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One of the only things I enjoy more than viewing exquisite, fine art, is doing so in a beautiful setting. A few times a year, the San Antonio Art League & Museum offers just that — every time they open a new exhibition. And that just happened. ‘A La GAGA - Summering at SAALM’ opened just a few days ago and will be on display through Saturday, August 13th.

GAGA is the Gentilesci Aegis Gallery Association, named after Artemisia Gentileschi, - a woman artist of the 1600’s who became the first celebrated woman painter in what had been an all-male coterie. GAGA is a 501(c)(3) that supports and promotes women artists in the South Texas area.

Sylvia Benitez, Founder of GAGA, and Dona Walston, President of the San Antonio Art League and Museum, enjoy the 'A la GAGA - Summering at SAALM' artists reception.

This past Sunday, SAALM hosted an artists’ reception that was well attended. Art lovers had the opportunity to meet and speak with the artists who are participating in the exhibition. Dona Walston, president of the San Antonio Art League and Museum told me “The show is wonderful and it was very well received.”

Congratulations to Sylvia, Dona, and the participating artists on a successful show. Carve out some time between now and Saturday, August 13 to visit the museum and see some of the best work by women artists in San Antonio.

One of the exhibition rooms for 'A la GAGA - Summering at SAALM'.

Founded in 2011 by Sylvia Benitez, GAGA has about sixty active members — all women artists, most of whom are right here in San Antonio. The organization was formed after Sylvia had some discussions with some of her students at the Southwest School of Art. Many of them were middle-aged retired women with an abundance of talent, but no where to show their work. They discussed how nice it would be if San Antonio had an organization dedicated to supporting women artists. Sylvia thought “I can help with that”, and she got to work on forming the non-profit. About six months later, GAGA was operational and signing up members.

Artists are lucky in that they spend their time doing something they love. And ultimately, they aspire to share their creations with others — something that’s typically done by exhibiting their work. And that is the most significant thing that GAGA offers to its members: exhibition opportunities. GAGA typically has multiple exhibits a year. In fact, Sylvia’s work for GAGA is pretty much consumed by executing exhibits — that is, looking for exhibition venues, working with artist members to get work submitted, curating the exhibits, preparing catalogs and promotional materials, setting up the exhibits, and so on.

The current exhibition — A La GAGA - Summering at SAALM — was an ‘all-member’ call. Every artist member was invited to submit a piece of work, and every member did. The resulting 60 pieces of art hang on the walls of The San Antonio Art League and Museum.

Jane Gennarelli is co-editor of LNF Weekly. She also edits the Lavaca & Friends weekly arts and entertainment newsletter.

A la GAGA - Summering at SAALM

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A sample of the art in the 'A la GAGA Summering at SAALM' exhibition. Click on the first image and scroll through to see full-size images.

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