GALLIPOLIS — Art in the Park, from the French Art Colony, has been a featured event, with the River Recreation Festival, since 1968.
It has come a long way in 47 years, from several entries of varying quality, with some hung on “chicken wire” to the two quality exhibits this year. The FAC gallery features winning submissions throughout July, selected by three qualified jurors. All remaining entries were exhibited in Gallipolis City Park on July 4.
The exhibit at the FAC, now open at 530 First Ave., offers visitors an opportunity to “second guess” the jurors’ selections. Many are also available for purchase. There was also an opportunity to buy fine work for home or office, at reasonable cost, from the exhibit in the park.
Jurors selected for the 2015 competition had diverse backgrounds in the art world and expertise in various mediums.
Jan Safford taught art at Kyger Creek, North Gallia and River Valley schools for 28 years, retiring in 2009. She currently teaches art history at the University of Rio Grande.
Angela Petrie has taught art history for 19 years, on all levels, from elementary through high school. She helps many children discover their creative abilities and teaches many different mediums.
Kelli Burns works with both children and adults, teaching art language, technique and other general education skills. She has a degree from Marshall University and also a bachelor’s degree in art history.
Comments from the jurors, after making their selections for the galleries, are always available to entering artists as there is always an educational element in their selections. They noted presentations, including framing, has improved to a much more professional level, in both amateur and professional divisions. With fewer entries than usual, FAC officials said mediums were not represented as well as they could have been, but added that the works selected for the galleries are of high caliber.
The jurors said they wanted to see more conceptual and contemporary work. They commented, “Shows, such as these, are very important to the regional community, and allow both amateur and professional artists an opportunity to interact and showcase their talent.”
In the Professional Division, selected works from 14 artists were accepted for the gallery exhibit. In Ohio, they came from Columbus, Gallipolis, Marietta, Oak Hill and Long Bottom. West Virginia artists were from Huntington, Ona, Gallipolis Ferry, Leon and Cross Lanes. One artist came from Fairfax, Va.
In the Amateur Division, artists representing Ohio were from Gallipolis, Bidwell, Patriot, Oak Hill and Proctorville. Other Amateur Division artists traveled from Huntington, Leon and Point Pleasant in West Virginia, with additional entries coming from Harrisburg, Ill.
The exhibit in Gallipolis City Park was available for viewing at 10 a.m. Saturday and closed at 5 p.m., when artists were able to pick up any work not being shown in the FAC galleries. The gallery exhibit will remain in the FAC galleries Tuesday through Saturday each week throughout July. Some entries, in the galleries, are still available for sale, as was most of the work shown in Gallipolis City Park.
“Sponsors make this competition possible and the FAC could not do this without them,” Jan Thaler, chair for the competition, said.
Thaler said the competition would not have been possible without the support of Peoples Bank, the primary sponsor, as well as Farmers Bank, Ohio Valley Bank, Mane Designers Salon, WesBanco and Gallipolis Career College.
All FAC programs also receive support from the Ohio Arts Council.
Marianne Campbell is a volunteer for the Gallia County Chamber of Commerce.