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Oxford Artists’ Guild returns with outdoor exhibition

Oxford Artists’ Guild makes a long-awaited return this weekend with their “Fall Into Art” show, which will take place at the Old Armory Pavilion located on the corner of Bramlett Boulevard and University Avenue.

The event, which will take place on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., is one of two that the Guild hosts annually – typically on the Courthouse Lawn – but since the spring show happens in conjunction with Double Decker Festival, it was halted this year due to the pandemic.

“Most all of the art festivals have been canceled this year, which has left many of our local artists with few venues to sell their works,” said OAG Social Media and Correspondence Chair Lori Blaylock. “With the new changes in regulations for the use of the Courthouse Lawn, we are unable to host shows in that location. We are excited about our new show venue, as it has convenient, free parking.”

The OAG is over 50 years old and currently has 86 members, 16 of whom are expected to be on hand sharing their wares on Saturday. Participating members represent a variety of media, including oil, watercolor, acrylic, mixed media, pottery, leatherwork and woodwork.

Prices for pieces will range widely, and original prints and postcards will also be available.

The event is highlighted by a drawing for a gift basket at 3 p.m., and a passport to participate can be obtained from the Guild Gallery at Sugar Magnolia Antique Mall, not far from the Pavilion.

Gallery Chair Pam Locke, who along with Blaylock will have work on display, also anticipates the advantages of the venue. “There are a lot of good reasons to do it there,” Locke said. “We are looking forward to using the Pavilion because it’s a flat surface… and you don’t have to put up a tent.”

Locke also emphasized that those involved with the event will encourage social distancing and mask wearing.

As members of the Oxford art community have been longing for months to engage with the public, Locke said she is hoping that the show will bring a much-needed spotlight back to the local talent represented by the Guild.

“We’re trying to make the community aware that our gallery – which has been there since 2017, but it was upstairs and was difficult for strollers and walkers to get up there – now is downstairs,” Locke said. “It’s a little smaller space, but it is more accessible for the whole community to be able to see our work.”

According to Locke, Guild members range from weekend painters to professionals who make a living at their craft.

“We’re just trying to create a new normal… and get back to some type of normalcy,” Locke said. “We usually do this in the spring and the fall. Now, this is our first opportunity since March to be a part of the community. So that’s what we’re hoping, and it will give people an opportunity to get outside.”

Several acclaimed artists, including Carol Roark, whose oil painting “Chillin’ On a Dirt Road” won first place at last year’s Biggest, Baddest Art Show at the Powerhouse, will be painting during the show.

Sports lovers will be pleased to learn of the television setup at the event – in case they’re at odds with the prospect of missing any football action on Saturday.

A food truck from Smoke Shop and Cookout Catering will also be on hand, offering delicious wood-smoked barbecue, tacos, sandwiches and sides.