The Owensboro Art Guild will have reason to celebrate on Saturday.
The guild will hold its 60th annual juried reception and awards presentation from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Owensboro Museum of Fine Arts, which is also sponsoring the event.
“It’s truly honorable to be in this position for the 60th juried exhibition,” said Sarah Higdon, president of the Owensboro Art Guild. “I’ve been involved with the guild for about three years and the last two years I’ve been vice-president, so this is my first year as president. …Every year I’ve come to this show and that’s an incredible show….”
Mary Bryan Hood, director of OMFA, said she was delighted with the show and described it as “more than an opening and an awards show”.
“This is truly a great celebration of what a group of… local artists have been able to do over a period of six decades, several generations of these artists have done so with the aim of enriching the cultural environment of our community. “Hood said. .
The Owensboro Art Guild is the Commonwealth’s oldest continuous, artist-run visual arts organization and sponsors a variety of exhibition opportunities throughout the year.
Hood recalls the 1963 exposition in a “large vacant house on Griffith Avenue” across from where the Owensboro School Board building now stands.
The house was covered “from floor to ceiling with paintings”.
“It was a truly remarkable event and it, I think, sparked the excitement to continue with the juried exhibits,” Hood said.
According to OMFA, 74 performers from Kentucky and surrounding states competed for more than $3,500 in merit and purchase prizes to be awarded at the reception.
All entries submitted to the exhibition were judged by Bob Lockhart, professor emeritus at Bellarmine University in Louisville, who Hood says has “impeccable taste” and “a very good artist.”
Of 141 entries, Lockhart judged the exhibit at 72 two-dimensional and three-dimensional works and selected 11 awards of merit, according to an OMFA press release.
“The quality of the exhibit has improved remarkably over the years, which is kind of a testament to the ability of artists growing up in their disciplines,” Hood said.
Higdon notes the importance of what the arts do for her personally and beyond simply sharing the art with others.
“I’ve always been into art since I could pick up a pencil,” Higdon said. “It’s really about the community and bringing everyone together and just the joy and… the emotion that you feel even just displaying the art. And especially if you buy a piece of art, you can take it home and take that joy home. And… just seeing the talent of some of these people who are in our own city. … We have a lot of really good talent here in Owensboro.
The traditional gala and awards ceremony, which usually takes place at the same time as the opening of the exhibition, has been delayed due to pandemic concerns.
The exhibit opened to the public on February 27 in the museum’s Carnegie Exhibition Wing, which Hood said was well received.
“We’ve had a really big response in terms of daily attendance – an unusually big response,” Hood said. “Not just Owensboro but local people coming to see this exhibit….”
Admission to the event and museum is free and open to the public, while donations of $3 for adults and $2 for children are encouraged.
The prize giving will take place at 7 p.m.
“…For us to keep going and…to get this far, it takes a lot to have the Art Guild,” Higdon said. “We are based on volunteers; we obviously don’t get paid – it’s just work we have to do together, so that should definitely be celebrated.
The exhibition will continue after the gala and awards ceremony until April 22 and will be open during regular museum hours from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
For more information, visit the museum’s website at omfa.us or call 270-685-3181.