A new, permanent collection of work by Island artists was unveiled Saturday morning at an unusual venue: the early care and education building at Martha’s Vineyard Community Services in Oak Bluffs.

Kelsi Leonard with her work. — Ray Ewing

Curated by Liza Cowan May, a Community Services board member and former fine art consultant, the 31 paintings, prints and photographs hang throughout the new child care building, which opened last month.

“I think we can all agree that this Island is so rich with artists,” Ms. May told about two dozen people at Saturday’s opening.

Guests included several of the contributing artists as well as Monina von Opel, curator of the Edward Miller and Monina von Opel Art Collection at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital — another nonprofit with an Island art collection on its walls.

“This is so wonderful,” Ms. von Opel said. “I love that the idea is continuing.”

John Abrams of South Mountain Company, which designed and built the light-filled and spacious new child care center, also joined the group. Asked what art can add to a building like this one — where his grandson is a preschooler — Mr. Abrams had a simple answer.

“If it’s not here, you really feel the absence,” he said.

The germ of the new art collection began decades ago, Ms. May said, when Allen Whiting donated two of his paintings for the previous Community Services preschool building in 1984.

But most of the work on the child care center’s walls was donated over the past few months, as Ms. May reached out to artists around the Island.

“This community is so overwhelmingly generous,” she said.

Along with established painters like Mr. Whiting, Wendy Weldon and Jeanne Staples, the collection also features up and coming artists such as Taylor Stone, who works in cut paper, and painter Christopher Sterry.

Mr. Sterry works for South Mountain, and Ms. May said she would never have known of his artwork if he hadn’t asked to speak with her one day while she was at the construction site.

His two small, untitled landscapes in oil now hang in the center’s Head Start office.

“To me this really proves that you can have the best known artists . . . and incredibly beautiful little jewels by an unknown,” Ms. May said.

Artist Marston Clough donated two paintings to the new center. — Ray Ewing

Other contributing artists include Andrew Moore, whose Bullfrog hovers in the center’s main hall; Brooke Adams, with a painting of her dogs Hero and Scoop in the staff office and Walker Roman, who Ms. May said had one of the best responses to her request for a donation of his work.

“He said, ‘Of course — I have to, because I went through the [Community Services] early childhood program,’” she said.

To honor that connection, Ms. May said she hung three prints from original oils by Mr. Roman in the office of center director Heather Quinn.

Painter Wendy Weldon went back through her work to find the right piece for the center, where it hangs in a multi-purpose space called the Studio.

She created the colorful monotype, titled Keith Farm Barn 1, at Featherstone Center for the Arts, Ms. Weldon said.

“You want bright colors around kids,” she said.

The Studio also features a large-as-life photo of a snowy owl in flight, by Michael Blanchard, and a landscape by David Wallis.

Choosing more childlike subjects for the younger children’s areas, Ms. May hung prints and photographs of lambs by Warren Gaines and Barbara Reynolds in the infant room along with a soothing green-and-blue abstract by Gwen O’Neil.

Bolder abstracts meet in the administrative corridor, where a painting by Tommy May, Ms. May’s son, faces Jeanna’s Shepard’s gleaming photo on metal of a local fishing boat transformed by its reflection in the water.

Even the center’s rest room walls are hung with paintings, by Marston Clough, Judith Drew Schubert and Peggy Turner Zlabotney.

“I’m happy with bathroom art,” Mr. Clough said, as he surveyed his two seascapes in oil, collectively titled Walk With Me.

“They framed them really nicely,” he added.

The early childhood center is not open to the public, but Ms. May said she is looking into following the hospital’s example and creating an online gallery of the art collection.