When Joyce Gatto walks through the art gallery at Lathrop City Hall that bears her name, she can’t help but point out all the works that the city has acquired in the last 24 years and share where they came from.
There’s one, as she points out, that could have sold for thousands of dollars if the artist had taken it to a show in New York. And there’s another – a soapstone Eagle that was carved by a friend of her husband’s – that she’s waiting to get a Plexiglas cover for so that it can be displayed permanently. And then there’s the gold-woven quilt that is awaiting the same treatment.
But all the works that line the wall in the gallery wouldn’t be there had it not been for Gatto and the work that she gone into putting Lathrop on the art map for more than two decades – routinely drawing artists for the annual Mayor’s Art Show and Sale that she started in 1994 from all throughout Northern California.
Today until 12 p.m., the committee that runs the event will be accepting submissions for the two-week show inside of the council chambers at Lathrop City Hall – a showcase of works from some of the best and brightest local and regional artists.
For Gatto, that has long been a painter herself and says she was talked into starting the event that has become a destination for many artists, the show is another year of honoring the talents of people who want share their vision with the world.
“We’ve got a lot of great artists that come every year and it’s always amazing to see what works we have on the days that we take them in and hang them,” Gatto said. “I never thought this would run as long as it has, or grow into what it has become either – making Lathrop a place that artists from all over want to visit so they can showcase their work.”
The two-week run will culminate on May 12 when the committee hosts artists and select members of the community at a special reception where the awards will be distributed, and the city’s purchase – selected by the mayor from a small number of works honed down by the committee – will be announced. That work will end up being displayed inside of the gallery within the City Hall complex – which has its own entrance to the parking lot.
After that point Gatto said there will be discussions about where to hold the event next year – the 25th anniversary of the show that began in the Old Lathrop City Hall site next to Simplot.
“We’re going to have a big blowout, that’s for sure,” she said with a laugh. “After all of these years it’s hard to believe that it’s grown as much as it has, and we want to recognize how big of a milestone that is for this community.
“It’s something a lot of people look forward to, and that’s what makes it fun to be a part of.”
The Mayor’s Art Show and Sale will run Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Lathrop Hall – located at 390 Towne Centre Drive. The show will conclude with the awards ceremony on Friday, May 12, at 6 p.m. That event is open to artists and invites guests only.