On Friday evenings during August, Vineyard Gardens in West Tisbury is transformed into a community art gallery. Works of art are arranged among the plants and paintings are hung from benches turned on end.
“The idea came from wanting to support the local artists and knowing that our flowers would complement their work and their artwork would complement our flower plant displays,” said Christine Wiley, who owns Vineyard Gardens with her husband, Chuck Wiley.
Known for their nursery and landscaping services, Vineyard Gardens is now gaining a reputation for their art space, too. This is their second season hosting a gallery.
“We had no idea what to expect and have left the event mostly unrestricted to allow it to surreptitiously evolve into what it wants to be,” said Karen Blackerby, who helps organize the event. “It has been a wonderful success so far, thanks to the artists and the Vineyard community.”
Painters, photographers, jewelers and potters show their work among the flowers. Paintings stand in front of an arbor, pottery rests on a table against a wall of a greenhouse, both are surrounded by passion flowers and hydrangeas. This season 20 different artists are participating.
“The artists are so happy to be here,” Ms. Wiley said. “Some of the younger artists told me they never had a place to display their artwork before.”
Ms. Wiley sees the arrangement between the artists and her business as “total mutualism,” and a “wonderful symbiosis.” The artists get to display their work for free in a beautiful setting and the nursery brings new customers into their space during the Island’s busiest season.
Hosting the gallery also keeps the nursery looking beautiful, Ms. Wiley said. “Traditionally nurseries are really burnt out in August,” she said.
While it takes a lot of work to run the gallery, Vineyard Gardens employees and the artists work together and make it a celebration. There is music, wine and hors d’oeuvres. Visitors to the gallery get to visit something that seems so distinctly Vineyard: a community event built around the appreciation of art and nature.
Gallery in the Gardens takes place at Vineyard Gardens located at 484 State Road in West Tisbury. The gallery is open every Friday in August from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., weather permitting.