Plains Art Association's 50th spring show graces Abraham Gallery

May 25, 2011

PLAINVIEW – For 50 years, the Plains Art Association has celebrated the work of local and area artists with their annual Spring Show and Sale. This year’s milestone show once again graces the walls of the Abraham Art Gallery at Wayland Baptist University, on display through June 26.

A reception for the artists is planned for that Sunday, June 26, from 1-3 p.m. in the gallery and adjoining atrium in the Mabee Learning Resources Center on the Wayland campus. And while the reception will celebrate those winning artists from this 50th show, it will also commemorate a half-century of artistic expression in Plainview.

The Plains Art Association itself has been around since 1958, and Daphne Hollingsworth was the charter president of the group. Early on, the group sponsored an art show for children but discontinued that effort when the Scholastic Art Exhibit became active in the area.

Hardly any of the PAA members who were active when the Spring Art Show came into being are still alive, and none are living locally. But some longtime members shed light on their own appreciation for the long-standing tradition in the Plainview arts scene.

Mary Montandon of Aiken was not part of the charter group but joined the PAA in the 1960s when she entered the first of many shows the organization was already sponsoring. An avid artist since her childhood days of drawing her own paper dolls, Montandon stayed active in the art association for many years, entering work in nearly every show since she joined.

“The fact that we have membership shows really encourages us to do our best work and show it,” she said of the annual event. “The judges give us good information on how to improve our artwork too.”

Montandon said her involvement waned a bit while her children were busy in school but she kept up her painting, primarily working in oils and pastels while she also worked as the postmaster in Aiken. She later taught private art lessons in the area. Now, at age 87, she said she doesn’t paint as much as she used to but wants to get back to her art. She has enjoyed her long relationship with PAA and the annual show.

“I enjoy visiting with other people who are doing artwork. There are a variety of artists – some work in watercolor, some in oil, and we’ve had some do other types of art,” said Montandon, who served as president from 1995-97. “It’s interesting to get acquainted with people who are into art.”

Marguerite Butler first joined the PAA in 1976 after moving back to Plainview from the northeast. She recalls the group having at least 80 members in those years, and they met monthly in the A-frame building located on Joliet Street just off Fifth Street.

“I’ve been involved with the show somehow every year since I joined,” said Butler, now 89, who served as president of the group in 1980-81 and 1991-92. “The friendships with people that have the same interest have kept me around. I love the artwork and the competitions too and being able to see what other clubs are doing.”

Butler said not much has changed about the Plains art show during her tenure, though each president sometimes brings new ideas or concepts. But the basic premise has stayed the same: the show features work by local and area artists as a way to promote the arts in Plainview and show off the talent of area creative types.

An artist herself since her the early days of her marriage, Butler has been part of that feature group. She works primarily in pastels, though she’s dabbled in acrylics and watercolors as well. And while she doesn’t turn out the volume of work she once did in her younger years, Butler said she makes it a goal to submit at least one piece to the PAA show every year, even if it means staying up late the week of the submission deadline.

Otherwise, Butler’s main role with the show has been to collect donations from the purchase award donors and other contributors that help fund the show each year. She was co-chair this year with Joe Provence, a relatively new member of the PAA, and she likes to stay involved at whatever level she can.

This year’s exhibit features 120 works by regional artists, according to Plains Art Association president Dr. Candace Keller, also serving as this year’s show chairman.

The Best of Show Award, in memory of Faye Marlin Curry and given by Ramona and J.B Roberts and family, was awarded to Cynthia Pinnell for a porcelain piece titled “Butterfly Tile.” The Dr. Eldon C. Nicholl Memorial Award for Best Concept of Color and Light, given by Lil H. Nicholl and family, was awarded to Carlos Jordon for an oil painting titled “El Rosario.”

The winners by category are as follows:

Oils: First place: “A Special Niche” by Mary Tom Tooley; Second place: “Hurd Country” by Dyan Newton; Third place: “God’s Glory” by Carolyn Warrick; Honorable Mention: “The Courtship” by Iva Salinas; “War Memorial for Jeremy Burris – Killed in Iraq” by Joe Garnett; “Floydada Fall” by Jo Goen; “City View” by Ruth Rector-Wright.

Acrylics: First place: “Nanny” by Grant Crabtree; Second place: “Mean Man” by Bettye Hammer Givens; Third place: “NIU” by Sally Gubser; Honorable Mention: “Red Chair” and “Green House and Barrel” by Grant Crabtree, “Telephone” and “Strawberries” by David Mancilla.

Watercolor: First place: “Sea Dreams” by Candace Keller; Second place: “Rancher’s Bunkhouse” by Dyan Newton; Third place: “Bears of the Fruzier River” by Ray Freeman; Honorable Mention: “Windy Day” by Ruth Rector-Wright, “Duckling” by Ray Freeman, “Backyard Fence” by Marguerite Butler.

Pastels/Drawings: First place: “Building to Him” by Gary Ward; Second place: “A Good Pair” by Gary Ward; Third place: “Greener Grazin’” by Lucia McBeth; Honorable Mention: “Cherry Jubilee” by Marguerite Butler; “Three Fingers” by Gary Ward

Photography: First place: “St. Francis” by Tom Higley; Second place: “Angel” by Alisa Lackey; Third place: “Ozark Dreamscape” by Harriet Feagin; Honorable Mention: “Harbor Light” and “Mission Cactus,” both by Harriet Feagin; “Pearly Gates” by Les Spence; “Key to the Kingdom” by Robert Hudnall.

Other Art Forms/Miniatures: First place: “Painted Prairie” by Rick Wallace, mixed media; Second place: “Butterfly Vase” by Cynthia Pinnell, porcelain; Third place: “Symplicity” by Mary Tom Tooley, miniature/oil.

Purchase Awards are provided by area donors. Those were presented to the following artists and pieces: American State Bank: “Pride of the Plains” by Les Spence; Craig and Jean Silverthorne: “Hurd Country” by Dyan Newton; David Wright and Ruth Rector-Wright: “House of Antiques” by Dyan Newton; Dwain and Shirley Dodson: “Backyard Fence” by Marguerite Butler; Phillip and Cynthia Pinnell: “Mission Cactus” by Harriet Feagin and “Waiting at the Corner of Cuadrante” by Catherine Cronholm; Mary Montandon: “Church with Bluebonnets” by Carol Hopkins; Bettye Hammer Givens: “Flower of the Desert” by Joe Provence; Michael and Candace Keller: “Strawberries” by David Mancilla; Gary Massingill and Don Book/Edward Jones: “6666 Sunset” by Les Spence; V’s Jewelry: “Divine Intervention” by Les Spence; and Barbara Strain, CPA: “Taraxcum” by Les Spence. The exhibition is also supported in part by a grant from the Plainview Cultural Arts Council, Inc. and the Plainview CVB.

Lubbock artist Betty Blevins served as juror for the show, providing critiques for artists after the judging. Blevins is a signature member of the Texas Watercolor Society and has had her work published in a variety of books and periodicals. She was a selected artist for the U.S. Coast Guard and was one of 12 Outstanding Artists of Texas, sanctioned as one of six to produce the 1986 sesquicentennial calendar. She has held one-woman art shows in various galleries, including the Abraham Gallery at Wayland, and has been in many juried exhibitions during her career. She holds a degree in art from Hardin-Simmons University.

The Plains Art Association exhibit is free and open to the public during regular hours of the Mabee LRC: Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Fridays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 -5 p.m.