Madison Art Competition and Exhibition

Highly acclaimed Reifers
to judge this year’s art contest

He will offer a plein air
painting workshop in late August

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

(August 2008) – When Todd Reifers was a child, he would pedal his bicycle over to his grandmother’s garage studio and watch her work as an artist. Those long days of talking and drawing with her helped inspire him to become the award-winning artist that he is today.

Todd Reifers


Reifers, the 2008 Hoosier Salon “Best of Show” winner, has agreed to judge the 10th annual Madison Art Competition and Exhibition. He will also offer an Aug. 29-31 plein air workshop for artists and judge the artwork created during the plein air paint out.
The Madison Art Competition and Exhibition, the plein air workshop and the plein air paint out are all under the umbrella of “Artfest,” a series of art events that will take place during the last weekend in August. At 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30, a bonfire will be held along the Ohio River just below Fireman’s Park. The bonfire is a casual time for the public to meet and mingle with artists. Many of those artists are also musicians and will have their instruments on hand to perform during the night.
The Madison Art Competition and Exhibition show opens to the public Sept. 7 and will run through Sept. 28 at the Madison Art Gallery, 301. E. Main St. Awards for the competition and the plein air paint out will be presented in a ceremony at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 31, in front of the Madison Art Gallery.
Larry Rudolech, a coordinator for the competition and show, said this year that more than $7,700 will be given away in prizes. Much of that money was provided by a $6,000 grant from the Southern Indiana Arts Council. Private residents and local businesses donated the rest of the prize money.
“Each year, our competition is growing and attracting more top quality artists,” said Rudolech, also a Hoosier Salon artisan. This prestigious art show is a juried exhibit, with honorees selected through a rigorous statewide competition.
“The competition has become fierce, with artists from all over the region vying for prizes.”
Reifers, a lifelong Indiana resident, was born in 1948 in Lafayette, Ind.. His early exposure to art was through his grandmother, Ann Reifers, an accomplished amateur painter who developed treasured friendships with the late Indiana Masters Curry Boehm, V.J. Cariani, Ada Shulz and Derk Smit.
At age 14, Reifers, who has studios in Nashville, Ind. and Zionsville, Ind., sold his first work, a piece depicting a harbor scene. During his high school years, he won three consecutive scholarships to the John Herron School of Art’s summer program. Later, he trained at the Kansas City Art Institute and the Art Academy in Cincinnati.
His early career included serving as an illustrator for the Indianapolis Star and an art director for advertising agencies. Then he toured with the California Professional Artists’ Society and studied with the great watercolor master, John Pike.
Reifers is an associate member of the Oil Painters of America. He won Best of Show at the 2004 Eastern Regional Exhibition. Other awards include Best of Show at the 2001 Hoosier Salon, Best First-time Exhibitor at the 1999 Hoosier Salon, as well as the Indiana Heritage Arts 2003 Patron’s Choice award and 2004 Overall Second Place. He is an artist member of the North Shore Arts Association (Gloucester, Mass.), the Small Painting Society of Indiana and the American Impressionist Society.
Reifers, who resides in Indianapolis, paints predominantly on location or plein-air. He has offered a series of plein air workshops this summer to artists throughout Indiana and is looking forward to his Madison visit.
“I love to ride my motorcycle along the Ohio River in Madison; it is a lovely town,” he said. “I look forward to my trip there.”
During the workshop, Reifers said he will offer guidance for plein air painting, outline goals and discuss how important color values and drawing accuracy are for painting. He is also excited about the opportunity he has been given to judge such a prominent event. “Judging is a difficult job, but it is also a venue for an artist to continue to learn and grow,” he said.
Rudolech said it is amazing for an artist of Reifers caliber to participate in the Madison art contest. “We have seen a tremendous growth over the past five years in the caliber of artists looking to participate in our event. That an artist of Reifers’ caliber wants to be part of our competition shows the level to which our contest is rising.”
Prizes during the art competition will include six $300 awards for the categories of oil and acrylic, and three $300 awards for the categories of watercolor, pastels and mixed media. There will be numerous additional awards for varying amounts.
Awards for the plein air paint out include a $500 Best of Show Purchase Prize donated by Madison Mayor Tim Armstrong and the City of Madison. Three additional $100 prizes will also be awarded, and a children’s division will offer awards as well.

• For more information about ArtFest, call the Madison Art Club Gallery at (812) 265-3135, ext. 251.

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