It’s a unique event that affords artists the opportunity for honor and recognition in a less intimidating venue than big-city competitions.
The 6th Annual Swanton Juried Fine Art Exhibit, hosted by the Swanton Chamber of Commerce, will be held for both professionals and amateurs Oct. 11-13 in the banquet room at Valleywood Golf Club, 13502 Airport Hwy. An artists’ and donors’ reception by invitation only will be held Friday beginning at 7 p.m., although there is public admission for a $15 fee. The exhibit itself is free to the public Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday from noon-5 p.m.
Guests can view over 170 pieces of family-friendly fine art by 70 adult and youth artists from 20 northwest Ohio and Michigan communities. Adult mediums on display will include oil, pastel, watercolor, acrylic, drawing, mixed media, photography, and computer-generated pieces. Young artists from schools in Wauseon, Perrysburg, Toledo, Swanton, and Otsego, as well as home-schooled students, will compete in painting, drawing, and computer-generated categories.
More than $5,000 in prize money provided by 47 area sponsors –both commercial and individual – will be awarded in both the adult and youth categories, including a $500 youth scholarship. First, second, and third prizes and an honorable mention will be given in each category, depending on the number of entries received.
The awards will include an overall Best of Show and a People’s Choice Award selected by attendee votes. Those winners receive a $250 prize.
In December, all first place adult and youth winners will be feted at a dinner at the golf course, where they’ll receive a commendation from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and from Fifth District Congressman Bob Latta.
Judges include Timothy Van Beke, program chair of the Siena Heights University art department; Jason Cox Ph.D., an arts administrator from Ohio State University; and Mad Mohre, Siena Heights associate professor of art. Each has had art exhibited both nationally and internationally.
Swanton Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Neil Toeppe said the juried exhibit is unique in that “it’s a joint youth and adult exhibit, where students are encouraged to exhibit their art in an adult setting with accomplished artists. This is a rare opportunity for youth.”
Toeppe said the exhibit attracts quality artists due to the prize money and the fact that the golf club setting offers a more comfortable venue. “It offers an opportunity for art hobbyists to enter a home-town exhibit where they don’t feel the pressure they might in entering an exhibit in Toledo,” he said.
A full 30% of the submissions are from Fulton County artists, and the exhibit’s quality pieces stand up to any produced by the best of artists in northwest Ohio, Toeppe said.
“The quality of the art is really spectacular,” he added. “We’ve talked to artists, and they tell us we really have a unique and high-quality exhibit.” He said, that, in fact, some artists won’t participate because they feel their pieces aren’t of a sufficient level.
That doesn’t mean, however, that amateur artists don’t have a chance to win. Toeppe said several years ago a local photographer entered the competition for the first time and was awarded first place in the category over more experienced entrants. The following year he won second place.
Planning for the juried art exhibit begins in February through a six-person committee. The event is held in October so it doesn’t conflict with a multitude of summer art exhibits. The Friday reception alone typically attracts 250 people.
Toeppe said the juried art exhibit was created to support the creative juices of the communities’ youth. He said the owner of a local software company once compared the work of artists and computer programmers, who can mar or destroy a project through either a single mathematical error or a wayward brush stroke.
“Both the artists and the programmers have a lot of similar thought processes and attention to detail,” Toeppe said.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.