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Art in the County reminds us ‘how much we love art’

Applause rang out at the opening night of the 24th annual Art In The County juried exhibition and sale Friday night with County artists in the spotlight.

Sarah Moran

Sarah Moran, acting chairperson of the Prince Edward County Arts Council, thanked the artists for entering “wonderful, exciting, inspiring pieces” for this year’s show.

“We know how the arts contributes to our quality of life and building our community and our culture,” she said. “A show like this just reminds us how much we love art – how it connects with our hearts and connects us to one another.”

Five Juror’s Awards, Five Honorable Mentions and the Otto Donald Rogers Award were announced before a few hundred people gathered for the celebration of Art in the County.

In the show’s early years, only two-dimensional pieces were eligible for entry. Since, the show has expanded to include a range of media such as watercolour, acrylic, oil and encaustic paintings, sculpture, fibre, wood, photography, ceramics and glass. More than 90 works by 66 County artists were chosen by the jurors for this year’s show.

And this year, all five juror’s awards were presented to the new range of art.

Saralou Miller saw a childhood dream of being a costume designer come true as her ‘La Dauphine Creme du Comte’ took centre stage of the show and received a Juror’s Award.

She started painting heads and designing costumes when she returned home to the County to retire.

“It was always a dream of mine to be a costume designer when I was a kid but things change,” said Miller who ended up working as a public servant in Ottawa. “Now I’m having so much fun doing this. What I’m going to do with them afterward, I don’t know. I use them as a model for painting.”

Her huband, Graham Pilkington, also had a piece chosen by the jurors for the show – an abstract in acrylic, called Mooring.

Lesley Snyder

Lesley Snyder’s wool and silk creation titled ‘Storm’ received a juror’s award.

The garment involves pieces of hand-dyed silk, and felting, she said, that involves a lot of physical effort.

“You lay the fluff on top, add hot, soapy water and work it and roll it and agitate it until it goes where you want it to, or at least, stays where it’s supposed to,” she laughs. The silk fibres on top, she notes, shrink, creating the effect of lightening bolts that complement the water and clouds creating the ‘perfect storm’.

Tom Ashbourne received a juror’s award for his peach alabaster titled ‘Georgia’ and Roderick Samuel’s furniture piece titled ‘Persian Flaw’ was also awarded.

Photographer Graham Davies

Graham Davies, last year’s prestigious Otto Rogers Award of Excellence winner, was honoured again this year with a juror’s award for his analog photograph ‘Sofie’s Dream’.

Buffy Carruthers’ acrylic painting ‘Vineyard in Winter’

Buffy Carruthers, a visual artist based in Milford, was this year’s winner of the Otto Donald Rogers Award for Excellence for her acrylic painting titled Vineyard in Winter. The award was established in 2015 by the renowned Canadian painter and County resident.

Honorable Mention awards this year were awarded to Krista Dalby, for her cardboard creation ‘Corrugated Cohen’; to Pauline Dinham for an acrylic on plexiglass called ‘Hallelujah’; to Andrea Piller for her stoneware and glazes piece titled ‘Through the Big Swamp’; Caroline Shuttle for her glass and metal “An Abundance’ and Kato Wake’s oil on canvas titled ‘Lemons in Buffy’s Bowl’.

Jurors Award and Honorable Mention Award winners for the 2017 show gather for a group photograph.

 

“Each year the Art in the County showcases the highest quality of works of art by Prince Edward County artists and artisans,” said emcee Vanessa Pandos. “All the art on display tonight has been carefully chosen by three distinguished jurors, professionally qualified art experts.”

Jurors this year were Dr. Laura Brandon, an independent curator and art historian and adjunct research professor at the School for Studies in Art and Culture at Carleton; Sunny Kerr, artist, educator, author and curator of contemporary art and adjunct assistant professor at the Department of Art History and Art Conversation at Queen’s University; and Sonja Scharf, founder, gallery director and photographer, Akasha Art Projects Inc in Toronto.

Annik Despres, show chairperson, said Thursday’s night’s VIP gathering for previous buyers saw 10 works sold and 50 galleries from Toronto to the Quebec border have been invited to see the show.

Over the years the show has attracted more than 50,000 visitors and generated more than $260,000 in arts sales for County artists.

Mayor Robert Quaiff congratulated the artists, Arts Council and volunteers on the successes of the show, noting the topic came up at the Eastern Ontario Wardens Caucus meetings he hosted Thursday and Friday.

“The comments resonated to me of how important the arts are to Prince Edward County and it speaks volumes to me about your contributions… The talent in Prince Edward County is incredible.”

The exhibition and sale runs June 23-July 9, upstairs at Picton’s Books & Company on Main Street. It is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily (5 p.m. Sundays and 3 p.m. on July 9). Entry is $3 for adults and children aged 12 and under are free of charge.
The Arts Council, in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday, will waive its $3 show admission fee and provide viewers with birthday cake and refreshments, thanks to sponsorship by the Elizabeth Crombie Real Estate Team at Royal LePage ProAlliance. Visitors are reminded to fill in their ballot for the ‘People’s Choice’ Award to be presented at the close of the exhibition.

The show runs from June 23 to July 9, upstairs, at Books & Company, downtown Picton.

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