Shelita Birchett-Benash’s recycled art-glass mosaic sculpture “Holy Cow!” (above) is among the works on display, beginning Saturday at Monmouth Museum’s 38th Annual Juried Art Exhibition — while a “Member Miniatures” installation (below) commandeers the museum’s Nilson Gallery. 

miniatures-monmouth-museum-bIt happens about this time each January; a celebration which — for local art aficionados at least — serves as some semblance of luminous therapy, here in the drab and drear foothills of the calendar year.

It’s the Annual Juried Exhibition at Lincroft’s Monmouth Museum, the 38th edition of which takes over the building’s Main Gallery for an eclectic panorama of painting, printmaking, photography and sculpture that launches with a free reception and awards ceremony this Saturday, January 14 from 4 to 6 p.m.

Established back in 1979 by the Monmouth Arts Council, the group show came under the direct stewardship of the museum some six years ago — and has expanded since then to feature an “international” array of “emerging artist” creatives; working in a variety of genres and media, and hailing not only from Monmouth County, but from all over the Garden State and the great big garden beyond.

Among those represented will be Shelita Birchett-Benash, a multimedia artist/ gallery curator (and “self taught connoisseur of junk”) based in upstate New York. The artist made a big impression in Lincroft during the summer of 2015, when her life-size sculpture of a horse was a favorite attraction in “Please Touch!,” an exhibit designed for visually impaired visitors. For this year’s Juried Exhibition, Birchett-Benash contributes “HOLY COW!,” a full-size bovine “inspired by the Hindu reverence for the sacred cow,” and illuminated in “an heirloom crazy quilt mosaic blanket” of recycled glass.

Meanwhile, inside the building’s Nilson Gallery space (and the hallway adjacent to the Main Gallery), this Saturday also sees the official opening of the third annual “Member Miniatures” show, a multi-media juried exhibition of “big art in small packages” — none larger than 12 inches by 12 inches when framed — by many of the artists who have worked with the museum in recent years.

There’s no charge to attend the two Saturday receptions going on simultaneously at Monmouth Museum. Refreshments will be served to guests in both galleries, and the two installations remain on display through March 13 during regular museum hours (Tuesday-Thursday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Friday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sunday 12-5 p.m.) Regular admission is $8 per person; free with valid student or staff ID from Brookdale Community College, on whose Lincroft campus the Museum sits.