Thomas Hart Benton Exhibition Opens for the 28th Year
The 28th Annual Thomas Hart Benton Art Competition and Exhibition is now on display through the end of October at Neosho Arts Council’s Big Spring Gallery (inside the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce) in downtown Neosho, MO.
“This year’s exhibition has a lot of variety,” said Sarah Serio, president of Neosho Arts Council. “We are thrilled to see new artists entering and some familiar artists returning to the competition.”
Artists from Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas are taking part in this year’s exhibition which features oils, watercolors, acrylics, pastels, and works on paper.
“We hope the public finds time to visit this diverse exhibition,” Serio said. All of the works are for sale and a small portion of each sell will go to the Neosho Arts Council’s arts education fund. “We have some very reasonably priced works and everything from traditional still life oil paintings to contemporary mixed media works. There’s something for everyone.”
When Neosho Arts Council took over directorship of the event in 2016 they elected to retain the show’s historic focus on traditional 2D mediums. While the annual event honors the artistic contribution of Neosho’s native son, Thomas Hart Benton, it’s also an opportunity for all area artists to compete in a professional environment.
Regina L. Willard, an impressionist painter who has been selected as a Featured Artists with the Missouri Arts Council, will serve as this year’s judge. She is currently a member of the American Women Artists Association and teaches workshops on oil painting techniques throughout the year. On September 30 the public is invited to join the artists for an awards and critique presentation.
“During the awards our judge will also be giving a brief critique of each winner, which is a great opportunity for artists and the public to learn what makes a piece of art a winner,” Serio said.
The exhibition is free to view in person during the Chamber of Commerce’s normal business hours or you can view the show online at neoshoarts.net.
“We’d love to see art lovers from across the area take an afternoon and visit Neosho,” Serio said. “Not only can you stop by the Thomas Hart Benton Art Competition and Exhibition but you can visit several murals in town and see a collection of original lithographs by Thomas Hart Benton.”
The arts council recently launched their new “Murals of Neosho Guide and Descriptive Audio Tour.” The audio descriptions guide viewers through the work using descriptive language while weaving in historical and cultural narratives. The organization has also produced a guide to the “City of Neosho’s Thomas Hart Benton Lithograph Collection” which is available at Neosho’s City Hall.
“In 1962 Benton gifted twelve lithographs to Neosho,” Serio said. “The guide gives some background on each piece plus explains what a lithograph is and how it’s made.”
The awards presentation and critiques will be held at the Community Room of the Neosho/Newton County Library (201 West Spring Street, Neosho, MO). A viewing of the exhibition will follow. Willard will be on hand to discuss works one-on-one with attendees.
The exhibition will be on view at the Big Spring Gallery inside the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce (216 West Spring St., Neosho, MO) during September and October. It will also be on view through the Virtual Big Spring Gallery at neoshoarts.net.
You can learn more by following Neosho Arts Council on Facebook and Instagram or visiting their website.
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