Brush and Palette show displays local talent

Exhibit to showcase more than 500 pieces
Oct. 17, 2013 @ 08:40 PM

A massive exhibit of exclusively local art will be on display for everyone to peruse from this weekend through next Saturday in downtown Sanford.

The 49th annual fall show of the Sanford Brush and Palette Club opens Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Bob E. Hales Center, located at 147 McIver St. The show will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day until Oct. 26 except this Sunday, when the hours will be 1-6 p.m. This year's show will feature approximately 500 paintings and sculptures created by 60 local artists who are members of the Sanford Brush and Palette Club, said Douglas Rowe, club president.

"I was in there yesterday and today when art was being checked in," Rowe said Wednesday. "And every year, we see the same thing: The quality of the art just keeps getting better and better."

Because only Lee County residents can be in the club —  unless an artist joined while living in Lee County and later moved to Harnett, Moore or Chatham — Rowe said the success and growth of the club is a direct reflection of increased appreciation for the arts in this region.

"These are all extremely local artists," he said. "It's amazing that there's that many in Lee County, especially of that caliber."

The entries are being judged by a Wake County husband-and-wife team, professional painters M. Theresa Brown and Steven Filarski. Artists could enter in 11 different categories, which Rowe said makes for a good mix of styles that will appeal to people of all tastes.

Rowe, a painter and former U.S. Air Force aircraft commander, focuses much of his work on patriotic or military themes — although he said the six pieces he entered in this year's contest fall into various categories.

In addition to the professional judging, Sanford Mayor Cornelia Olive will bestow a best-in-show Mayor's Choice award, and visitors can vote on their own favorite piece, which will receive the People's Choice award.

There's no cost to visit the exhibit, although people can buy raffle tickets for a chance to win a painting by Barbara Berman. A door prize will also go home with a guest — a painting by Patricia Fein, whose work was named Best in Show last year.

All of the awards except People's Choice will be distributed today, so that when the doors open to the public Saturday, visitors can see the top-awarded works in each category, as well as the overall Best in Show award winners.

Rowe said much credit for getting the show together goes to Diane Johnson and Louisa Hefflefinger, the chair and co-chair of this year's exhibit. Also helping out, as part of her official duties as the club's Artist of the Year, is former Lee County teacher and school board member Joan Wagoner.

Wagoner told The Herald earlier this year, when she was named Artist of the Year, that she loves art because it's not just about the shapes and colors presented; it's also about the emotions that go into the creative process.

“When it's going good, and you see that creation coming, it’s the most satisfying thing," said Wagoner, who's also a past president of the Sanford Brush and Palette Club, back in June. “It’s the biggest up. And when it goes bad, it's the biggest down.”