Online art show and sale at Southold Historical Museum highlight local landscape

Lee Cleary has been a Southold Historical Museum volunteer for 20 years. And since 2018, she has taken charge of its twice yearly “10 Squared” art exhibition and sale.

“I’m not sure, without Lee, if we would have the event or have the same participation,” museum executive director Deanna Witte-Walker said. “I think she’s an integral part of it.”

The exhibit, this time subtitled “Winter Wonders,” is a fundraiser for the not-for-profit museum that’s running online at the organization’s website until Dec. 15. It’s called “10 Squared” because all the artwork on display measures exactly 10 inches by 10 inches.

“Winter Wonders” includes 54 pieces from over 30 artists, all available for sale and all focused on on local scenes and landscapes.

Artist Lee Harned has submitted pieces for the event for three years. She has lived on the North Fork for many years and expresses her love of the landscape through her art.

“The beauty out here is just overwhelming,” Ms. Harned said. “Even though I’ve been here for 50 years, I’m overwhelmed every day at what I see just by driving up and down the roads — and that’s really my source of inspiration.”

Ms. Cleary, a longtime artist herself, takes on the task of communicating with the artists, receiving their artwork, distributing the pieces once they’ve sold and returning unsold works. She does most of this from her own home.

“I enjoy meeting the artists … they seem like old friends,” Ms. Cleary said.

Each piece sells for $100, which is split evenly between the artist and the museum, according to Ms. Cleary. 

The “Ten Squared” exhibit and sale was held in person at the museum before the pandemic hit, at which point it moved online. Even though restrictions are less stringent now, the museum plans to retain the fundraiser’s online format.

“It is a visual exhibit that perhaps gets more exposure online … so we’re getting a broader audience,” Ms. Witte-Walker said. “So we’re pleased because, for our mission of educating about the local history, this reaches more people.”