Fine Art Exhibit opens with gala event

PIQUA — Apple Tree Gallery will once again play host to the region’s largest art exhibit during the month of September. Piqua Arts Council’s 23rd Annual Piqua Fine Art Exhibit features the region’s top artists, with entries coming from as far north as Bowling Green south from Lexington, Ky., east from Columbus, and as far west as Peoria, Ill.

The 23rd Annual Piqua Fine Art Exhibit opens Thursday with a gala awards reception from 6-9 p.m. Tickets are $25 each and can be purchased at the door with cash or check. The reception will be catered by Heritage Events and Catering and will feature John Simon on acoustic guitar. Awards will be announced around 8 p.m.

The exhibit opens to the public free of charge starting Friday, Sept. 11 during normal Apple Tree hours and will run through Friday, Oct 2.

Don’t forget to vote for your favorite piece of art. People’s Choice ballots will be available by the elevator. All of the works in the exhibit are numbered. To vote just put the number of your favorite piece on a ballot and put it in the jar next to where the ballots are located. At the conclusion of the exhibit, the votes will be tallied and the winner will be awarded the People’s Choice Award which carries a prize of $100.

“This year’s exhibit has over 200 pieces,” said Jordan Knepper, Piqua Arts Council executive director. “That’s over 40 more pieces than last year and last year’s exhibit was so full, we ran out of wall space, but we’re going to get creative and find the extra space.”

Numerous new artists have been added this year, Knepper noted. “Continued growth is always something we strive for with our exhibit. Some of our artists from last year missed out on entering this year, but with us pushing to find new artists, we really made up for it and the quality of this year’s work is just as strong,” he said. “New artists from Dayton and Columbus along with Greenville and even an artist from Maryland joined the exhibit this year.”

The key to the exhibition’s continued expansion is staying in touch with other groups of artists and art competitions, Knepper said.

“By maintaining relationships with Greenville Art League, Artspace Lima, Riverside Art Center in Wapakoneta, Dayton Society of Painters and Sculptors and being around artists at events like the painting portion of the Arnold Classic in Columbus, we continue to find amazingly talented new artists,” he explained. “I even work with the Ohio Watercolor Society and maintain relationships with art instructors across the state who send students our way.”

Piqua Arts Council also added nearly $1,500 in prize money this year. The grand total of $4,500 now includes such memorial awards as the Michelle Award for the best painted portrait of a preteen child, the Kathy Oda Memorial Award for the best black amd white photo, and the Thelma Anderson Outstanding Piqua Artist Award, in addition to a new Ceramic’s Award and the Piqua Public Library’s Purchase Award.

Knepper said the sponsorships for the show really help. Exhibit sponsors are Mullenbrock and Associates, Jackson Tube Service, Hartzell Propeller and Heritage Events and Catering. Award sponsors at the top level (the Picasso sponsors) are A Learning Place, Piqua Pizza Supply Company and Beppo Uno, with Koverman Staley Dickerson Insurance being thelone Van Gogh Sponsor. Rembrandt sponsors are Adam & Eve, Eagle Printing and Graphics, Upper Valley Family Care, Miami Valley Centre Mall, The Yannucci Family and Red Lobster.