The verdict is in.
Each year, Art in Common - a nonprofit organization that promotes local and regional artists - presents "Artists in Our Midst," a juried art exhibition, at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Altoona.
This year's juror's award winners - Kathleen Kase Burk of Ebensburg, Steven Gilbert of Altoona, Marianne Fyda of Troutville and Michael Allison of Hollidaysburg - worked in paint or pencil, but the exhibit in total runs the gamut of mediums - from traditional paintings and photography to mixed media works, digital prints and papier-mache sculptures.
Mirror photo by Keith Frederick
This papier-mache work, titled “Red Spider,” is by Indiana artist Gene Fenton. It won a Juror’s Mention award in Art in Common’s annual “Artists in Our Midst” exhibition, on display through Dec. 4 at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Altoona.
The exhibit, on display through Dec. 4, was juried by Michael Campbell, a successful artist and a professor of art at Shippensburg University.
"I think this show is just fabulous - the mixture of color, of style, just make it a unique show," said Lynn Marchetti Heverly, treasurer and business manager of Art in Common.
"He pulled out a nice, diverse show - it really showed everything. Every style."
If you go
What: "Artists in Our Midst," annual juried exhibition presented by Art in Common
When: through Dec. 4
Where: Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Altoona, 1210 11th Ave., Altoona
Museum hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday
More information: Call the museum at 946-4464. Contact Art in Common by writing to them at 230 Fourth Ave., Altoona, PA 16602
The compliment was echoed by Barbara Hollander, the site coordinator for SAMA Altoona, which hosts the show each year.
"This year's exhibit, I thought, was a very tight show, and that's in large part due to the juror, Michael Campbell," Hollander said. "He took his time, and I thought he was very diverse in his pickings. You're going to see a lot of fabric art, which we don't usually have. We have really beautiful photography. And, of course, our painters are always stepping up for this show."
Art in Common is a non profit group of artists from Blair County and the surrounding counties. According to Marchetti Heverly, "Artists in Our Midst" is the largest exhibit Art in Common puts together each year. The group also presents exhibits at the Blair County Arts Foundation and the Altoona Area Public Library and hang all of the artwork for the Blair County Arts Festival.
Area artists who would like to join Art in Common should contact the group at 230 Fourth Ave., Altoona, PA 16602.
Campbell, interviewed by phone from his Shippensburg office, said the diversity of the submissions made it easier to pick out the approximately 70 works in the exhibit, particularly the winners.
"I think, normally, a judge will look to represent both the representational, the abstract and the non-representational (in a juried exhibit)," he said. "In this exhibit, each of those three were so strong that it was easy to pick the best of each.
"I think the award winners are very sophisticated in terms of their content, their command of medium and their technique."
To judge the pieces, Campbell looked at them repeatedly.
"The other thing that's really important as a judge is that you have to look at the work multiple times - and I do it over a series of days - because that gives you a clearer sense of what is strong," he said.
|Best of the best|
|Juror’s award winners|
|* Kathleen Kase Burk of Ebensburg, “Remembrance,” pencil on paper|
|* Steven Gilbert of Altoona, “Fireman’s Carnival,” oil on panel|
|* Marianne Fyda of Troutville, “Sunlight Iris and Hops,” pastel|
|* Michael Allison of Hollidaysburg, “Foral Satori #2,” acrylic on paper|
|Juror’s honorable mentions|
|* Alyce Ritti of Port Matilda, “Eves Theatre Fantasy,” mixed media collage|
|* Dave Hammaker of East Freedom, “High Street,” photography|
|* Gene Fenton of Indiana, “Red Spider,” papier-mache|
|* John Hovenstine of Hollidaysburg, “Ballerina and Skates,” mixed media assemblage|
"My experience is that if you're looking at multiple pieces over multiple days, award winners will surface again and again."
Picking award winners and honorable mentions is a difficult task, Hollander said.
"I think the award winners are fabulous (for 'Artists in Our Midst')," she said. "I think if you picked, you'd have four different ones. ... It's hard to judge (the award winners). It's a very individual pick."
Campbell says he usually serves as a juror for such juried exhibits three to four times a year. It's an experience that he enjoys.
"I think it's interesting," he said. "You never know what you're going to see when you arrive and, more times than not, you're pleasantly surprised."
As for the Art in Common exhibit, Campbell says, "I thought the work was really pretty strong."
Mirror Staff Writer Keith Frederick is at 946-7466.