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A Place for Art and Artists

The Art League of the Chathams has been working to make the community more aesthetically pleasing since 1988.

One might notice that there is often art on exhibit in the Township Hall, Borough Hall and The Library of the Chathams, but not everyone knows the Art League of the Chathams is behind this effort to display artwork throughout the municipalities.

The League's stated purpose, according to its website, is simple: "To nurture the artistic development of Chatham Township and Chatham Borough visual artists and to foster an appreciation of visual arts in the township and borough."

"The League really wants to embrace and be a venue for local artists to show their work and also to beautify the community. We are doing some things from an art perspective to add value to the community," said Gail Logan, the League's president.

The League is currently working on murals for Township Hall and Chatham Station.

"The township hall asked the art league to do the mural project," said Logan. "And in the borough, a group we work with is going to be doing murals on the wall of the train station and the tunnel that goes between the eastbound and westbound trains."

The League often works closely with is the borough's Public Arts Council, which was established in 2008. It predates the Public Art Council by 20 years and was based on an idea of then-Township Clerk Alice Lundt who, according to the League's Web site, "wanted to see the works of township artists displayed on the walls of the newly renovated municipal building for its opening dedication-celebration in 1988." It was originally called the Chatham Township Art League.

Besides creating exhibits and attempting to spread art throughout the Chathams, the League also sponsors events throughout the year, such as screenings of art videos, art talks, demonstrations and social get-togethers.

"Our programs are good and education, so that artists can come and learn," said Logan.

Most of the League's more-than 50 members are artists themselves. The majority are painters, but Logan said within the group, she knows of at least two sculptors, a few photographers, a portrait specialist and a member who creates mosaics.

Its exhibits change every few months. The League's current exhibit, which is on display in Township Hall, has a theme: "Friends and Family." It includes 25 paintings from the current senior class at Chatham High School. It also has an exhibit up at Borough Hall that it organized in conjunction with the borough's Public Arts Council.

The "Friends and Family" exhibit ends on March 16, and a spring exhibit will be first-displayed on March 21.

"We try to embrace anybody that has a tendency to be artistic and to show that to the rest of the community," said Logan.

Not only does the League embrace all artists, but also in some cases, it supports them financially. The League has recently started a scholarship program and each year awards a Chatham senior a scholarship to study art in college. The senior is selected by teachers.

For more information about The Art League of the Chathams, including a history, event calendar, and new member form, see its Web site.

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