By M. Dennis Taylor
Many have noticed the ever-changing art displays installed at the Wellington Community Center and the Wellington Municipal Complex but may not have thought about where this unique artwork comes from. It is all due to the coordination of efforts between the Village of Wellington and the Wellington Art Society, which brings the works of local and world-renowned artists to the community for everyone to enjoy.
With the simple-sounding objective of bringing art and community together, the Wellington Art Society is celebrating 40 years of doing just that, merging creative excellence and community inspiration with the Wellington spirit of premium quality. “The society is a very social group with a warm, friendly feel. It is for people who like art,” said Laura Jaffe, the current president of the Wellington Art Society.
In normal years, the group meets monthly, and also hosts art receptions and shows. “For over a year, all the meetings have been virtual, but we still made it happen,” Jaffe said.
That includes continuing the rotating exhibits at the Wellington Town Center buildings.
Jaffe, with a long background in local real estate, is also a full-time artist. “I do acrylic abstract art live on Facebook. It is collaborative art,” explained Jaffe, who said that the events take the theme and emotion from the co-creators online. “Everyone can watch the process as it comes together, live on canvas.”
Jaffe is just one of the dozens of talented artists that make up the Wellington Art Society. Past President Leslie Pfeiffer has been involved for many years and currently serves as second vice president. “I think of her as our historian because she has so much knowledge of the group, passion for art and has been involved in the society for so long,” Jaffe said of Pfeiffer.
Pfeiffer is proud of all the work the group does to bring the beauty of art, across so many media, here to Wellington.
“The Wellington Art Society is an active, vibrant visual arts group that enriches the lives and culture of the residents of the western communities, Palm Beach County and visitors from around the world,” she said. “It encourages originality and productivity among its members and provides a place where emerging and professional artists meet, exchange ideas and advance the appreciation of art through community outreach programs. Our membership includes everyone from art lovers to internationally recognized professional artists.”
In all, the Wellington Art Society has more than 80 artists as members, including painters, sculptors, gallery owners, potters, photographers, fine crafters, jewelry makers, graphic designers, students, teachers and art enthusiasts.
“Our members are passionate about art and the creative process, and they are committed to encouraging and supporting each other to realize their full artistic potential,” Pfeiffer said.
With the goals to encourage artists to pursue their art careers and provide programming that expands art in public places, the Wellington Art Society strives to make art accessible and affordable for everyone on a daily basis. The organization first came into being four decades ago when the Wellington community was young, long before its incorporation, organized by Johanna Secor, a world-renowned artist from Connecticut.
With renewed excitement for showcasing area artists’ work in 2005, promoting art appreciation and art education among members as well as local art students, the Wellington Art Society was incorporated and gained its nonprofit organization status. Meetings, held monthly September through May, feature programs including demonstrations, guest speakers, networking, marketing and professional artist development. Through the years, the organization has initiated many events for area artists.
Artist Susan Mosely serves as exhibitions and programs chair, along with the role of first vice president, she is a retired elementary school teacher and cultural arts director.
“We have the goal of exhibiting seven shows per year, plus the meetings, programs and events,” Mosely said, pointing to the ongoing exhibits at the Wellington buildings. “These two venues are perfect settings to appreciate the artwork with family and friends.”
Mosely explained that there are many opportunities for art displays coming up, tempered by the ongoing battle against the pandemic.
Jaffe said that the group will begin meeting in September to plan out where they will be going and what artwork can be presented.
In the planning stages are two proposed shows and receptions with the appropriate names of “Resurgence” and “Rekindle.”
“Artists have produced some very nice work during the COVID-19 shutdown, and a lot of it,” Mosely said.
The exhibitions are a great way for residents and visitors to see and buy this original artwork.
“There are large and small pieces, many 2-D works and some free-standing pieces, such as bronze horse statues,” Mosely said, describing abstracts and some realism, along with photos and paintings. “They come from professional artists, some who teach, and even a young, talented student.”
Jaffe said the group may find they can continue pre-pandemic exhibitions, such as pop-up galleries and other community displays, as well as the pandemic staple of online showings.
“Each year, more than 300 pieces of original artwork can be seen in the community,” Pfeiffer said. “Fun, engaging, educational with receptions that offer a great opportunity to meet the artists and learn about their creative process, techniques and mediums. The artwork is for sale, and a portion of each sale benefits our scholarship fund and outreach programs.”
New members are welcome. Plans are also underway for other events, such as professional artist workshops, art and culture field trips, a holiday bazaar and docent tours for groups.
Visit www.wellingtonartsociety.org to learn more about the Wellington Art Society.