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Bringing out the best: Bald Eagle Art League to hold annual ‘best of’ art show

PHOTO PROVIDED David McSween, a portrait artist from Lewisburg, teaches the April class for members of BEAL. The 2015 Best of BEAL art show, a members-only exhibit will show works by the Bald Eagle Art League. The 2016 show will open with a reception from 5-8 p.m. Nov. 18 at the Thomas T. Taber Museum, 858 W. Fourth St.

By A.M. WERTZ

Sun-Gazette Correspondent

For possibly the 55th year, the Bald Eagle Art League will hold its Best of BEAL art show from Nov. 18 through Nov. 29 at the Thomas T. Taber Museum, 858 W. Fourth St. An opening reception will be held from 5-8 p.m. Nov. 18.

For more than 60 years, BEAL has been Williamsport’s premier active art club, beginning its “best of” art show not long after its inception. Throughout the years, the nonprofit has hosted monthly art meetings, speakers, workshops, local, regional and even national art shows; the Way’s Garden Art Show; and the yearly Best of BEAL Competition and Art Show.

According to Mickey Mapstone, club president, the Best of BEAL show is the only art exhibition of the year that is exclusively for members, who each can enter two pieces of art in any media.

“The purpose of BEAL, I believe, is to gather artists and art lovers together in an atmosphere conducive to the creative spirit,” Mapstone said. “We tend to inspire and motivate fellow members.”

The annual show highlights the talent of those members, showcasing work in photography, mono-print, oil painting, watercolor, weaving, leather work, papier-mache, printmaking, clay, encaustic and digital art.

Since becoming president, Mapstone has seen the membership of the group increase from 20 to 30 members to about 130 individuals who are either interested in art or love to create it. From the young to 90 years old, the members work together to enjoy art in many ways, through critiques, exhibitions, juried shows, and monthly meetings, during which feature artists speak and demonstrate for members.

“I stress to possible new members that they do not have to be talented to join,” Mapstone said. “Many of our members do not work, but enjoy hearing about it and viewing art. Our board is more like a family and we get so excited to get new members. Everyone pitches in to help. You do not have to be a BEAL member to come to a meeting, but once we get them here, most will join.”

BEAL recently had a revival, Mapstone added, offering more opportunities for area art enthusiasts to become involved in the league through portrait classes, plein air outings, book clubs, gallery tours, bus trips, and expanded Quill coverage of art opportunities.

The Bald Eagle Art League meets at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month from September through May. For more information, visit www.thebaldeagleart ­league.weebly.com.

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