Think of it as a garage sale for paintings and photos and you’ll have the general idea behind Barn Art, a four-day event taking place this weekend at the Southold property of painter Glenn Smith and his wife, Ellen Rosenbush, editor of Harper’s Magazine.
“We have very little organization,” said Smith, who has hosted the show intermittently since 2004 at the 100-year-old barn on the couple’s property. “It’s usually [artists] who participate and I just kind of make decisions like, ‘Well, put your stuff over here.’ It’s very free-form.”
Eleven artists, including Smith’s son Jason, have been invited to contribute pieces for the event, which last took place in 2013.
“The place is crawling with artists,” said Smith, who typically recruits people by word-of-mouth. Among them is Carol Halliburton of Greenport, a plein air painter and former William Steeple Davis Trust artist-in-residence.
After attending Halliburton’s 2014 show “Oil and Water” at Floyd Memorial Library in Greenport, Smith asked if she’d like to sell pieces at this year’s Barn Art.
“It’s a great opportunity,” said Halliburton, who hopes to have 10 framed 5-by-7-inch landscape paintings for sale at the show. “It completely goes along with the personalities of Ellen and Glenn. There’s absolutely nothing pretentious about them.”
A little more than a decade ago, Smith said, Barn Art was conceived merely as a way for him and a few other local artists to sell some extra original paintings. It was also, he half-joked, a way to do something with the barn other than “park a tractor in it.”
At this year’s show, visitors are welcome to peruse the paintings and photographs for sale, many of which feature local landscapes and will likely be priced at around $100 and up. Guests are also invited to explore the wooded five-acre property, which Smith and Rosenbush have called home for nearly 25 years.
“It’s very low-pressure,” said Rosenbush, adding that people even have the option of picnicking on their lawn over the weekend if they so choose. “It’s not like you’re going into a gallery and someone is following you, saying, ‘Did you see this? Did you see that'”
In addition to providing artists a venue to sell their work, Halliburton said Barn Art gives North Fork artists much-needed professional exposure — especially since galleries in the area are few and far between.
“We don’t always have options out here to show our work,” she said. Rosemary Gabriel, a Greenport painter who is contributing three pieces to the event, including a local beach scene, called it a “wonderful idea.”
“I really like the informality of the whole thing and that the work will be outdoors and on the barn and that anyone who drops by can take a look,” she said. Indeed, Rosenbush said, Barn Art is something previous attendees remember fondly. “We run into people who say ‘Oh, are you going to do it again? It was so charming,'” she said. “It seems to have been a fun experience for people in the past.”
Barn Art will take place Friday, Sept. 4, through Monday, Sept. 7, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 2850 Main Bayview Road in Southold.