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Quinlan welcomes Atlanta artists in Green Street show
“Vineyard near Bonnieux III” by Ann Rhodes

GAINESVILLE — For the second time in three years, the Quinlan Visual Arts Center is welcoming back one of its most popular exhibits: From Bennett Street to Green Street.

The popular show, which features an array of works from the Tula Art Center in Atlanta, was last at the Quinlan galleries in 2004.

"We brought it back because the first time the show was here it was a huge success," said Maureen Files, executive director at the Quinlan Visual Arts Center. "The people loved the artists — these are all professional artists and all of these artists have studios at Tula, which is on Bennett Street in Atlanta.

"We were very pleased with the quality of the artwork and a lot of the artists that belong there exhibit here in other shows and a lot of them are members of the Quinlan ... they are kind of like family to us."

The Tula Art Center’s building was once a manufacturing plant and has since been transformed into an artist’s paradise.

"I’m not sure if any of us know exactly what the building was used for, but it became an art center probably about 25 years ago," said Clara Blalock, an artist at the Tula Arts Center. "Most of the upstairs is art galleries and most of the downstairs is studios."

There will be about 35 artists from Tula who will exhibit at the Quinlan. Their works range from traditional to abstract, still life, landscapes, interiors and portraits. The show, which opens today, is dubbed From Bennett Street to Green Street II.

"It is really good work. There are no two artists that paint anything alike, so there is a good variety of subjects and mediums," Blalock said.

Files added, "There is some very contemporary abstract work all the way to detailed photo realistic pieces. That is another reason why I enjoy the show, because with that one group you get a group of amazingly different artists."

Blalock, who helped coordinate the last show in 2004, will have several of her pieces on display during the show.

"Clara’s work is probably the favorite of all of the artists in the group," Files said. "She has been exhibiting here ever since I have been here and that is 12 years now. Her work is hanging in the main gallery and people will feel very familiar, happy and pleased with her work."

Files said Blalock paints soft landscapes which "all have a soft, mystical feeling about them."

Other well-known artists who will have pieces on display are Karen Lawrence, Ann Rhodes, Carol Roddenberry and Mimi Shaw.

"(Lawrence) does fabulous paintings of interiors of houses," Files said. "As a matter of fact, my husband gave me one of her pieces as a birthday present last August and it’s hanging in my office here ... from the directors point of view, her work is easily recognizable and pleasing."

Ronnie Offen is one of a couple new artists that have been added to the show this year.

"Her work has won several awards in shows here at the Quinlan. She paints pastels and oil painting and she’s another favorite," Files said.

Today, locals will have the chance to meet some of the artists at the Quinlan for the opening reception for From Bennett Street to Green Street II.

"As many of the artists that can will be here, which will make for quite a crowd," Files said. "This is our last big opening of the year and it is a big important opening for the Quinlan members."

The exhibit will run through Feb. 10.

"Their work is so pleasing, it is a wonderful show to have," Files said. "This show is consistent with what I think people would want to view with their families throughout the holidays."