,1999
     by Lisa Samp
    Excerpts  from:  "Local artists on display"

For those interested in art or just shopping for the holiday gifts, the Manassas Art Guild will be holding its second annual holiday reception in early December.  
"The purpose of this open house is to give local artists a chance to build their confidence by competing with others," said the guild's president, Barbara Allinson.  
     The art will be judged by Ducan E. Tebow, Assistant Division Chairman for the Arts and Music
Department at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale.

*   Lifestyles                                                       The Daily Journal September 24,1999
    by Chalmers Hood
    Excerpts from " Coffee inspires artistic jolt"
  "Manassas Art Guild show pleases the palate and the soul"

     Coffee, the tasty beverage that made empires, crated fortunes and caused happiness and misery for millions is available at The Lazy Bean coffee shop in both form and spirit.  That's where the Manassas Art Guild has just opened its fall exhibit centered around the theme of java.
     Manassas Art Guild President Barbara Allinson, who has led her small crowd of artists through a renaissance of artistic expression, suggested the coffee theme for this exhibit.  The Lazy Bean has been one of three main exhibits spaces for their artists over the past couple of years, but never before has there been such a blending of themes.
     The walls are covered with art devoted to the aromatic black stuff.  Along side are two other, non-coffee related exhibits including works which have won local and regional prizes.  But it is the imaginary smell of the beans from the Guild's display that draw the most attention.
     Half of the wall space in The Lazy Bean is covered with every imaginable two-dimensional interpretation of pots, cups and brown liquid - as well as the socializing that erupts when all three are mixed together.  
     The Guild has always been the home for more than just painting.  In fact, Allinson's personal crusade is an educational one.  She wants to expose members to one another's style and even to bring in outside artists to teach their own secrets.  Under her, the Manassas Art Guild has become not just a collection of burgeoning artists, but a informal school of art.

*    Manasses Celebrates the Arts     Manassas Journal Messenger, April 8, 1999

     The Manassas Art Guild is in its 27th year and is going stronger than ever with 42 (and counting members.)  They will exhibit in the old Piedmont Bank Lobby, 9324 West St., all day Saturday and Sunday.  They also exhibit at The Lazy Bean on Church St, where you can look at the length at the art while enjoying a great cup of coffee or one of the spectacular iced coffees they offer.
     The Guild's primary function, say's president Barbara Allinson, is to promote and encourage arts in the  community,  "The Guild used to be more of a fine crafts group by now we have fine arts, fine crafts, pottery, textile arts, everything."  When she took over two years ago she worked to build the membership.  The group has blossomed almost three times its size since then.  "My primary goal was to promote not only the Guild but the members and their art - to help them find places to exhibit and sell it," she said.
     The group is non-profit, welcomes everyone from beginners to professional artists, does not require members to be "juried in," has a modest membership fee of $20 annually and has been very successful in selling the art of its members in the different venues they have participated in.  They have continuing exhibits at The Lazy Bean and the Prince William County Office of Economic Transportation.  In addition they participate by exhibiting their work at productions of Vpstart Crow's Shakespeare in the Woods" festival and other Vpstart Crow productions.
     "We have artists who do all kinds of work- a photographer who does a lot of Manassas Battlefield scenes, a lady who does ceramic sculptures-definitely not run of the mill stuff - a fellow who does really unusual mixed-media work with, oil, acrylic, air brush and watercolor, quite a few artists who work with watercolor,  just a lot of very innovative work,"  Allinson said.

*    Tempo - Lifestyles                                   Prince William Journal, March 26, 1999
     by Chalmers Hood
    Excerpts from "Manassas Art Guild Opening day Magic"

     I've been chasing after the Manassas Art Guild since December, trying to do a piece on their work.  Finally last Sunday afternoon, I tracked them down at an opening of a show at the Center for the Arts.
     Actually, their work isn't all that hard to fine; it hangs in a number of places in and about Manassas, including the Bull Run Library, the Office of Economic development, the soon-to-opened Borders near Interstate 66 and along both walls of the Lazy Bean Coffee Shop on Center Street, just one block away from the train station.
     What makes this group so interesting is in part their work but also the way they organize themselves, which is quit different from the coops in Occoquan, which I have reported on before.
     The Manassas Art Guild is 26 years old and has gone through about three generations of artists who have passed through is ranks.
     Unlike the Loft Gallery and Artists Undertaking, the Manassas guild does not own a space nor do members function as a business entity.
     This is a fairly large group of some four dozen artists, mostly painters but also including some three dimensional artists and at least one photographer.  It also includes people at very different levels of professional development from those who starting to marketing their work.  I would have thought this variety world be inherently self-destructive, but I found it is this quality that is the life blood of this artistic confederacy.  Everything is decentralized with only two goals in mind to encourage individual members and to find places to show the fruits of their labor to the public.
     The collection at The Lazy Bean is a perfect starting place to get some feel for what these people do.  The space is small and so are the pieces, which Guild members are showing there.
     Behind the show, and the artists are Barbara Allinson and Michele Fantz, whose work also hangs at The Lazy Bean but who also double as president and vice-president of the Manassas Art Guild.
     Allinson has a fascinating miniature watercolor, entitled "Rhythm in Blue."  She calls the style "painting from within," which means she starts with no plan in mind, permitting her hands and eye to toy with the colors.  She finishes with pen and ink to add form to the pastel shades, in this case it is a flower.  
     Allinson came to the guild at a time, she says, when an earlier generation of artists were moving off, leaving the future of the guild in some doubt.  It was here that her other talents as organizer, teacher and even psychologist came into play.
     She learned elsewhere what makes a guild work well.   "It's not a "I" thing," she says intently while pointing, "it's a "We" thing."  
     For her there are two ongoing interrelated goals:  to build up the number of members representing all stages of artistic development and to provide opportunities to show and sell the work.  
     She admits to having an uncanny knack for  finding public wall space, like camels finding water, where she hangs the shows.  In April alone, the Guild will have work on display in five locations in and about Manassas.  Allinson feels strongly that the value of an art group is in developing talent and it is in this aspect that I relate her efforts to those informal French schools of the last century.  
     Allinson and Frantz organize meetings for the members building around a different topic every month.  It might be a guest artist who comes in to critique member's works. It might be a class on marketing or how to mat and frame paintings, or it might be a slide show on the evolution of the work of some distant artist over his or her lifetime.
     In asking Barbara Allinson how much time her job as President takes, she smiles and says, "more than you would thing."  But she still has time for her own creativity, which in part we see hanging on the wall and in part we don't see because it is behind the others who got their work on the wall through Allinson's encouragement.

*    Diversions                                                               Potomac News     March, 1999
    Four Artists, "Four Seasons"
    by Rick Muirragui

     It wasn't glamorous work.  The four women whose paintings make up the art exhibit "Four Seasons"  at the Center for the Arts in Old Town Manassas didn't just turn their pieces over to a gallery and magically wait for the birth of a handsome show.
     Instead, the four -- Barbara Allinson, Michele Frantz, Janet Hansen, and Roxanne Steed -- showed up at the Center on Feb. 28, the day before the exhibit was to open, and put their paintings in a big pile.  
Looking for pieces that would fit the categories spring, summer, fall and winter, the artists debated and discussed where paintings belonged.  Then, two women hung up paintings while a third judged wall placement.  The fourth woman wrote out labels for the 50 pieces in the exhibit.
     The women ordered pizza and it never came.  They called again and got their order for free.  When they finished at 10 that night, eight hours after starting, the women stepped back and admired their work.  "It turned out to be more of a major event," said Frantz of putting the exhibit together.  "It was tiring, but we enjoyed it."
     Now, the four are hoping the  public will enjoy it, to.  "Four Seasons," on display  until March 27, takes up three rooms and a hallway at the Center for the Arts, at 9001 Center St., Manassas.  The artists, all members of the Manassas Art Guild, were sitting around one day and said, "Let's have an art show," Allinson said.
     The artists paint in different styles and with different materials, including watercolors, pastel, oil and ink.  As a group, they've known each other for about three years, looking to each for support and criticism.  All have won various contests and exhibited at sites around the area.  Frantz won best in show at a contest in Dumfries and a merit award in Prince William County.  Hansenís "Down the Potomac: Metagraywacke," which is on display in the "Four Seasons," was selected in 1988 for the prestigious National Arts for the Parks collection.  Steed has placed in exhibits in Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Northern Virginia,  and Allinson won an honorable mention in a Art Guild contest, as well as best in show at the Prince William County Art Fair, for "Sweet and Juicy," which is also included in "Four Seasons."
     As a way to gain some exposure, the four presented their proposal for an art show about the seasons to the Center for the Arts.  When the show was approved, they put the pieces together and were mildly surprised at the results.  "Each of us had talked about doing our own exhibition," Frantz said.  "We thought our work went well together and would make a nice-looking show."
     Although they paint in different styles, the women share a similar sensibility, Frantz said.
     One of the attractions of the exhibits is the number of local landscapes depicted.  
In the spring room, Hansen hung her paintings "The Old Rose Garden," which is at Sudley Manor and "Jennie Dean Church."
     In the winter room, Frantz shows her "Snow Closings," a painting of a barn off Bristow Road covered in snow.   "Down the Potomac" in the winter room is a scene from Great Falls as seen from the Maryland side.
     What surprised the women was how well the paintings fit together.  Allinsonís "Imperial Summit" matched up well with Frantzís "Early Snow" in the winter room.
     In the fall hallway, Steedís "September view from Henry Hill" was complemented by Frantzís "Touch  of Gold."  And so on.
     Frantz admits she has a favorite room, with the official start of a new season only nine days away, the paintings in the spring room anticipate the coming period of warmth and sunshine.   But she hopes viewer will "respond to the moods" of all the rooms.
     The four also would like "Four Seasons" to bring more exposure to area artists.  The Manassas Art Guild has more than 30 members and there is some good work to be found, Allinson said.  Frantz agreed.
     The "Four Seasons" artists "have been at it for some time now," Frantz said.
     "I'm hoping people are aware that there are some professional quality artists in the area,"  she said.      

 *  Prince William Extra                              The Washington Post    Sept 21, 1997
      Excerpts from "Area Arts Groups Pine For A Home They Can Count On "    
     by Tara Mack

     Space is also an issue for visual arts groups.  Barbara Allinson, president of the Manassas Art Guild, said the only places available for hanging art are public libraries and government buildings.  Neither offers an artsy ambiance, she said, nor are the artists allowed to put price tabs on the pieces, making it difficult to sell their work.
     "A lot of the public doesn't even know that we exist because of the lack of exposure," Allinson said.  "We have had a lot of good members in our organization that have dropped out because of the lack of support we get from the community."

 *   "Someday" Painter, Seasoned Pros Welcome at Fairfax Art League    
       Fairfax City, Va.   Observer July, 1997
       by Brie Combs

      Are you a Sunday painter or a "someday" painter, or is your day not complete unless you have a brush I your hand?  either way, Fairfax Art League has plenty to offer you this summer.  You can pick up a new technique at one of FALís Brown Bag Demos, then put in some extra practice at an all-day sketching session.  Or you can browse fine art in air-conditioned comfort in the Fairfax Art League Gallery, on the second floor of Old Town Hall.  
     Brown Bag Demos:
     Pack a lunch and head for some cool comfort!  The FAL Gallery hosts workday Brown Bag Demos twice a month.  Recently mixed-media artist Kathleen Stark demonstrated collage techniques using torn tissue paper in bright colors along with some unusual handmade papers.  FAL president Barbara Allinson showed an easy to paint cactus and other Southwest subjects in acrylic gouache, using translucent washes and desert hues.  The FAL Galleryís next Brown Bag Demo will feature a "mystery artist" Thursday, July 24, 11a.m. -1p.m.

 Note:  All artwork featured on this site is copyrighted © by
Barbara E. Allinson unless otherwise noted.

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