JACKSON CENTER — Some of America’s most important living painters will exhibit their work in Shelby County this spring.
Airstream will host a Fine Art Invitational from May 31 to June 5 at its headquarters in Jackson Center.
The show will run in conjunction with Alumapalooza, the annual gathering of hundreds of Airstream enthusiasts; however the exhibit will be open to the public at no charge.
“We decided to hold the Airstream Fine Art Invitational not only as a way to connect the Airstreamers that travel across the country’s beautiful landscapes with the artists who paint them, but also as a way to bring some additional culture to the small, rural town of Jackson Center,” said Karen Kist, marketing operations manager, in a release. “We are introducing the work of the top landscape artists in the country to hundreds of new potential collectors.”
Some of the top living landscape artists in the country will show their work, many of whom can be seen in Art Journey America, Landscapes, American Art Collector, and other major publications. Marketing Coordinator Brittany Fullenkamp said Airstream hopes to make the event an annual one, and future exhibits may focus on works other than landscapes.
Jackson Center artist Dan Knepper has assisted in identifying painters whose work is appropriate for this year’s show.
“Dan has been a huge help in getting the thing off the ground,” Fullenkamp said. “We’re hoping to do it every year and expand it — maybe have two shows, an invitational and a juried show focused on Airstream.”
Fifty artists were invited to participate this year. To date, 19 have committed to exhibiting one work, each. They are Len Chmiel, of Hotchkiss, Colorado; Brent Cotton, of Stevensville Montana; Kathleen Dunphy, of Murphys, California; Peter Fiore, of Matamoras, Pennsylvania; Tim Horn, of Fairfax, California; Neal Hughes, of Moorestown, New Jersey; Chris Leeper, of Canfield; Joseph McGurl, of Cataumet, Massachusetts; Jim McVicker, of Loleta, California; Tom Perkinson, of Corrales, New Mexico; Scott Lloyd Anderson, of Minneapolis, Minnesota; Morten Solberg, of Bluffton, South Carolina; James Toogood, of Cherry Hill, New Jersey; Steven Walker, of Lewis Center; Stephen Fox, of Brooklyn, New York; Elizabeth Jose, of Taos, New Mexico; Donald Lake, of Mahomet, Illinois; Brian Vegter, of Baker City, Oregon; and Knepper.
Collectors and art enthusiasts are expected to come from other states as well as from throughout Ohio, according to Knepper.
“People are just beginning to understand the weight of this collection,” he said. “It would be like living in the time of Rembrandt and seeing work that he just did. These are the artists that will be the remembered artists of our time. Some of them are living legends. Art teachers might want to think about bringing their classes through (the exhibit). It is a great honor to show my work with these legends.” It is unlikely that the public would ever have another chance to see the work of all of them together in one place at the same time again.
Airstream will present three awards during the show. One will be decided by the viewing public. A $250 People’s Choice Award will be made based on votes by attendees. In addition, Airstream will make $1,000 and $500 Curator’s Choice awards to the artists of two paintings.
Jennifer Complo McNutt will decide those awards. McNutt is a curator at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis, where she has managed the contemporary art program for 25 years. McNutt has presented nearly 50 exhibitions and contributed to numerous catalogs. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Art in painting and drawing from Indiana University and a Master of Fine Arts in painting from Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia.
Airstream staff will reconfigure the firm’s customer service building to house the exhibit. Furniture will be removed and gallery walls will be installed.
Between now and May 31, the Sidney Daily News will publish a series of articles profiling each artist. The first is scheduled to appear in Monday’s edition.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.