MAG @ 65
A Good Thing Keeps Getting Better
By Margot Clark-Junkins
When the Mamaroneck Artists Guild (MAG) was founded in 1953, its seven members (with painter Grace Pugh at the helm) took turns hosting meetings in their homes and backyards. Their intention was to create an association for professional artists to share knowledge, ideas, techniques, and fellowship. Equally important was their goal of establishing a non-profit cooperative gallery.
By 1955, the Guild had 30 members and they decided to hold a Beaux Arts Ball to raise funds for a permanent space. The Art Barn in Mamaroneck became their first home. Over the years, MAG moved three times, eventually winding up in Larchmont for practical reasons, notably affordable rent and the needs of its membership.
Today, MAG — the Guild and its Larchmont-based gallery — is not only alive and well, it’s thriving. Its nearly-175 members are from cities and towns across Westchester, with a majority from the Sound Shore area, and a number of artists come from the tri–state area.
The organization plans to celebrate its anniversary with an exhibition of works by longtime members (anyone affiliated with MAG for 25 years or more). That there are 22 artists who can boast 25 years of membership, and 13 artists who have reached the 35-year mark, is a testament to the Guild’s enduring value to the community.
There are numerous opportunities throughout the year for members to exhibit work in group and solo shows. There is a special show of student work put on by a consortium of four high schools each January, and an annual Holiday Exhibit and Boutique between Thanksgiving and Christmas. An open, juried show for members and non-members presents a wonderful opportunity for artists who hope to attract the attention of an arts professional; last year’s juror was Julian Kreimer, Associate Professor at SUNY/Purchase College.
Over the years, members have also put together group shows at other cultural venues, such as Hammond Museum, The Rye Arts Center, Greenburgh Library, and the Westchester Arts Council (now called ArtsWestchester).
Members benefit from an array of offerings (listed online). Artists are assured of three to four opportunities to exhibit in a group show annually and may apply for a solo show. Each artist is provided with a web presence and may consign work in the Boutique. This fall, MAG is offering a series of professional development panels ($30 for members/$45 for non-members) called “Jump Start Your Art!” Upcoming in the series are “The Artist Online” (Oct. 28, 1-3) and “The Exhibition Perspective” (Nov. 10, 1-3).
“I think what we try to foster is a network of artists who can develop friendships in and out of the gallery,” said board member and past president Mitchell Visoky, who has been working in glass. The current board president, Betsy Castillo, is a photographer and jeweler based in Mahopac.
The public is invited to the opening celebration of “MAG @ 65” November 11 from 3-5. The exhibit will be on view November 6-17. If you are a former or current member, be sure to sign up for the luncheon preceding the opening, from 1-3 at Lenny’s in Larchmont ($50). MAG Gallery Director, Maria Cisneros, an artist who works with the medium of felt, can answer your questions: 834-1117.
The Mamaroneck Artists Guild is located at 126 Larchmont Avenue in Larchmont. The Gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 12-5.
Arline Saslow, <Untitled>, mixed media.
The Mamaroneck Artists Guild’s first home was in a backyard barn.