It’s quite rare to find an original painting, drawing or photograph by a local East End artist for less than $1,000, but Southold Historical Museum is in the midst of a special sale where each piece costs far less — $100, no matter which one an interested collector might buy.
Benefiting the museum, the Ten Squared online art exhibition and sale includes more than 50 fabulous works of art by more than 25 artists, each measuring 10 x 10 inches and priced lower than dinner for two at a mid-range restaurant. The current show, running for one month, November 15–December 15, is themed “Winter Wonders” and the available works reflect that theme, some more closely than others.
“The artists are appreciating it and it’s not juried, so it’s really the artists’ interpretation of the theme,” explains Southold Historical Museum Executive Director Deanna Witte-Walker, adding, “We get all different works, we get works from younger people, very skilled, well-known artists — we get a whole range of different interests and levels.”
Mostly from the Hamptons and North Fork, the list of artists in Winter Wonders include names such as Randee Daddona, Lee Cleary, Carolyn Bunn, Kip Bedell, Lee Harned, Kathleen Young, Ann Fox and Kathleen McArdle, to name a few.
The paintings and photographs on view and for sale at southoldhistorical.org comprise a broad spectrum of subject matter, including everything from snowy landscapes to portraits of birds, to images of the Horton Point and Coffee Pot lighthouses, still lifes, abstract and representational seascapes, trees, shells, and even historical scenes of winter life on the North Fork.
Due to the format’s popularity — and surely the $100 price tags that go with it — Ten Squared: Winter Wonders is actually the Southold Historical Museum’s second online show in the series this year. Over the summer, the museum saw great success with Ten Squared: Summer Solstice, which featured about 80 original works of art. They also produced two Ten Squared shows in 2020, which was the first year the exhibition moved online from the in-person format they’d used since the shows began in 2018.
“We had this first in-person, and then when COVID hit we switched to doing it virtually. … We were already planning it, so we said, ‘How can we do it?’ And we quickly were able to figure out how to work it on our website and do the purchasing,” Witte-Walker says, explaining that doing the shows online has actually been better in some ways.
“One of the advantages of having it virtually is that we can keep the exhibit up for the whole month,” she continues, pointing out that, in the past, the selection of work on view would diminish as people walked away with the pictures they bought. Now, even if someone insists upon getting ahold of their art before the show’s conclusion, the image is marked “sold,” but remains on the website for all to admire. “And that supports the local artists whether they sell a painting or not.”
The museum announced the show and its theme back in September when Witte-Walker began asking artists to submit up to three pieces each. As per the format, works could be in any medium, but they had to measure exactly 10 x 10 inches and make some effort to reflect the Winter Wonders theme.
At the time, Witte-Walker wrote, “’Winter’ is a huge concept, so you’ll want to narrow down your creative ideas into a more cohesive theme. It might be winter on the North Fork, it might be a certain culture’s myths and traditions about winter, or it might be interpretations of winter seen through the eyes of different people. What are the natural processes governing winter? What animals and plants thrive during winter? Seasons of change are coming. Share your interpretation, literal or symbolic, of Winter Wonders.”
But in the end, the executive director says they would never turn away work unless it was somehow offensive or wildly inappropriate. Each participating artist agrees to split the $100 evenly, giving the museum $50 per piece to help support their programs year-round.
“When an artist like Randee Daddona or Lee Harned or Ty [Stroudsburg] (who is not is this sale) submit, they’re not doing it because they’re looking to make money on it. They’re not doing it to get their name out there. They’re doing it to support the museum and they want the work to be hung in someone’s home,” Witte-Walker observes
For novices or lesser-known artists, she says the shows can be a good way to get their work seen and make a few bucks. The buyers, meanwhile, can pick up a quality piece of art for a bargain, and no matter who’s selling, the museum gets a little help keeping the lights on.
In other words, with these Ten Squared shows, everyone wins.
Visit southoldhistorical.org to join the fun — but don’t wait, pieces are selling fast.