This month, local artist and art teacher Margie Sawyer will share the spotlight at Arts of the Albemarle with 12 of her students.
AoA is presenting “Sawyer and Company” as its featured artists of the month for October. The first viewing of their work begins Friday at 5 p.m.
“It will be interesting when we hang the art in this show,” Sawyer said of the exhibit. “I feel it’s good to show the public a variety of art and show them the talent that is here. I’ve wanted to do this a long time: show my students work.”
Sawyer’s own work appears in private and corporate collections throughout the United States and Europe, including the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark.
She has received 12 residencies from the Vermont Studio Center and studied with nationally known painters. Most recently, she was one of 25 artists awarded a fellowship by the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, for writers, composers and visual artists in Amherst, Virginia.
Currently, Sawyer is a painting instructor at COA. Her 12 students displaying artwork at AoA include Beth Rowe, Lois Baccus, Becky Brown, Hunter Michael, Nancy Cunningham, Kristin Johnson, Jaquelin Curry, Sharon Butner, Terry Saunders, Virginia Madden, Cindy Hayes, Lynne Hutchins, Linda Morris, and Shu Liu. Each will show five pieces.
Sawyer, a New Jersey native, arrived in Elizabeth City 25 years ago with her husband Gene. She says she met a well-known painter, Jacqueline Jenkins, who was highly influential in her development as an artist. Now, one of Jenkins’ daughters takes classes from Sawyer.
Sawyer said she finds plenty of inspiration for her work.
“I’ve been painting a long time; now it’s my life,” she said. “This is a good place to live and paint because the landscapes, water, the beaches, the vegetation, the farmland, the outdoor scenes — it’s all here. From Elizabeth City to the Outer Banks ... there is so much to inspire you.”
One of the artworks Sawyer plans to display Friday is a mixed media piece. She said mixed media is popular because it allows artists “more freedom” of expression.
“If you are using acrylic paint it mixes with most anything,” she said. “You can apply anything you want to your canvas — even sand or fabric. It’s any kind of material: glue, newspaper, papers from a magazine that become a collage. You can add leaves or yarn in mixed media.”
Sawyer said the exhibit will include other types of art as well. She’s hoping for a good response.
“We just hope this variety brings people back downtown to enjoy art,” she said.
Allison Cianciulli, gallery manager at Arts of the Albemarle, said the arts group is also looking forward to hosting the “Sawyer and Company” exhibit as its first art show of the fall.
“We are very excited to have these artists choose AoA to exhibit their works and look forward to showing and sharing with our friends and citizens here in Elizabeth City,” she said.