Oct. 9, 2003 – Sólo Arte on St. John will mark its first anniversary on Friday evening with an open studio and wine tasting from 6 to 8 p.m. hosted by owner-artist Janet Cook-Rutnik.
The art workplace and show space was opened on Oct. 4 of last year in the newly renovated blue building at the far end of the Lumberyard complex in Cruz Bay.
The wine tasting, of California vintages from Trinchero Family Estates and Montevina Winery, will be conducted by Bellows International. St. John's La Tapa will supply hors d'oeuvres.
It's all free — well "not the art, certainly," Cook-Rutnik says, "but the wine tasting, the party, yes. It's a celebration, and the public is invited."
As for the art: She will be showing her own work in a variety of media along with etchings by St. Croix's Maria Henle and London resident Ellen Graubart, both of whom were represented in shows mounted at Sólo Arte in its first year.
A longtime St. John resident, Cook-Rutnik has been active in the local art community for more than a quarter of a century as both entrepreneur and practicing fine artist. She established The Art Project, St. John's first fine art gallery, in 1976. Eleven years later, she opened At the Plum Tree, which featured her original screen prints on clothing and paper. And last year, she returned to the business side of art with Sólo Arte.
All the while, she has exhibited her own work extensively, to local, national and international acclaim. In 1999, she became the first Virgin Islands artist to have a museum solo show in Puerto Rico, at Old San Juan's renowned Museu de las Americas.
Meanwhile, she has worked to promote Virgin Islands art as a whole in the wider marketplace, notably as the prime mover behind the group show VIA Colectiva at the Museu de las Americas last year. She is currently the Virgin Islands adviser to the Dominican Republic's 5th Biennial of the Caribbean in Santo Domingo. And she has been asked to participate in the formative stages of the 14th Bienal de Grabados, Puerto Rico's major biennial of printmaking.
For Year No. 2 at Sólo Arte, "I'm looking forward to a fantastic season of exciting shows by international and local artists," Cook-Rutnik says. Among the artists she plans to feature are Sacha Tebó, originally from Haiti, and Julio Valdéz of the Dominican Republic, who will be exhibiting work from his show at the Museum of the Americas in Washington, D.C.
Also on tap: a photography exhibition featuring the imagery of St. Thomas's Gary Felton and others; an exhibition of watercolors by longtime St. John winter resident Roy Imhoff; and a group show of work by Crucian artists.
Cook-Rutnik also will be presenting new work of her own from her "On the Edge" series of paintings and collages.
For more information, e-mail to Cook-Rutnik or telephone the gallery at 715-2150.
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