Art in nature and creatures in art is the theme of the latest show at Courtyard Gallery in Mystic. “Creature Feature II” is the brainchild of Del and Kristen Bach, the owners of this charming gallery tucked away on Water Street.
Opening on Sept. 16, the show will not only feature wonderful artwork on the theme of all creatures, the event will be raising funds for two major rescue organizations: Mystic Area Shelter & Hospitality (MASH) and Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program. Kristen Bach says, “We decided after talking with some of the artists that all the creatures of the earth includes us humans. So the show has to do with our relationships with creatures and other humans.” Courtyard Gallery did their first Creature Feature three years ago.
The first fund-raising invitational event is early in the show, and will benefit MASH, with a portion of the sales proceeds going to that organization which combats homelessness one family at a time. “We also plan to have education, people we know, or people that the organization invites,” says Kristen. “There’ll be people talking about the programs and the things going on there.”
MASH officials welcomed the collaboration.
“Shelter is a basic human need,” said Jeff Anderson, Executive Director of MASH. “Yet there are families in our region who struggle every day to keep a roof over their heads. MASH is a local non-profit working to prevent low-income families with children from becoming homeless. Kristen and Del have been long-time supporters, and we are so grateful to them for widening the focus of the gallery’s new show in order to spotlight MASH and the critical work we do on behalf of the most vulnerable members of our community.”
Toward the end of the show, another large invitation-only event will raise funds for the aquarium’s animal rescue program, which focuses on marine mammals and sea turtles. “Both Del and I are very involved in that program,” says Kristen. “I volunteer there about twice a week in the clinic, and Del’s a first responder.” Kristen was involved in the rehabilitation of a manatee that strayed up to the Cape and was sent to the aquarium. “It was quite an amazing experience,” she says.
Del nods. “I do mostly paintings and donate to the program for their fundraising efforts, and we also support them financially,” he says. “That seems like the perfect organization to support through Creature Feature.” The gallery also donates the work of other artists. Del belongs to Artists for Conservation, a worldwide organization of about 500 artists. Once a year, a book of paintings is published and, when one of the included paintings is sold, a portion of the sale is donated to the conservation organization of the artist’s choice. The Bachs are also reaching out to other animal rescue groups, shelters for domestic animals and horses, and organizations which help people.
This is the gallery’s first fundraising event that is connected with a specific exhibit. During the show, the gallery will designate some of their weekly Sunday Salons to highlight the fund-raising efforts. In the past, the gallery has hosted events with Alliance for Living in New London, and some smaller shows involving the aquarium.
Looking around the gallery, one sees plenty of artwork that would fit right in with the upcoming show. “Lots of artists do love and enjoy creating animals—mythical or real—and many also work with animals,” says Kristen. There are also many sculptures and paintings of people. Work from more than 40 artists will be included.
During the show, artwork will always be for sale. If a certain piece sells, the purchaser can take it home and the gallery will put up something new and different in its place. “There will be plenty of artwork,” says Kristen.
Del chimes in. “And a purchase doesn’t have to be show-related. People can buy anything from anywhere in the gallery and a portion of the sale will still benefit one of the organizations we’re sponsoring.”
Courtyard Gallery is located at 12 Water Street, #B3, Mystic. For more information, call 860-536-5059 or visit courtyardgallerymystic.com.