BEST IN SHOW … Teri Utz Bersee, First Place in Oil and winner of Best in Show. (PHOTO BY BILL O’CONNELL, STAFF)
By: Bill O’Connell
The Swanton Area Chamber of Commerce held its sixth annual Swanton Fine Arts Exhibit and Sale at Valleywood Golf Club and reaffirmed it’s standing as one of the foremost juried art exhibits in Northwest Ohio.
This year’s show attracted artists from 20 different communities from Michigan and Ohio who submitted over 170 pieces of art in eight adult and thee youth categories. The exhibit opened on Friday, October 12 with the Artists’ and VIP Sponsors’ Reception and was open to the public on Saturday and Sunday.
“What makes us unique among all the exhibits is that we have student/youth involvement in the exhibit,” said Swanton Chamber Executive Director Neil Toeppe. “Usually, students are exhibiting in a student exhibit and adults are exhibiting in an adult exhibit. This gives the students an opportunity to compare and contrast their art with adult artists and learn techniques and styles.”
All artwork was judged by three highly acclaimed jurists including Timothy Van Beke, Associate Professor of Art and Program Coordinator at Siena Heights University, Dr. Jason Cox, Assistant Professor of Art Education at the University of Toledo, and Mad Mohre, Associate Professor of Art at Siena Heights University.
Beyond the artists and the judges, Mr. Toeppe emphasized the importance of the exhibit’s sponsors and supporters. In addition to the overall expenses, $5,000 is awarded in prizes and scholarships. “The exhibit clearly would not exist without the donors and sponsors out here in Swanton. We really are in awe of the art and the artists they bring in.” he pointed out. “Another thing that is needed is a dedicated committee of about six volunteers that work throughout the year.”
First place winners in the student categories were Jenna Hertzfield of Perrysburg in Drawing, Devon Dodd in of Swanton in Mixed Media and Stephanie Findlay of Swanton in Painting.
In the adult categories, the first place winners were Amy Renkel of Grand Rapids in Photography, Barbie Sterling of Sylvania in Computer Generated, Donna Barhite of Wauseon in Drawing, Michael Hill of Toledo in Water Color, Susan Miller of Morenci, Michigan in Acrylic, Teri Utz Bersee of Fennville, Michigan in Pastel and in Oil, and Timothy Tyree of Maumee in Mixed Media. Best in Show was awarded to Teri Utz Bersee for her oil painting “Perfect Afternoon Behind the Biltmore” and the Peoples Choice Award went to Donna Barhite for her pastel “Daydreamer.”
Artwork from Fulton County represented approximately 37% of the total entries. The Swanton Fine Art Exhibit is looking forward to future growth and more opportunities for local artists to showcase their creative talents in 2020.
Bill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org