IAA fall show attracts more than 40 artists

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 21, 2003

Mary Effie Ford has thought about becoming a professional artist.

An award she won Saturday may be her push in that direction.

Ford, an Ironton resident, took home the non-professional best of show award Saturday at the 29th Annual Ironton Artists Association art show. She and more than 40 other artists from across the Tri-State put their works on display at Ohio University Southern.

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The show normally attracts around 60 artists, but attendance was lower this year, probably because people were fearing rain, said Kathy Plyborn, IAA president. The show was also in competition with Poage Landing Days in Ashland, Ky., and Chilifest in Huntington, W.Va.

Nevertheless, Plyborn was very impressed with the show's entries.

"Everyone here is a true artist," she said. "There is nothing here not to be liked."

Plyborn noted that more professionals entered the show this year, possibly the result of amateur regulars going professional.

Huntington resident Lynda Tracy won this year's best of show for professionals with one of her watercolors. She began her work 25 years ago when her mother suggested she take some art classes. Selling her work was motivation to continue. Now, she is a signature member of the West Virginia Watercolor Society.

"It feels good to know someone likes your work," she said. "There is some very fine artwork here. There are a lot of different levels of work, a lot of creativity expressed."

Marshall University Art Department Chairwoman Jean Miller was the judge for this year's show.

"There was quite a range of work in subject matter, concept and technical process," said Miller, who was judging the show for the first time.

Both professional and non-professional artists exhibited superior work, Miller said. She was especially impressed with the sophisticated application of the watercolors.

Miller said she judged the entries just as if she was judging any juried exhibit,. She examined the artist's technical ability and looked for whether or not the work showed an original voice and an intangible quality that makes the piece memorable.

Ironton resident Linda Johnson, a professional artist, has been coming to the show since 1988.

"The competition is always stiff," she said. "There's a lot of good artists in the Tri-State."