In the prologue of her book, Gloria Plevin: Art and Essays, published in May, Cleveland artist Gloria Plevin describes visiting Chautauqua for the first time in 1968.
“For three hours, I attended a painting and drawing course at the Chautauqua Arts Quadrangle,” she wrote. “For three hours, five days a week — 15 hours in all — I was totally happy.”
Plevin and her husband Leon decided to buy a house on the grounds, and one season blossomed into 50 years of visiting the Institution.
“Right away that first summer, … I was so happy, and (Leon) saw that, and realized this would be very, very good for us and good for the whole family,” she said. “That was it.”
From 1986 to 2002, Plevin owned and operated the Gloria Plevin Gallery in the town of Chautauqua.
She has exhibited her work in more than 40 shows in the last 46 years.
Plevin will be signing copies of her new book at 3 p.m. Sunday, July 28 in the Author’s Alcove of the Chautauqua Bookstore.
The signing will follow the inaugural Leon and Gloria Plevin Family Museum Director Lecture at 1 p.m. in Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall.
Jill Snyder, the executive director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland will be the first speaker in what will be an annual lecture.
“I have so many wonderful memories and obligations and connections to Chautauqua,” Plevin said. “Especially since I was going to be able to, the first year, have a Cleveland person that we would be sponsoring, I thought it was very exciting.”
She decided to come out with a book while preparing for a major career retrospective in Cleveland.
“I had a long career, and many, many paintings, but I also, in the later years, have been writing essays, and I thought that it could be a nice combination,” she said. “I thought, what better time to make a book?”
The book features a selection of portraits, landscapes and still lifes paired with essays that ruminate on Plevin’s artistic practice, her family and memories of Cleveland and Chautauqua.
Plevin has worked with her daughter, Mimi Plevin-Foust, to edit the book and her friend, Joyce Rothschild, to design it.
“The book is something that is like a culmination for me, and it has been very exciting and very gratifying,” she said. “I had excellent people helping.”
Plevin cites her first art classes at the School of Art and winning blue ribbons in an art show at Bestor Plaza as pivotal moments that encouraged her to pursue a career in art.
“There were turning points in my life,” Plevin said. “Going to Chautauqua was a very big turning point for me, because right at the time when I was looking for something, it enabled me to see that I could become an artist.”