Earlier this year, I was introduced to two retired church members who, like so many others, give their time and talent to St. Bart’s. What’s extraordinary isn’t that these retired church members volunteer at St. Bart’s, but rather how June Scopinich and Lindy Emery discovered a way to use their experience with and love of art to give back to the church through St. Bart’s Art Gallery.
Both woman studied fine arts in college and taught art history. Their paths diverged for a time. Lindy continued with a career in art as a commercial artist, while June became a college administrator, retiring as the Vice President of Miramar College. Their desire to give back to St. Bart’s led them to the thrift shop and now, together, they successfully manage our gallery.
St. Bart’s Art Gallery is a small, unassuming space nestled next to Fr. Al’s Nook in the Parish Hall. The gallery opened more than a year ago as a subsidiary (if you’ll allow the use a business term here) of St. Bartholomew’s Thrift Shop. You’ve probably passed by the gallery several times and even glanced inside while in the South Parish Hall. Have you thought about what happens behind the scenes for these pieces of art to make it onto the gallery walls? It’s a long road from thrift shop donation to Art Gallery walls - sometimes taking as long as a year, but well worth the research and refurbishment it takes to get there.
June and Lindy began working at the thrift shop three years ago with their predecessor who turned over the art arm of the thrift shop to them nearly 18 months ago, right about the time the Art Gallery opened at St. Bart’s. When art is donated to St. Bart’s Thrift Shop, this art duo can tell almost immediately if a piece is worth a little more. June thoroughly researches each work of art, while Lindy manages the conservation of each piece – frame repair, mating, refurbishing. Each painting, sketch, lithograph looks like new after conservation process.
Simultaneously, Lindy works to conserve a piece, while June contacts artists to learn as much as she can about the specific piece so that it is priced fairly for the buyer and St. Bart’s. “Ideally, it’s easier for us to sell artwork when we know its provenance,” said June. “It’s very rare for art we receive from a thrift shop donation to come with provenance, so I research the piece.” Currently, June and Lindy have 12 to 15 art pieces in some stage of the sales process – research, conservation, marketing or auction.
“We have sent art that is worth quite a lot to auction. Sometimes that’s the best way for us to get what it’s worth,” explains Lindy.
“It’s important for people to know that the art work we sell at St. Bart’s Art Gallery is priced less than its value,” explains Lindy. “When you purchase from the Art Gallery, you know you are getting high-end art work that has been researched thoroughly and priced competitively.” June and Lindy’s goal is to sell as much art as they can, as the art they sell funds outreach activities here at St. Bart’s.
“I don’t think people know the quality of the art we have,” said June. Her Art Gallery partner, Lindy, spoke to me in November about helping them start a Facebook page (make sure you like and follow St. Bart’s Art Gallery on Facebook) so they can post images and details about each work of art in hopes to expand sales outside of the St. Bart’s community.
Stop by the Art Gallery any Sunday. Browse through the collection and listen to June and Lindy share the stories each work of art has to tell. Of course, if you’re looking for something specific for your home or office, contact June or Lindy with the size and color scheme. They will find the perfect piece of art for you. They’ll even let you try it out in your home or office to make sure it works.