Gallery to host first photography exhibit

A local gallery is incorporating a new exhibit — one of which has sparked many local artists to display their talent.

The Wapakoneta Riverside Art Center is currently setting up their first-ever photography exhibit, which starts with an opening reception to be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday and the awards ceremony beginning at 7:30 p.m.

“In September, we had our annual juried art show,” Riverside Art Center Gallery Director Anna Fisher said.

This show includes all mediums of art, from painting to sculpture to photography.

“There were so many photography entries in it, so we decided to make it its own exhibition.” Fisher said.

This sparked the idea to hold a separate photography exhibit this year — one they plan to continue each year.

Fisher said were 162 entries submitted, and only 91 were chosen to be displayed at the gallery due to space limitations.

“We were amazed at the quality of photographs submitted,” Riverside Art Center volunteer Pam Knoch said.

Qualities that judges Andrew Steingass, who holds a master’s degree in art, and Bill Millmine, art teacher at Lima Senior School, judged the submissions based on are creativity, composition, technique and lighting, presentation and visual impact.

There will be two best of show awards — one for color and one for a black-and-white photograph — a first and second place in each category, 14 honorable mention ribbons and 14 Community Leader Ribbon awards.

The categories include portrait, landscape, still life, plants, animals, architecture, special effects and miscellaneous.

“There are many signs of dedicated photographers in this show,” Steingass said. “At a glance, it is hard to develop a guide for how to award merit when there are so many viable perspectives with genre represented.

“Each really has to be considered in a class of its own,” he said. “Ranking then is really just a matter of which pieces leaves us with feelings, usually awe, curiosity or excitement.”

Millmine also was impressed with the quality of the submissions.

“The Riverside Art Center has the area’s most amazing submissions of photography I have ever seen,” Millmine said. “The applicants range from 6- years-old to 98-years-old. It is a perfect blend of old school and new school techniques.

“It was a pleasure to jury the show and I found myself wanting to go home with most of the work that was juried out of the show, only because of space constraints,” he said.

In addition to the two judges, Riverside Art Center invited 51 people from the community, from physicians to community leaders from bankers to area residents, to join in and judge the photos.

The people were asked to stop by the center and look at the artwork, and by using a special judging sheet, assign a number from 1 to 10 in the five categories.

The top 14 will be awarded a special Community Leader ribbon.

“They were asked to mainly have fun and to just judge as to what they liked,” Knoch said.

Fisher said that they decided to incorporate this new feature into the exhibit to get the community involved.

“The whole objective is to involve the community into the exhibit,” Fisher said, “and to see what we are all about.”    

The exhibit will be up in the gallery until April 20.