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Art Expo comes to town Friday

From L-R: Evelyn Raiter, Don Clay, Barbara Clay and Margot Ban Horn are all smiles awaiting the opening of the Thumb Area Art Exhbition. Photo by Andrew Moser (click for larger version)
July 28, 2010 - Some of the brightest and best artists will be on display in Oxford for the public to see over the course of the next month.

Starting on Friday, July 30 and running until August 31, Margot's Gallery, 5 S. Washington St. in downtown Oxford, will be showcasing the best work from artists around the Michigan thumb area during the 50th annual Thumb Area Artists Exhibition.

Oxford resident Don Clay said that the Thumb Exhibition showcases pieces from artists who live all the way at the tip of Michigan's thumb all the way down to Wayne County.

The event is sponsored by the Romeo Guild of Art, and according to Romeo's Evelyn Raiter, the exhibit is a jured art show with competitions for prizes.

"It became a jured show about 10 years ago," she added. "It used to be just a little hometown show with the Romeo Peach Festival."

Raiter added there will be five place-winners, with the best painting receiving a cash prize of $300. She noted that honorable mention awards would also be handed out.

In addition to best of show, the public will also get to vote on their favorite piece. The winner of the public vote will receive a $100 gift certificate to Creative Corner in Romeo.

So what will the judges look for when deciding what is the best of show?

"They want to see how successfully the artist executed that particular painting," said Clay. "They look at everything from the framing to the actual painting itself. Sometimes other judges look for traditional values in paintings.

This year's judge will be Laura Host, who is a Watermedia/Printmaking Instructor at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center since 1993. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Michigan in Painting and Ceramics.

Currently over 100 entries have been submitted by 52 artists. According to Clay, some of the artists have won national awards.

The month-long celebration of fabulous works of art used to only be a four-day event, but it grew to three weeks 10 years ago.

According to Raiter, the art exhibit used to be at the Masonic Temple in downtown Romeo for quite some time, but then it started to get passed around between local school areas, a barn, above a bank and a baptist church.

Raiter added the hardest part about having it in the different locations was setting up and tearing down the art show.

"We used to have to bring in all of our own board and all of our own lighting and everyone would have to haul all of our stuff in," Raiter said. "As we got older, it would get more difficult to bring all of those boards and lighting together for just a weekend."

For the past few years, the event was held at Starkweather Art and Cultural Center in Romeo.

This year, the group decided to bring the exhibit to Oxford, and they have been extremely pleased with how well they have been received.

"The Oxford Community has been very welcoming to us and very generous," Raiter said.

Oxford resident Barbara Clay echoed Raiter's enthusiasm.

"We are really excited about the show being here and we are really encouraged about being in Oxford and the way the local people in Oxford have reached out to us," she said. "I think that it is going to be a great show and it is a beautiful spot."

The party will get started with a opening reception on Friday, July 30.

"We are going to have o'dourves served by Victoria's Delight and wine supplied by a Michigan store," said Clay. "We really want to work with the local people because they have really supported us."

The public will be able to view the paintings during Margot's normal business hours, which run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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