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Artists display talent

The Imes family moved from one painted canvas to another Saturday.

Sunday, September 26, 1999

The Imes family moved from one painted canvas to another Saturday. This was the first time they had attended the Ironton Artists Association’s Fall Art Show, and they were amazed at the quantity and quality of the work that covered the front lawn of Ohio University Southern Campus.

"When I was a kid, I would go to a lot of the art fairs," said Jerry Imes of South Point. "I never even knew we had this type of thing here."

There were paintings by more than 40 different artists on the Ironton campus lawn, and organizers could not have been more pleased.

"That’s a lot of artists," said Carl Davidson, association president. "And we’re glad we had such a good turnout. This gives the local artist a chance to show their work and sell their work. And we always have a lot of people who come out to support the artists. This gives them some recognition."

The more people who see an artist’s work, the more popular it gets, said Lonnie Albright, a South Point artist.

"And the more popular an artist you are, the more people who will buy your work," Albright said. "But there are not too many places in this area to show your work."

The fall art show, now in its 25th year, not only offers a place for artists to showcase their talent, but also enhances the community, said Stan Sporny, show judge and professor of art at Marshall University.

"This is an excellent thing – to be recognized within your own community," Sporny said. "This is what makes the culture here richer."

With so many good pieces of work to choose from, Sporny said he would have a difficult task in awarding first-place prizes.

"I look for something that has an air of resolution to it of completion," Sporny said. "It must have a feeling that it doesn’t seem like there could be anything else done to improve the piece. Then, I look for originality, and I’m big on color. Beyond that, if I really have to make a hard decision, I look for something that I’ve never seen before."

The variety of subject matter, and art mediums attracts many visitors throughout the day, including those from out of state.

This was the first time Marian Madsen of Ashland, Ky., had ventured to the art show, and she was pleased with what she found.

"I think it’s great," Mrs. Madsen said. "I like it. I’m just admiring the pictures."

The art show will continue to be a tradition in the Ironton area. Not only does it allow artists to sell and show their work, but it also gives them a chance to meet each other, and also to learn from one another.

"Artists work in isolation," Sporny said. "Some call it the illumination of solitude. Artists hardly get a chance to talk to other artists or people, because they are working. Every year, this whole group comes together and they realize what strength they have in their community."