Shelter-in-place has had a huge effect upon our daily life, and the visual arts community is no exception. The joint Livermore Art Association (LAA) and Pleasanton Art League (PAL) programs have been suspended until further notice, in accordance with county requirements. Many artists are trying to make the best use of this time, spending more time in the studio or finding creative, online means of connecting through art. While it may have connecting us in new and different ways, it is not without recognizing the impact sheltering in place has had upon the thriving celebration of art we have promoted in our community.

The LAA postponed the much-anticipated Spring Art Show, previously scheduled at The Barn in early April, and now rescheduled for Nov. 7 and 8. This is LAA’s premiere show, supported in part by a grant from the City of Livermore Commission of the Arts. Chaired by accomplished artist, Christine McCall, and a dedicated team of volunteers, this show has been held for over 60 years, and typically offers a unique opportunity for newer artists to exhibit alongside seasoned, experienced artists in all types of art media.

The Spring Art Show is more than just an exhibit. Its absence this spring reverberated beyond the two-day show. It is at events such as this that LAA encourages new artists to join and, in turn, enter more shows to display their work. These long-standing art shows and programs are open to the public and free of charge. They have become part of the rich, cultural landscape in the Livermore Valley, with events sponsored and hosted all around the Valley.

It is in this momentary pause that we feel the communal reach these shows and programs have, and how inclusive they can be to the wider community. Barbara Reynolds, an LAA member, has organized the Celebrate Women photography show for the last six years. The theme of this event allows participants to celebrate the women in their lives, creating powerful and intimate portraits in photography. The exhibit encourages involvement at all skill levels, once again drawing in new participants from the community, from first-time photographers and high school students through seasoned photographers. It is the constant influx of new participants that keeps the exhibits fresh and exciting. The exhibit, which normally takes place at the Livermore Library, will be postponed until next year. If the library is open this September, LAA will put up artwork in a special show.

The Essential Figure Fine Art Figurative show, normally in early May, has been postponed to Oct. 15 to 18 at the Bothwell Art Center. Organized by LAA member Barbara Stanton, an accomplished muralist and nationally recognized miniature artist, this event celebrates the natural beauty of the human form. This will be the 12th year for this show, which last year enjoyed more than 30 artist participants and over 90 pieces of art.

The shelter-in-place restrictions have not been without challenges, and not all events and shows could be rescheduled. The Art in the Vineyard event that has been held for 47 years was canceled this year and will resume in 2021. Run by Edmee Keele, the event is held at Wente Vineyards on Tesla Road. Surrounded by beautiful scenery, attendees enjoy wine tasting and live music while exploring the fine art exhibit.

Last year was the inaugural year for Paint Livermore, an endeavor led by LAA Board members Norma Webb and Diane Rodriquez to encourage participation in a plein air competition. Artists competed in the medium of their choice, painting the local scenery over a weekend in Livermore. The event was so popular, that in its first year, it attracted 26 artists, some driving in from hours away to participate. It will return next spring.

The Livermore Art Association Gallery, located upstairs in the Carnegie Building at 2155 Third St., celebrates the work of 25 artists, displaying oil, watercolor and acrylic paintings, photography, ceramics and glass art, felting and quilling art, as well as fine jewelry. Due to shelter-in-place, the gallery canceled the usually scheduled spring events including Mother’s Day Open House and graduation-themed gifts. The Gallery will open again soon, possibly with new hours; follow the website for opening date and details.

Last year was also the first year of Art in the Park, sponsored by the Gallery and run by Gallery Director Peggy Kervin. The event was a wonderful success for the gallery, featuring many arts and craftspeople showing and selling their work from their booths around the Carnegie building. This year’s Art in the Park is scheduled to proceed this year on Sunday, Aug. 16. For more information, visit gallery@livermoreaart.org.

Interested in joining LAA? Membership is open to all artists and supporters of the visual arts at membership@livermoreart.org. The association’s income has been greatly reduced due to the pandemic, so any donations are appreciated and can be sent to P. O. Box 216, Livermore, CA 94551.