Lopez Island artist Steven R. Hill was sponsored and voted into The Salmagundi Club of New York City on Jan. 31. The oldest American Art Institution in the U.S., founded in 1871, The Salmagundi Club’s membership has historically been comprised of some of the most influential artists in the world, including William Merritt Chase, Thomas Moran, Louis Comfort Tiffany, N.C. Wyeth to more contemporary masters like Quang Ho, Vietnamese born master U.S. painter and Nancie King Mertz, Chicago based pastel artist who Hill met two years ago on a plein air painting trip to Cuba. New York-based master landscape artist, Roger Rossi, sponsored Hill after seeing his plein air work in Cuba in 2016.
Hill said, “When Roger saw my work and told me that he’d like to sponsor me, but that I would have to be voted in by the selections committee (artists peers, I thought he was kidding, but he was dead serious. Still, it took me two years to decide to actually ‘go for it’ and pursue the 3-month application process. It’s a little like ‘trial-by-fire’ to lay it all out in front of some of the best artists in the world. It’s not a sure thing, at all. I sent 12 images of my best body of work, which had to pass by two committees and then be reviewed by the club membership for 30 more days before I’d hear back.”
This year, The Salmagundi Club is celebrating their 100th-year ownership of a gorgeous 3-story Italianate, historic brownstone mansion on 5th Ave., in Greenwich Village. It houses art galleries, lecture halls, dining rooms, an extensive art book library, member’s art collections, lounges and a really cool old billiards table. For photos, visit www.salmagundi.org.
Hill added, “I thought (at first) why on earth do I need to be involved with a big art organization 3000 miles from home … what’s to gain from that?
What finally prompted me to give it a go was the incredible annual art programs the club holds, from many juried gallery openings for members in NYC to lectures, demos and painting events (especially plein air) all over NYC and around the U.S. They have a constant stream of art activities and besides, it’s pretty cool to be able to bump elbows at easels with that crowd, plus have access to such outstanding learning opportunities and continue to grow as an artist. I have so much more to learn as an artist and these are definitely the people who can provide that!”
There are currently about 1,000 members of The Salmagundi Club, worldwide, with more than half in the tri-state area of NYC. Steve is looking forward to giving his first live painting demo at the club within the following year, painting en plein air somewhere on Manhattan Island, (trying a round of billiards on that beautiful table) and participating as a new member in their many activities.
Hill teaches pastel painting workshops at the San Juan Islands Museum of Art, Friday Harbor, Dakota Art in Mt.Vernon as well as around the U.S. and in Europe. He is frequently invited to give live painting demos to organized art groups on the west coast. His work shows locally at Crow Valley Gallery, Eastsound, Windswept Fine Art Gallery, Lopez, Scott Milo Gallery, Anacortes and The Pacific Rim Institute of Marine Artists new gallery at Foss Waterway in Tacoma.
Visit Hill’s website at www.windsweptstudios.com.