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Celebration of Creativity

OAC Fellowships 1980-2005

  • Dates
    Nov 16 , 2007 - Jan 13 , 2008
  • Venue
    Weston Art Gallery

Exhibition Sponsor(s):

Whitney & Phillip Long, Barbara & Ethan Stanley

Celebration of Creativity

OAC Fellowships 1980-2005

The Cincinnati Arts Association’s Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Art Gallery in the Aronoff Center for the Arts presents Celebration of Creativity: OAC Fellowships 1980-2005, an eclectic sampling of the wealth and diversity of artistic talent throughout the state of Ohio.

Organized by the Ohio Arts Council’s Riffe Gallery and co-curated by Dennis Harrington (Weston Art Gallery, Cincinnati), Kay Koeninger (Sinclair Community College, Dayton), and Kitty McManus Zurko (College of Wooster Art Museum, Wooster), Celebration of Creativity features a diverse selection of 18 Ohio artists working across the state who have received one or more Ohio Arts Council Fellowships in the past 25 years. 
Fellowships are one of the ways the OAC supports artists. Now called Individual Excellence Awards, these grants are awarded to artists to help them develop their body of work. A panel of arts professionals reviews portfolios for these highly competitive fellowships, which are awarded once a year. The awards are based on the review of work previously created, not on a proposal for a project or future work. Celebration of Creativity comprises artists who have not only earned at least one OAC grant during their career but have continued to develop their work and contribute to Ohio’s cultural landscape.

Each of the three curators tackled a region of the state. They reviewed portfolios and visited artist studios before making the difficult choice of narrowing down the field of participating artists.  “Ohio boasts a truly remarkable wealth of artistic talent,” said Dennis Harrington, director of the Weston Art Gallery, who selected artists from the southern region. “It has always been one of the favorite aspects of my job to conduct studio visits and enter the artists’ inner sanctum. This project introduced me to new artists in areas I hadn’t explored, and I was able to revisit artists with whom I have worked in the past.”

Kay Koeninger, an assistant professor of art at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, chose artists from the central Ohio region. As she made selections for the exhibition she found a common thread among the work. “These artists are investigating the essence, the true substance of a thing, whether it is isolating the essence of an object as James Friedman does in his Interior Design series or exploring the essence of a medium as Sean Wilkinson does in his photographs,” said Koeninger.

“The work from the northern region varies widely, from small-scale sculpture by Kate Budd to inkjet on canvas digital ‘paintings’ by Gregory Little,” said Kitty McManus Zurko, director and curator of The College of Wooster Art Museum. “Fundamentally, each of the artists creates an intervention with the world that asks us to consider pertinent contemporary issues.”

Participating artists include: Andrew Borowiec (Akron); Kate Budd (Akron); Cole Carothers (Milford); Johnny Coleman (Oberlin); Alan Crockett (Columbus); Ana England (Felicity); James Friedman (Columbus); Brian Joiner (Cincinnati); Lori Kella (Cleveland); Ron Kroutel (Athens); Gregory Little (Bowling Green); Thomas Macaulay (Dayton); Paul O’Keeffe (Cleveland); Todd Reynolds (Portsmouth); Dennis Savage (South Bloomingville); Karen Shirley (Yellow Springs); Lowell Tolstedt (Columbus); and Sean Wilkinson (Dayton). The exhibition features an array of artistic disciplines including painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, printmaking, and site-specific installation.

Gallery Talk Series: Thurs., Nov. 29 at 7 p.m.

Families Create! Education Workshop: Sat., Dec. 15 at 10 a.m.