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Published April 30, 2009, 07:22 AM

Art show opens at Arts Center

Organizers of the Jamestown Fine Arts Association’s 45th Annual Spring Art Show ex-pected the numbers to drop due to economic and environmental issues. They were wrong.

By: Toni Pirkl, The Jamestown Sun

Organizers of the Jamestown Fine Arts Association’s 45th Annual Spring Art Show ex-pected the numbers to drop due to economic and environmental issues. They were wrong.

This year’s juried show at the Arts Center will exhibit 162 pieces — nearly double last year’s number. The artists come from Minnesota, Montana and 19 communities in North Dakota. Sally Jeppson, Arts Center’s gallery manager, said she’s not sure why the numbers are up, al-though she’s happy to see the increase.

“Some artists said it had been a long, hard winter and the flooding that made them want to get out and do something different,” Jeppson said. “And Walter Piehl is the juror (judge). That may have something to do with it as well. Walter is a famous artist from North Dakota.”

Walter Piehl Jr. recently received the prestigious Bush Foundation Enduring Vision Award. Jeppson said the award is the first of its kind in the country and focuses on “propelling the artistic investigations of mature artists.”

Piehl has also been a professor in fine arts at Minot State University since 1970. In his paintings, he uses acrylic on canvas or paper. His artwork focuses on Western Americana themes using modern art influences and interpretation. His work has been exhibited in such diverse places as the Plains Art Museum in Fargo, the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame and the Museum of the American Cowboy in Colorado and the Palm Gallery in San Diego, Calif.

Piehl will judge the show’s artwork early in the day May 7. He’ll select winners and present prizes in various categories, such as painting, drawing and sculpture, plus Best of Show and the Youth Award at a reception from 5 to 7 p.m.

“He’ll talk about his selections at 6 (p.m.) at the reception and why he chose as he did,” Jeppson said. “The public is invited to this reception.”

The show, which opens today, also has a People’s Choice Award. Visitors to the gallery can vote on their favorite piece through May 30 when the show ends.

“The winner will be announced at the end of the show,” she said.

Jeppson said the show features high quality art with a number of professional artists exhibiting as well as some new faces. Despite the flood issues in Valley City, there are also a lot of Valley City State University students participating in the show this year.

All the show’s artwork makes it worth the trip to the gallery, Jeppson said. However, her favorite pieces in this year’s show are large-scale sculpture.

“I’d recommend coming in to see just those,” she said.

An unusual piece was submitted by a young man at North Dakota State University in Fargo, Jeppson said. It uses trash and salvageable materials as the medium.

“You’d never know the painting was recycled materials until you get close,” she said. “Obviously, it’s got a message.”

Along with the more traditional artwork of painting, drawing and sculpture, this show is presenting pieces done in nontraditional ways.

“There’s an increasing amount of new media work as in computer-generated art,” Jeppson said.

The Arts Center Gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. There is no admission charge.

Sun reporter Toni Pirkl can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by e-mail at tonip@jamestownsun.com

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