Fall Regional Art Show

Madison Art Club readies for annual show with new categories

Fiber artist Gray only began her craft about a year ago

(October 2016) – There will be winning entries from several new categories on the walls when the Madison Art Club begins its 18th annual Fall Regional Art Show from Oct. 8-26 at the Art on Main gallery, 309 W. Main St., Madison, Ind.
“We completely revamped the categories to include fiber art, print making artisan and even a wild card category,” said second-term President Teresa Waller. “We fund the show largely from sponsorships. We have more sponsors because we revamped the categories.”

Photo by John Sheckler

Fiber artist Natalie Gray of Lexington, Ind., is a new art show entrant this year. A sample of her work is below.

Having more categories also meant there were more people bringing work to compete for the prizes and exhibits. One new entrant was fiber artist Natalie Gray of Lexington, Ind.
“I have only done this for a year,” said Gray. “I quilted for several years but never thought of it as art until about 11/2 year ago. I was in a fabric shop, and a piece of material kept shouting to me, ‘Monet, Monet.’ Friends around me kept telling me, ‘You have to buy that.’ ”
Gray returned to the shop because she couldn’t get it out of her mind.
“Then my mind went to Matisse,” she said. “In the fabric art I do, I keep cutting pieces and put them together. Matisse was the father of decoupage, and he loved color. Between the decoupage and the color, he was right up my alley, I love color.”
After some practice, Grey started doing slices of life, similar to the sort of things a person could capture with a camera.
“I have no art background, but I was a special education teacher for 33 years.” she said. “I needed to task every student to evaluate how the child was learning. Students with special needs are very creative.”
Gray credits her work with the students for giving her the ability to break down the steps of her fiber art process. Some of the art on the Art on Main wall is a three-piece series focused on memories of tomatoes from her childhood.
“I like my art to have a story,” she said. “One piece shows kids eating watermelon on a tomato truck. I was told they stole them and sold them to the factory for 25 cents. One gentleman came in who knew my dad when they were 12 years old around World War II. He saw the piece and told me the whole neighborhood depended on my grandfather for fertilizer for their gardens, and they would hire him to truck tomatoes to Morgan Foods.”
Now, Morgan Foods of Austin, Ind., is one of the sponsors of the Fall Art Show.

Photo by John Sheckler

Madison Art Club President Teresa Waller poses with the show’s awards ribbons.

“We are very well supported in the community by individuals and companies,” Waller said. “We have groups representing dentists, real estate, insurance and factories. Their support allows us to award $5,000 in prizes. We are fortunate to have some sponsors stay with us from year to year.”
The art club has about 36 sponsors and sets its sponsor goal at $5,000, but donations have them very close to the $6,000 mark this year. Last year, they raised $4,300. Waller credits the extra categories for the growth in sponsorship and entries.
“Typically, we have 150 pieces, more or less, from 80 artists from Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio,” said Waller. “We are an important part of Madison, and our show helps show the importance of art in Madison. People who come to see the show also go to the restaurants and spend money in other places.”
The show brings in a lot of people who have never shown before, and then those people start bringing work to hang in the gallery.
“When there is a new winner, the grandparents come in, aunts and uncles come in, the whole family is so proud,” said Waller. “They come in groups to look for the work of the artist in their family.”
The gallery has a packed house for the award reception.
“Our show is different because we are not juried for entry,” said Waller. “A jury can be daunting for many people, especially if the entries are submitted digitally.”
The Fall Art Show offers an award of $1,000 for Best of Show, a $100 Mayor Choice Award and merit awards in each category. The artists pay a $40 entry fee, and the merit awards equal 10 percent of the fees in each category.
“Painting is the biggest and has eight merit awards,” said Waller. “There are always a lot in the drawing category be-cause we get a lot of pastels. If a category has less than 10 entries, it goes to the wild card category. It is possible that will happen with the new categories be-cause it takes a while for them to become established.”
The judge this year was Deb Whistler, professor of Studio Art at Hanover College. She has a Master’s in Fine Art from the University of Cincinnati, and a Bachelor’s in Fine Art from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.
The award reception will be held from 7-9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, at Art on Main gallery.
“We are really big on education,” Gray said. “Entering is giving me a firm background and security in seeing myself as an artist. It mostly lets me see other people’s work. I am always looking to see how other people have done it. Artists bring their work to the gallery and always have adventures to share. It is amazing to work here and be part of that conversation. It is fascinating brain candy.”
The Madison Art Club, in its 67th year, is one of the oldest continuously operated art clubs in the state of Indiana. New members are welcome. Applications are available online or at the Art on Main Gallery.

• For more information about the Madison Art Club, call (812) 265-2923 or visit: https://sites.google.com/site/artclubofmadisonindiana/welcome.

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