january featured article

Years of Art Study in Rye

By Laura Cassinari King

Rye Art Study Member, Local Artist and Music Teacher


For more than fifty years, the Rye Art Study (RAS), has inspired fine art enthusiasts and fine artists alike to share their passion. The formation of the RAS in 1960, was to do exactly as the name suggests, study art. At its inception, the founder, Dody Kolb, a well-known founding and board member to the board of directors of the UNH Art Gallery and Currier Gallery, began the group, garnering one hundred enthusiastic members to journey and explore along with her.

Think back to the days before instant information at your fingertips, when the local library was its primary source, and one must excavate it out. Members would alternate researching and presenting to the group on a topic of interest. Some, while travelling to places like Europe would collect photos then present slides on the big screen to members who may never take in such culture in person.

With the turn of the century, technology began taking a prominent place in all our lives. Through Covid, it kept us connected however, superficially. I believe we have all come back to a place of valuing the in-person connections over the ease of a screen.

Today, though the big screen still appears at most monthly meetings, the presenters and presentations have changed. We enjoy now more than ever, chatting before and after each monthly meeting and relish the in-person connections, much like our founders. However, our seventy active members, now enjoy local well-known artists giving demonstrations of their mediums and methods or discussing some aspect of their career, often offering some of their work for sale.

Group trips are still an integral part and continues under the direction of Linda Szabo. The “Rye Art Travels” adventurers continue to visit places such as local museums, exhibition openings and an occasional beginner art class. Though the art world continues to shuffle subject, style and medium since our inception, much has also remained the same, just like our group and often with a new appreciation for the re-emergence of each cycle and the way it furthers the conversation.

As many of our members are artists themselves, a new branch of the group is forming to “talk shop”, inspire, share marketing ideas, tools, methods and more! In 2023, we will join the Rye, NH celebrations for the 400th anniversary! Each month in the community there will be lectures, tours, festivals, and many other events. The RAS artist members are excited to be participating in the juried art show in March, benefiting the Rye Historical Society.

In addition, we will be hosting and participating in a Plein Air Event in October 2023. Painters from all over will descend on the town and seacoast for an entire day painting outdoors from life. This will culminate in a wet paint sale at the end of the day. Check out RYE400.org for details as both events develop.

Always open to new enthusiasts, we make membership and group information easily accessible at RYEARTSTUDY.COM

Yearly Picnic by the Sea

Ogunquit Museum of Art

Captivating Meeting

1971 Museum Trip

Recent Member Excursion

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