Rose Grossi and Caroline Cummings are just getting started.
Since 2015 the two Morris women have been board members for The EXibit, a non-profit fine arts center and gallery on Bedford Road. Although the EXibit already boasts dozens of monthly and annual events, including their first Veteran’s Art Show on Nov. 8, Cummings said the organization wants to do much, much more.
“Our goal is to be a catalyst between artistic groups and the public,” Cummings said, “We want the public to be engaged in all art forms. We want to have free classes for veterans, music classes, podcasts, art therapy and creative writing.”
Grossi also has high hopes for the non-profit. Although the EXibit is busy just about every weekend with juried art shows with cash prizes, movie nights, open mic nights and classes, Grossi said she wants the building open and busy every day of the week. She wants to offer free classes for members of the community with disabilities, hire a director and employ interns to set up new programs.
The only thing they need to get there is more donations.
“We’re a non-profit, so we operate entirely on donations, grants, and the effort of our amazing volunteers,” Grossi said, “And every donation makes a difference. We received a generous donation from The Community Foundation of Grundy County, which allowed us to get sound equipment for our new podcast program.”
Cummings and Grossi, together with fellow board members Ray Grossi, Ed Cepiel and Karl Buhl, want their space to be a place where artists from across the region can come together and share their work. Every March they host a juried art show for area middle and high school students, bringing together young artists that wouldn’t normally see each other’s work.
“A lot of area high schools don’t overlap much in the arts due to size,” Cummings said, “Our show lets students from smaller schools and larger schools come together and celebrate their work together. Plus, it’s always cool to see your artwork hung up in a gallery.”
While most of the art shows at the EXibit have an entry fee, the board decided to waive that cost for the upcoming Veteran’s Art Show on Nov. 8.
“We saw an opportunity to honor our veterans and help them express themselves artistically,” Grossi said, “A lot of veterans find the arts to be great therapy once they return home.”
The veteran artists will present their work to the public at the EXibit from 6 to 8 p.m. Wine, cheese and hors d’oeuvres will be served. The artwork will be available for viewing both at the EXibit and online for the remainder of the month, during which the public is encouraged to vote for their favorite piece. Cash prizes of $300, $200 and $100 will be awarded for the best juried pieces and $50 will be awarded for the people’s choice winner.
Cummings said The EXibit is looking for a new board member and is always looking for more volunteers and partners. She said investing in the arts isn’t just fun, it’s good for the local economy.
“A community that invests in art is an economically healthy community. Art businesses and groups are popping up all over Morris and they’re adding value to this community. We’re proud that we’re part of it,” Cummings said, “And we’re only just getting started.”
For more information visit The EXibit Fine Arts Center & Gallery on Facebook.