This year’s Friends of Family Planning art show will be the last after almost three decades. The organization has made the final payments on the mortgage for the Family Planning clinic on State Road in Vineyard Haven, and with that goal accomplished, the board is looking to new fundraising opportunities.

“It’s been such a tradition, and so many people have been involved in the art show,” said board president Sarah Monast. “We wanted to honor them with this huge achievement of buying the condo unit.” She added:

Annual art show and sale has anchored Memorial Day weekend for some three decades. — Alison L. Mead

“The clinic now has a home forever.”

Friends of Family Planning was founded in 1978 as a fundraising arm for the clinic, which offers a range of reproductive health care services, including birth control, screenings for sexually transmitted infections, counseling, and breast and gynecological exams. The clinic provides services to all patients regardless of ability to pay.

Held every year on Memorial Day weekend, the juried art show has historically been a major fundraiser and visibility boost for the organization.

Ms. Monast said going forward, the board envisions a broader approach to community advocacy and fundraising.

“We’re trying to expand how we make people aware of reproductive health on the Island and bringing that awareness to as many age groups and ethnic groups as possible,” she said. She cited a grant Friends of Family Planning recently issued to Health Imperatives for sex education for teenagers as an example of new outreach.

She said advocacy and fundraising work can overlap in the future, getting the word out with multiple smaller fundraisers rather than focusing on one event.

Still, the art show has been a mainstay for the organization and for Island artists for the past three decades, and this year will mark a bittersweet end to the tradition.

The event has given the Friends of Family Planning community an opportunity to come together each year.

“We have volunteers who were on the board ten, 15, 20 years ago, and every year they come back and want to volunteer,” Ms. Monast said. “It’s a tradition for them to give time to come and help.”

Painter and printmaker Wendy Weldon is a former board member and has shown her work in the show since the early 2000s.

“It’s wonderful to see all the artists and see what they’ve made,” Ms. Weldon said. “Lot of times we haven’t seen each other all winter. Everybody’s sort of working by themselves in their studios.”

The show has featured work ranging from pottery to jewelry to photography to painting. In addition to showing her pieces, Ms. Weldon helps hang the art, and says it is an honor to display the work.

“I think it’s very sad,” Ms. Weldon said of the show’s ending. “It’s the event that kicks off summer season for local people. It’s our art, not the galleries, not the commercial part of it.”

But she said the priority is the health care.

“To keep that going, I applaud them,” she said.

Oil painter Marjorie Mason echoed the sentiment.

“I’m thankful for whoever understood that the Island art community would bring so much life to what is already a lifesaving cause,” she said.

The final Friends of Family Planning art show will kick off with an opening launch party on Thursday, May 24 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury. The show will run on Friday and Saturday May 25 and 26 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sunday May 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.