GALLIPOLIS — The French Art Colony sponsored its 49th Annual Festival Exhibit this year, during the annual River Recreation Festival, celebrating Independence Day.
In the early years, art work was displayed on small mesh fencing, referred to as “chicken wire,” in the Gallipolis City Park. This year, the Festival winners, the Jurors’ choices, are the July exhibit in the Galleries at Riverby, home of the French Art Colony. All of the other entries in the competition, both adult and children’s work, were displayed July 3 and 4 in the outdoor Pavilion at Riverby, safe from the weather.
This year, there were 144 entries — 75 in the professional division, and 69 in the amateur division. From this total group, 13 pieces were juried in from the professional division, entered by 12 professional artists, and 19 works by 14 amateur artists. They included oils, pastels, watercolors, glass, mixed media, photography, monotype and collage, pen and ink drawings, alcohol ink, acrylic and bronze sculpture.
Judging took place on Wednesday, June 21, with all juried pieces available as purchase awards on Thursday, June 22. Jurors, selecting works for the gallery exhibit, included Kevin Lyles, professor in the Fine Arts Department at the University of Rio Grande; Jan Safford, an art teacher in Point Pleasant Junior and Senior High Schools, and Elizabeth Jackson, an art teacher in the Gallia County School system.
In the professional division, receiving first place honors, were Virginia Carvour, from Columbus, both for her pastel, “Fresh Snow,” and in mixed media for “Verdant Wetland.” In oil, it was “Mute Swans,” by Rhea Knight from Letart, W.Va. For watercolor, “Satter Path,” by Anne Shuff, from Proctorville, received first place, and was purchased by Gail Belville Rental Real Estate. First place for print was awarded to Katherine Ziff from Athens, for her “Sea Islands Lady.” Other firsts included Leona Mackey from Huntington, W.Va., for her glass entry, “WV Stream,” and Joseph G. Hamilton of Patriot, for his sculpture, “Joenna: Identified as a Sculpture.” Winning both first place and Best of Show for his photograph, “St. Helena Rust,” was Matthew Ziff from Athens.
Other winners in the professional division were Sharon Asher from Wurtland, Ky., second place in oil and acrylics, for her “Aspen Glow,” and Paul Brown, of Jackson, taking third place with his oil, “Amish Teepees.” Awarded second place for her mixed media, “Mermaid Loves Butterflies,” was Patricia Chapman from Huntington, W.Va.
Also in mixed media, third place was awarded to Joy Duffy, of Gallipolis, for her “Sue City.” Laura Maul from Milton, W.Va., received second place in photography for “Connemara Memory,” and it was purchased by Jane Daniel.
In the amateur division, Patricia Parsons from Vinton, took first place in sculpture, with her bronze, entitled “Horton, the Elephant.” First place in drawing went to Amee Sha Neal from Apple Grove, W.Va., for “Illusion.” In acrylics, Shelby Steele of Wurtland, Ky., was awarded first place in oil and acrylic for “Old Mowing Machine,” and it was purchased by the Ohio Valley Bank. For her watercolor, “After the Dance,” Carol Mazurek, of Huntington, received first place, and it was purchased by Jan Thaler. Her “Under the Sea” not only won first place in mixed media, but also received Best of Show in the amateur division. She also received honorable mention in mixed media for “A Light in the Storm.” Second place for oil and acrylics was awarded to Martha Detty Foster from Oak Hill, for her “Oh Happy Day.”
For photography, Sherman Manis, from Parkersburg, W.Va., was awarded first place for “Mister Ruby,” and honorable mention for his “One Nation Under God.” Second place in photography went to Madelynn Howard Barrett from Portsmouth, for her “Night Bloom,” and it was purchased by Susan Willis-Sweets by Sue. Third place in photography went to Judith Cheek from Wheelersburg, for her “Snow Diamonds,” and it was purchased by The Wiseman Agency.
A number of honorable mentions in several categories were awarded by the judges. Included was Betty McClure from Huntington, for her watercolor, “Boat Dock, Hilton Head,” purchased by Jamie Traywick for Traywick Financial. Three were won by Julia Rice from Jackson. Her oil, “The Clearing,” and two alcohol ink works, “Crimson Radiance,” were purchased by Sandra Mayes, and “Peacock Perfection,” purchased by Allison Sanders. Joe Roush received honorable mention for his pastel, “Home Stretch,” and Diedra Lee from Point Pleasant for her pen and ink drawing, “Freedom.”
In photography, there were two honorable mentions, Ken Hollett, from Huntington, for “Red Trees,” purchased by WesBanco, and “Still Water,” by Dr. John Viall, of Gallipolis, purchased by Holzer Health System.
This year, 2017, marks 53 years the French Art Colony has continued to be a positive force, for providing and supporting the arts, in southeast Ohio. The FAC had its start in a second floor, one room studio, on the corner of Second Avenue and Locust Street. At the time, arts education, in local schools, was minimal and in those early years, with help from the Ohio Arts Council, the FAC began bringing artists in residency programs into the schools.
The OAC was also in its formative years in the late 60s. Today, the FAC enjoys its permanent home, Riverby, acquired in 1971, and offers a variety of programs, in the schools and on site at Riverby. These include the exhibits in the galleries, live theatre by the Riverby Theatre Guild, music and visual arts lessons, programs in the schools and much more. Now in its 49th year, the Festival competition and exhibit attracts artists from surrounding states.
Gallery hours at Riverby are Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. The FAC is closed on Sunday and Monday.
This year’s festival exhibit, open now through Aug. 5, has as a primary sponsor, Peoples Bank, with additional support from Ohio Valley Bank, WesBanco, US Bank, Farmers Bank, Mane Designers Salon & Spa, and program support from the Ohio Arts Council.