By Dawn Watson
A haven for photographers, Hampton Photo Arts in Bridgehampton has been serving the East End’s picture-taking community for three decades.
But anyone who has ventured into the Bridgehampton Commons-based shop knows that there’s a whole lot more to the store than just goods and services for the camera junkie. In addition to the photo-related gear and framing, there’s also a nice variety of art supplies available there, as well as a nice group of friendly faces who are ready and willing to help those in the local arts community.
In addition to selling photo and art supplies, the photo-centric shop has also hosted community photography exhibitions for many years. Now, with the opening of its upcoming exhibition, “UnCommon,”—which will be on view on Saturday and Sunday, November 12 and 13, at Ashawagh Hall in East Hampton—Hampton Photo Arts will be branching into other mediums as well, bringing a coterie of new artists to its fold.
The brainchild of Photo Arts’ Ben McHugh and Franki Mancinelli, who is also curating and organizing the exhibition, is open to artists of all disciplines. The overreaching theme of the show is about inclusiveness and creativity, which will focus on nontraditional works of art inspired by all things out-of-the-ordinary and unique.
“‘UnCommon’ is about embracing the offbeat, the obscure, the off-the-beaten-path,” says Ms. Mancinelli. “For this exhibition, we felt it was important to expand the playing field and the subject matter while still bringing everyone in together.”
Inclusiveness is important to the North Fork resident, as well as to the entire staff of Hampton Photo Arts, says Mr. McHugh, who is son of owner David McHugh and the shop’s resident photography and framing expert. Furthermore, by embracing all types of local artists, the exhibition will bring additional opportunity for all East Enders who want to display and sell their work, he says.
“I think this show is extremely important to the local arts community,” says Mr. McHugh. “A show with open submissions such as ours gives everyone the opportunity to get their name out there and showcase their artwork.”
One such artist who is participating in “UnCommon” is Adam Baranello of Hampton Bays. He helped with the theme of the show and has also submitted a piece of his own titled “Important” to hang in the exhibition. Being able to participate in an open show like this alongside other like-minded East Enders who put out “such nice good energy” is a positive experience and one that he’s happy to be included in, he says.
“My day-to-day is committed to creating and sharing what I do with the community in which I live,” reports Mr. Baranello, who also works in music, film and dance. “This is a very special place, and I believe that it is important to be a part of a community.”
Ms. Mancinelli, who is submitting four of her own photographic works in the show, says that she feels the same way. That’s one of the reasons why “UnCommon” is so important to her personally and as an employee of Hampton Photo Arts.
“It’s an outlet for everyone, the artists and the people who appreciate those who make art,” she says. “And not only do we intend to bring the community together with this show, we also get to provide a place for the artists to gain exposure, meet other fellow artists, and, hopefully gain some exposure and sell a few pieces.”
Hampton Photo Arts and Framing will present “UnCommon,” an exhibition of local art, at Ashawagh Hall in East Hampton on Saturday and Sunday, November 12 and 13. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, November 12, from 5:30 to 10 p.m. For additional information, visit www.hamptonphotoarts.com.