‘Destination’ is theme for Own an Original show

Exhibit has 61 pieces on display until after Christmas

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Littleton’s Fine Arts Board has decided to add a theme to its open entry exhibits and for the 50-plus-year-old Own an Original. It is “Destination,” which opened on Nov. 22 and runs through Dec. 29 at the Littleton Museum. The board invited Gwen Chanzit, curator emerita of modern art and the Herbert Bayer Collection and Archive at the Denver Art Museum, to be juror for this exhibit.

The board has a statement about the theme: “American culture has idealized the saying, `It’s the journey, not the destination.’ A destination is the end point to which someone or something is going or is sent to. With so much focus on the journey, has the end point lost its meaning? What if the reason or objective of the journey held more value than the voyage itself?”

A viewer of this exhibit might speculate on Chanzit’s process. While many works in the show fit the “Destination” theme, one has to wonder ... it must have been hard.

Entries included 335 pieces by 133 artists, and 65 pieces by 61 artists were accepted for the show. Chanzit chose work by what best fit the theme and found it “incredibly difficult to decide.” She said “many fine works were not included because they did not fit the theme effectively.”

Chanzit did not see names or prices as she worked through images, supplied with artist’s entry forms. Did the theme make her job more difficult? She said: “Kudos if you’re in this show” and reminded those at the opening that “it reflects the taste of an individual.”

The Best of Show award went to “Landing” by Courtney Cotton, a large acrylic on canvas painting that did indeed suggest that quiet time when one’s plane is sort of floating into land in a city — a magical feeling to this traveler. What’s next? Although one might envision a sort of city plan, the shapes, painted in golds, blues, browns ... are abstract. One can let the mind play and imagine objects perhaps, or simply enjoy the interaction of color and shape. The technique shows skill and control of the medium and brush. It hangs to the right of the entrance.

Across from the Best of Show is the First Place winner, “Dreaming of Africa,” a painting in acrylic and resin by Pat Finley, which speaks of sunshine and open space.

Second Place was awarded to “Beyond Ordinary Limits” by Linda O’Neill. Third Place winner is “Wishbone,” an oil painting by Olga and Aleksy Ivanov.

Honorable mentions were awarded to William Rohs for an acrylic and charcoal work on a panel, “Wonder of the Other Side”; to Katherine Walter for her acrylic on linen canvas, “Floating the Arkansas”; and to Barbara Veatch for the horizontal “Migration of Equus Ferus Caballus,” executed with pastels, charcoal, acrylic ink and collage.

Years ago, when the Littleton Fine Arts Board was first appointed, it was first asked to make some decisions about items that citizens wanted to donate to the new Bemis Library. The group soon found another mission, since exhibition space was planned in the new building — and the Own an Original exhibit was born.

Also in the thinking was a way to let area artists show off what they were creating and perhaps provide inspiration to viewers to consider gifts of original art. Half a century has passed by and exhibits have grown larger, moved across the street to the Littleton Museum and drawn artists from farther afield. (Bemis exhibit space still has an ongoing series of smaller shows as well. Be sure to look when you are picking up books.)

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