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Helping Artists Thrive at the Long Beach Art League

By Marina I. Jokic

An artistic haven, the Long Beach Art League in New York has been cultivating and supporting local artists since 1952. Its mission centers on stimulating creativity and proficiency in the arts while enabling individual members to realize their personal artistic potential. In that, the center has been very successful and has grown to 140 members.

Dina Fine is vice president at Long Beach Art League, and has been dedicated to meeting the needs of artists, photographers, and visitors who frequent the center on a daily basis. Originally founded by longtime resident and artist Leona Post with the help of some of her friends, the league eventually developed into a paid membership organization with an executive board consisting of professional as well as budding artists. Fine says that the center is above all dedicated to maintaining and promoting the highest quality artistic standards through their works and exhibits.

One of the center's main goals is to showcase local art and provide artists with an affordable venue to present their work to the public. Such services are, needless to say, in high demand, and it is through its modest membership fees and donations that it manages to accomplish its projects.

For instance, the center presents a program once a month at the Long Beach Public Library consisting of detailed slide lectures, hands-on workshops, guest artists sharing their expertise, and critiques of members' work. "Four times a year, we invite an artist to pick winners in a juried competition of our membership's art which is on exhibit for one month," adds Fine.

In addition, Fine says, members have the opportunity to display their creations at the Community Center on Magnolia Boulevard in Long Beach on a rotating basis for two months at a time?a great break for new artists in particular. Fine highlights the importance of the services the center provides especially to young artists, who are sometimes financially strapped or unsure of the business logistics of selling their work.

Artist: Rich Verity

During the summer months, from May until the end of October, Long Beach Art League, in its role as one of the sponsors of Arts in the Plaza, offers a space for members to display and sell their art. There are also interactive art learning sessions to draw more public participation such as the two-hour live model drawing sessions at the Community Center.

On the financial side, Long Beach Art League is supported by yearly membership dues and entry fees for entering shows and exhibits, all of which have been kept quite low thanks to a stipend from founder Leona Post. Collaborating with other organizations in the art space is also critical in promoting the center's mission and working toward the beautification of the community. Sponsoring city events, publishing their annual calendar showcasing their members' art, and offering workshops to the public are other successful ways the center stays current among the community.

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