Lake of the Woods Visual Arts Council (LOWVAC)
The first LOWVAC art show was in 1982 over Memorial Day weekend, with the show open for 4 days. It was an art exhibit only with no sales. This was a private event with a guest list. 246 pieces of art were exhibited in this first show and 800 guests attended over the 4 days.
That year there was also a Holiday Gallery starting Thanksgiving Day weekend, which included sales of both fine art and crafts.
LOWVAC artists started offering art classes in January 1983, with the only charge being for materials and a share of clubhouse use fee. Children’s art classes were offered in the summer.
In these early years, all artists at LOW were considered members of LOWVAC and a list of potential exhibitors was kept. The art shows had a theme and a “Duck Feather Award” was given for the best in the theme; for example “Seasons at the Lake.” Judging for the "Duck Feather Award" stopped in 2000.
In 1985, LOWVAC participated in the, then daytime, summer pontoon parade and also had the first Explore the Arts Day with artists doing demos.
In 1986 donated door prizes were first offered at the show. This became a raffle in 2003. Fall 1986 was the first show open to the public outside LOW. LOW directories and leftover crafts from Garden Club bazaar were also sold at the art show to benefit Fire & Rescue.
An opening reception on Friday night with refreshments was the custom until 2007 when the current Saturday morning setup was started. October 2003 was the first annual show after the 2 holiday weekend shows stopped.
Artist’s workshops were held at Low Church, or lower level of clubhouse starting in 1992 and later disbanded in 1999. Later workshops were restarted in homes for a short time.
The goal of the art shows was always to feature lake artists, but also to support the arts in our Orange County schools. LOWVAC has donated thousands of dollars over the years to benefit the art programs with all raffle ticket sales and net proceeds from the art show going to the schools. Shows have also featured student artwork to further engage our Lake residents with the art of students in our wider community.
The more recent history of LOWVAC saw a move from the Clubhouse lower level to the Community Center gym providing more space for the artists and visitors. The Woodworking Club has held a 1x3 challenge in 2018 and 2019 and the resulting completed projects shown at the Fall show. Lake Authors of the Wilderness have also been invited to exhibit at the annual art show and have sold their books at the show. In 2018 and 2019, LOWVAC collaborated with LOWLINC in support of the LOWLINC fundraiser "The Art of Wine," which has been to the benefit of both LOWLINC and the art show.
In January 2020, the LOWVAC name was changed to LOW Arts to become a year-round club and better reflect the variety of artists and media featured at the annual art show. We also hoped to court a larger group of artists and art lovers to gather and share their creative spirit. It worked! The pandemic put a damper on our in-person meetings, but we kept meeting on Zoom with an "artist in the spotlight" each month. Our 2020 show has had to be cancelled due to the pandemic, but we filmed 12 artist studio tours as an alternative, which you can view on our home page. Our art show returned September 25-26, 2021 at the LOW Community Center with a wonderful turnout from the community, a full house of artists, and robust sales. Clearly, the LOW community had missed us! In 2022, the art show was held October 29-30 and included an opening reception for our art patrons, which was very well received. Sales were excellent and our collaborative art projects and raffle ticket sales allowed us, as we have in years past, to donate $350 to each of the county public school art programs. Quite a success! The 2023 show will be November 11-12.
The Fareways Cafe by the golf course now hosts a regular display of artwork created by our artists, which is changed out 3 or 4 times per year. All artwork is for sale unless otherwise marked. You can view the pricelist for our current exhibit here.
Click on any of the links below to view samples of the artwork of our LOW Arts artists. Check back soon as more LOW artists create their pages.