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Residents’ Artwork is on Display at La Galleria

A long, broad hallway past the foyer and around the corner of the La Hacienda Regional Recreation Complex serves as an art gallery.

The Visual Arts Association (VAA) rotates its members’ artwork in judged shows at La Galleria every few months.

“It has the look of a gallery,” said Kathleen Karol, the VAA’s chair for the art exhibit. “It’s a beautiful space.”

Residents and their visitors with appropriate identification can view the artwork during La Hacienda’s regular business hours.

On March 12, more than 30 VAA participants brought in their artwork for the hanging committee to showcase.

 “They do a fantastic job,” Karol said. “They know the visuals to make (the exhibit) very appealing.”

Karol will occasionally stop in the gallery and notice a couple of people gazing at the artwork.

“It’s an opportunity for me to go over and tell them about my art,” she said.

And one visit to the gallery is inadequate for Karol.

“The Villages is filled with talented artists,” said Karol, of the Village of Pine Hills. “The art never gets old. I’ll go through the whole show and come back the next month, and it’s always new, every time I look at it.”

David Fithian, an artist and gallery owner from DeLand, inspected the paintings in March and awarded ribbons once they were put on the walls.

Victoria Peterson took first place with “I Love the Ground You Walk On,” Karol took second with “Star Gazing,” Rosie Brown took third with “Lunch Time,” and Norma Harding and Janine Motto received honorable mentions with “The Chief” and “Joy Ride,” respectively.

Karol’s pastel painting included stargazer lilies.

“I was shocked and honored,” Karol said. “It’s the best of the best in La Galleria. It’s a lot of talent to be judged along with, so I was shocked and happy (getting second place).”

Peterson made his second appearance in a La Galleria exhibit.

“The VAA has so many fabulous artists,” she said. “If you take a ribbon in any of their shows, it’s an honor.”

Peterson’s colored pencil piece was inspired by a photograph of a square inch of ground in her garden.

“You take the ground for granted, but if you really get down there and look at it, it was amazing to me how many textures and colors that were there,” the Village of Pine Hills resident said. “You think of dirt as all one color or texture.”

Karol just took over as chair of the La Galleria display from Billie Edwards.

“I’m excited,” Karol said. “I’m looking to use Billie’s efforts and the work she did to streamline the process, and I’d like to add my own thoughts to it.”

The VAA displays new artwork for exhibitions in March, June, and December. The Villages Art League visits each September to showcase its paintings for the “Drawn from the Masters” exhibit.

Karol has been a regular at La Galleria’s VAA events for the past four years.

“Sometimes, I just completed (a painting) and I’m pleased with it,” she said. “I want to see what others think of it. You have joy while creating, and there’s that second wave of joy when people see it.”

Many of the artworks are up for auction, in case someone is so taken with one that they must have it in their house.

“It feels really good,” Karol said. “I don’t mind parting with a painting if it goes to a good home.”