Skip Eby, a founding member of the Ormond Beach Art Guild, was recently honored with a Lifetime Membership award.
When Ormond Beach Senior Center Manager Teddy Blauvelt started his job, they were in the midst of a hurricane. While scrambling to make sure everything was secure before the storm hit, Blauvelt overheard some members discussing what to do with their art pieces.
"I remember they were saying 'I have to get all my paintings out of the closet,' Blauvelt recalled. "I guess the last time we had a hurricane, the closet flooded and everything inside was ruined. So I asked them 'Why are you keeping your artwork in closets?'"
Apparently, the Ormond Beach Art Guild members had an overwhelming amount of artwork and not enough wall spaces at home and relatives to send it off to. Lucky for them, Teddy Blauvelt though the walls of the senior center were looking pretty bare.
"I told them to get their artwork out of the closet and get it up on our walls," he said. "They've made the senior center a much lovelier place to be."
The group has been meeting at the senior center every Tuesday almost since its conception in 1983. One of the six founding members, Skip Peirce Eby, was recently honored with a Lifetime Membership Award for her contribution to the group's mission of place where artists can share their work non-competitively.
"It started off with six of us who just wanted to meet one day and week and be able to paint anything we want with no instructors or rules," Eby said. "I think with each person, the painting is very personal. You paint what you want to paint and it's more rewarding to see it go down on paper."
Today, the group consists of 28 members and they hold at least two free shows a year. Eby said it's important for communities to have free art and culture available because not everyone can afford to pay for those things.
"Well it gives the opportunity for the community to go and see a good art exhibit with no charges," she said. "They can walk through The Casements or the library and see a complete show of artwork that is very very good. For a community of our size, that's important."
Mayor Ed Kelley agrees that diverse programs like the Ormond Beach Art Guild are critical to keeping the community unique.
"It provides a dimension that shows how Ormond Beach can appeal to the interest of everyone," he said. "Whether it's art, history, sports or parks, or it is another extension of why Ormond Beach is community of choice choice."
Though the art guild has been a part of Eby for so long, she recently had to drop out out due to health issues. She won a battle against lung cancer "many years ago," but the radiation therapy caused some damage that led to her having to be on oxygen 24/7. About a year ago she had to stop painting.
"The morning is the worst time for me and I have not been in good shape," she said. "I haven’t been doing any art work at all, but I’m hoping that I’ll feel better soon and I’ll start to paint again."
The foresight of Eby and the other founding members to see the need for artists to share their love of art in a non-competitive environment has been a great motivation for the Ormond Beach based group. The Ormond Beach Art Guild shows at both the Library and the Casements and individual artists show in other venues around the city and the state.
Want to be a part of the Ormond Beach Art Guild?
For more information, call 671-1879.