Union City Arts Festival brought in artists from near and far


UNION CITY, Ind. — Ted Leahey, of Union City, is a member of the committee that organizes the Union City Arts Festival.

According to Leahey, folks from Ball State University, in Muncie, helped design Union City as a destination for the arts. During the spring semester of 2014, a group of art, music and marketing students helped Leahey, and others, to design the first festival. The purpose was to invite art into the community.

“It is bringing people together to have fun, enjoy the arts and recognize that arts don’t have to occur in Indianapolis, Dayton, or Cincinnati,” Leahey said. “You can find them right here in a small community like Union City.”

According to Leahey, the Ball State students designed a four-dimensional program: culinary arts, musical arts, visual arts and performance. This year the culinary arts component featured Josh Wolosonovich, a chef at Sassi in Scottsdale, Arizona, for a Gourmet Food Seminar; and a Beer-Tasting Seminar, with David Nilson. Musical talent included: Sandy Lomax & Greg Bacon Jazz Trio, Chris Hawkey, Hotel California, the Pete Mercer Band and other invited bands. Artists participated in live art demos, and a juried exhibition was the opening show, with the theme “Dreams”.

“We wanted to play up the imaginative element of the arts to see what people would come up with,” Leahey said. “We have some fun stuff.”

The exhibition took place at the Arts Depot, complete with refreshments, followed by a concert from the Sandy Lomax & Greg Bacon Jazz Trio. This year’s “Dreams” theme is based on two Salvador Dali statues the art association owns, that were donated by a former resident artist Mark Mullins, according to Executive Director of the Art Association of Randolph County, Inc. Vicki Vardaman. She said the show brought in about 58 pieces, and after the jurying process by juror Hector Perez, director of the Whitewater Valley Arts Association, in Connersville, 38 pieces from 25 artists made it into the show.

“We have had a relationship with him over the last few years,” Vardaman said. “He is from New York City and worked as a docent for the Whitney Museum. He knows his art, and is a great juror.”

One of the artists in the show Joe Swanson is a painter from Richmond. He has been painting most of his life, but professionally about five years, he said. He described his painting “Mid-Range Migraine” as an abstract surrealistic painting.

“It is a mixture between automatic writing and seeing what comes, while working out a composition,” he said. “I like the instant gratification that comes with painting. That is probably why I use spray paint versus oil or something else. It almost instantly dries, and it’s right there.”

Another artist Joe Thompson, of Richmond, had an installation in the show “Artist Briefcase”. It is a cedar briefcase with steel rings inserted, creating holes. Dry ice is placed inside the briefcase, causing steam to exhale out of the holes and condensation to form on the briefcase. Thompson described it as a self-portrait.

“It is the build up of my emotions and the release of them,” he said. “The piece started with a few quick drawings and the concept developed over time. A funny thing happened the last time I showed this. Someone thought it was a portable air conditioner.”

The results of the “Dreams” Exhibition are as follows: Best of Show, $500: “Reverie” Kimberly Anderson; Merit Awards, $100: Scott Anderson, Megan Caldwell Chandler and Sontina Reid; Honorable Mentions, $20: Mary Ellen Bertram, Judy Brewer, Selena Burk, Pat Clark, Leslie Newton, Barbara Stump, Joe Swanson, Joe Thompson, Larry Sturgis and Ali Basurda.

“The city really has made an effort to draw attention to the arts, Leahey said. “We want people here.”

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Artist Joe Thompson, of Richmond, had an installation in the “Dreams” juried exhibition “Artist Briefcase”. It is a cedar briefcase with steel rings inserted, creating holes. Dry ice is placed inside the briefcase, causing steam to exhale out of the holes and condensation to form on the briefcase. Thompson described it as a self-portrait. His installation won an Honorable Mention.
http://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2017/09/web1_art1.jpgArtist Joe Thompson, of Richmond, had an installation in the “Dreams” juried exhibition “Artist Briefcase”. It is a cedar briefcase with steel rings inserted, creating holes. Dry ice is placed inside the briefcase, causing steam to exhale out of the holes and condensation to form on the briefcase. Thompson described it as a self-portrait. His installation won an Honorable Mention. Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

One of the artists in the juried exhibition “Dreams” Joe Swanson is a painter from Richmond. He has been painting most of his life, but professionally about five years, he said. He described his painting “Mid-Range Migraine” (pictured) as an abstract surrealistic painting. He piece “Kurt Russell Dream Sequence” won an Honorable Mention.
http://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2017/09/web1_art2.jpgOne of the artists in the juried exhibition “Dreams” Joe Swanson is a painter from Richmond. He has been painting most of his life, but professionally about five years, he said. He described his painting “Mid-Range Migraine” (pictured) as an abstract surrealistic painting. He piece “Kurt Russell Dream Sequence” won an Honorable Mention. Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

Mark McKenzie aka “Mac Blackout”, is a Chicago-based artist and musician. This is one of his paintings, outside of the Arts Depot.
http://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2017/09/web1_art.jpgMark McKenzie aka “Mac Blackout”, is a Chicago-based artist and musician. This is one of his paintings, outside of the Arts Depot. Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

http://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2017/09/web1_art5.jpg Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

The “Dreams” juried exhibition was open to any artist in the world. These are photographs of “Metal Work”, recycled junk art, created by Ali Basurada, of Bali, Indonesia, who won Honorable Mention.
http://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2017/09/web1_art7.jpgThe “Dreams” juried exhibition was open to any artist in the world. These are photographs of “Metal Work”, recycled junk art, created by Ali Basurada, of Bali, Indonesia, who won Honorable Mention. Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

By Carolyn Harmon

Charmon@dailyadvocate.com

The writer may be reached at 937-569-4354. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.