Staggering array featured in SPSA Art & Photography Exhibit

February 23, 2001
Santa Paula News

Art lovers are able to enjoy a “Staggering” array of art with the 64th Annual Art & Photography Exhibit now on display at Blanchard Community Library.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesArt lovers are able to enjoy a “Staggering” array of art with the 64th Annual Art & Photography Exhibit now on display at Blanchard Community Library.Winners will be announced on Saturday, Feb. 17th, during the reception sponsored by Santa Clara Valley Bank and featuring the music of Mexican Folk Harpist and artist Xavier Montes. The reception will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. at the library, 119 N. 8th St.The amount and talent of the entries is “Staggering,” said Virginia Gunderson, President of the Santa Paula Society of the Arts, sponsors of the show which this year drew about 365 art works.Already on display, the show has drawn praise from those who have viewed it. “We're getting such a marvelous response; people are really pleased with it, and we're selling art faster than we can keep up with,” Gunderson, who sold two of her own works, added.The society is gearing up for the reception, which historically draws over 300 people. One facet of the exhibit - the People's Choice Award - allows the public to vote for their favorite, and “Most everybody that comes runs a ballot through,” said Gunderson.
Other prizes include the juried awards and the Jury of Your Peers, where exhibit artists vote for the prize winners.Judges have their own ideas of art but accepted entries are allowed in because they are geared for People's Choice and Jury of Your Peers: “The professional judges have an eye honed by galleries or the educational field; they usually have a more demanding aspect,” to their choices. “The Jury of Your Peers is where the artistically skilled judge others' skills, and People's Choice is what the people like, what comes from their heart. . .that's what makes this show so unique,” said Gunderson, and it is not unheard of for an artist to win in all categories.Santa Paula has a tradition of having fine art in their homes, as well as being home to many talented artists and photographers. There are “quite a few Santa Paula artists,” represented in the show, she added. “The public has been supportive buying the works, it's so phenomenal. And that's what gets an artists juices going, appreciation. . .and there's no better way to show your appreciation than getting your checkbooks out.”SPSA members Judy Dressler of Fillmore and Dolas Tubbs of Santa Paula are respectively handling reception decorations and refreshments but there are many more helpers: many people volunteer as docents, “not artists, just supporters of the show who are there every year for us and we're so thankful to them,” for overseeing the weeks-long exhibit, noted Gunderson.This year, over $4,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded during the reception for works - categories are oil/acrylic, watercolors, graphics/mixed media and photography - by artists from throughout the country.Founded in 1937 by Santa Paula artists Douglas Shively, Cornelis and Jesse Arms Botke, among others, the exhibit in turn was the source of the renowned Santa Paula Art Collection, owned by the city, school districts, hospital and library.

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