Surroundings Art Gallery in Center Sandwich, in partnership with Advice to the Players, has opened the downstairs section of their former gallery to bring their artists’ work to the seasonal audience for the summer. This is a welcome event to all of us who have missed the congenial atmosphere of the gallery of great artists that we looked forward to in previous years.
You may remember that they are in their old location just off the main block of the central village in Sandwich, at 12 Main St., 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays.
Surroundings specializes in original fine art produced by extremely talented locally connected artists. You will see works in a variety of mediums (oil, watercolor. pastels, acrylics, glass, wood, and so forth). Most of the subject matter is landscape oriented in a representational style. We also have beautiful wood carvings and folk art. You can take a tour of the artists’ work on the “Artists and Art” pages on their redesigned website (www.surroundingsart.com).
The newest artist to the gallery is Craig Pursely. Craig started early in art, obtaining professional commissions at age 14 and was chosen as Nebraska’s Outstanding Young Artist at 17. While in college he worked as a composite artist for several law enforcement agencies including the FBI and continued doing so after becoming an art teacher in Colorado.
After a move to California he began work as an illustrator for a major newspaper and, during this time, he also achieved considerable notoriety as a sports artist for the California Angels, Topps Baseball Card Co., and Upper Deck Baseball Card Co.
In 2002, Craig and his wife, Julie, moved to New Hampshire where he paints the beauty of New England in addition to running the American Heritage Gallery of Art. He is a member of the Portrait Society of America, which chose his portfolio as one of the top five in 2015 and 2016 and Oil Painters of America, where he recently won second place in a national competition.
His work has been featured in American Art Collector, Southwest Art and International Artist magazines and can be seen in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, National Baseball Hall of Fame, Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site and in private collections from coast to coast and in Europe. He has won many national awards including two Best of Shows in 2015. Recently, he was chosen by New Hampshire Magazine as “Best White Mountain Artist” and has two portraits on permanent display in the state house in Concord. Welcome, Craig!
His unusual background is typical of the very talented artists represented in the gallery. We are very happy to have Craig represented in this corner of New Hampshire and hope that we can meet him soon. He is in good company with a wonderful group of artists, including the birds! The new website has several reproductions of his work on the page, and you can purchase directly off the website.
Surroundings Art Gallery has been in operation since 1980. The physical location in Center Sandwich was closed at the end of 2014. However, the gallery remains alive in a distributed format. Paintings from artists still represented by the gallery can be found in several locations. The primary location is their website.
However, many of the paintings are in a showroom located at 954 Whittier Highway (Melcher & Prescott building) in Moultonboro, which is easily located. In addition, art is also on display at the Corner House Inn in Center Sandwich. For the months of July and August, 2016, they will also be in our old location in Sandwich: 12 Main St.
The gallery hosts a number of artists, a few of which are pictured here. Many have the mood of Squam (or at least remind me of my childhood swims there). Most live full- or part-time in the area and have a genuine love for this part of New England and the skill to bring out that love in their art. Their evocative gentleness is what gives the gallery its representative aura of calm and peacefulness. Perhaps that is what also brings the moose, a regular visitor, to the gallery!
Their goal is to provide a place to purchase fine art that captures the environment and life style of New England. Do take the wonderful trip to Sandwich and visit Surroundings, as well as Carega’s Gallery at Sunshine Farm, and the wonderful tradition of the League of Arts and Crafts right on the square. A young moose told me there will be a party in celebration of their 90th birthday coming up later this summer! See you then.
Cynthia Watkins Melendy, Ph.D., an American historian, studies and writes about the arts, nature, gender and their relationship over time. You can see her walking her little dog Lucy in North Conway Village, enjoying the view of the “rockpile” when she isn’t working on her book when indoors.
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