The Galveston Art League invites everyone who appreciates visual arts to celebrate the grand expansion of its downtown Galveston gallery from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday at 2119-A Postoffice St. in Galveston. The party will begin with a Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Early in 2018, GAL purchased the gallery space at 2119-A Postoffice St., which is next door to its original site at 2117-A. During months of construction, workers created a passageway between the two addresses; upgraded the electrical, cooling, heating, and lighting systems; installed flood-proof flooring; and painted. Finally, the dust has settled — and been swept up — so the Galveston Art League can show off the new gallery during this event.

The nonprofit organization’s volunteer army decorated the twin galleries with dozens of pieces of artwork by local artists for the debut. Guests will enjoy refreshments and self-guided tours of the two spaces that exhibit and sell paintings, jewelry, and 3D pieces such as sculpture, pottery, and dolls. The larger gallery also has a retail area selling T-shirts, books, and other items relating to Galveston’s rich art history.

The expansion is a big step for the Galveston Art League, which was established in 1914 to promote the visual arts and art education in the Galveston County area and beyond. For more than a century, the league has held low-cost art workshops, children’s classes, membership shows, and juried competitions (open to nonmembers and members) while promoting the careers of local artists.

Two other milestones in the organization’s history are the leasing of the 2117-A Postoffice gallery in April 2004, and the purchase of that site in 2008. Five months later, Hurricane Ike inundated the gallery with 8-feet of water, a total loss that prompted rebuilding the next year.

In 2014, its 100th anniversary, the league held its inaugural fundraiser gala, an evening of fine dining with live music, auctions, and conversation with art and civic leaders.

In 2018, the art league was voted Best Art Gallery in The Daily News Readers’ Choice Awards.

The all-volunteer organization — there is no paid staff — depends on support largely from the annual gala, contributions, and membership fees.

Memberships, which start at $10 for students and $35 for individuals (details under “Join” at GalvestonArtLeague.com), provide many benefits. For example, members are the first to receive emails announcing the league’s low-cost workshops, and they’re invited to monthly preview parties of new exhibits. Professional-level members can participate in the gallery’s Featured Artist program, with a large display of their artworks offered for sale.

Members who volunteer with the league for six or more hours every two months are entitled to half off their fees for the league’s nine member shows per year. And all members receive discounts on entry fees for juried competitions.

To learn more about the Galveston Art League, membership levels, and volunteer opportunities, visit GalvestonArtLeague.com/join.html or email gallery2117@gmail.com.

Mary Vinnedge, a pastels artist, serves on the board of Galveston Art League. She has lived on the island since 2015.

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