Vawter show kicks off with artist reception, awards ceremony

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An original Will Vawter painting, “Into the Light,” will be on exhibit at the opening of the Will Vawter Art Show this Friday, June 6, at the Twenty North Gallery in downtown Greenfield.

This is the 24th year for the annual juried art show honoring Vawter, who rose to notoriety for his painting while living in Greenfield from 1877 to 1908.

GREENFIELD — The popular Will Vawter Art Show is back for its 24th year.

This year’s show features over 100 pieces of art from artists throughout the state, who will vie for $3,000 in prize money.

To kick off the show, a free event featuring food, wine and live music will take place tomorrow — Friday, June 6 — in downtown Greenfield.

The exhibit opens at 6 p.m. at the Twenty North Gallery, at 20 N. State St., where guests can enjoy refreshments and live music by the GC Jazz Combo.

At 7 p.m. an awards ceremony takes place in the Living Alley, just north of Main Street and west of State Street, where the art show winners will be announced.

While guests can vote for their favorite piece for the People’s Choice Award, other winners will be chosen by this year’s judge — Rachel Rubin Wolf — a freelance editor and artist who has edited and written a number of fine art books.

This year’s show is presented by the Greenfield Area Chamber of Commerce and Hancock County Arts, the nonprofit that runs the Twenty North Gallery.

Arts council president Alice Hedden said the show’s artist reception and awards ceremony is a great opportunity to learn about local art history and meet talented Hoosier artists.

“Each year we also highlight a specific Will Vawter piece. This year, The Haan Museum of Indiana Art in Lafayette, Ind. has lent us ‘Into The Light,’ which can be viewed this Friday,” she said.

Vawter is a famed painter who made a name for himself while living in Greenfield at the turn of the 20th century. In 1908 he moved to Nashville, Ind. to help establish Brown County Art Colony.

When he died in 1941, Vawter was laid to rest in Park Cemetery in Greenfield.

A statue depicting the artist painting at an open canvas was installed in Depot Street Park earlier this year.

Vawter is considered to be the second-most-famous former resident of Greenfield after the “Hoosier Poet” James Whitcomb Riley. The two men were close friends, and Vawter’s work was often used to illustrate Riley’s poetry.

Hancock County Arts member Carol Barrett, who is in charge of this year’s Vawter art show, said the annual event is a great way to commemorate Vawter and the spirit of the arts in Hancock County.

“We have 126 entries this year, so the gallery is filled with amazing art from some of the very best artists in that state,” she said.

The public can visit the gallery to view the exhibit through July 16.

Hedden said the show features a wide variety of oils, acrylics, watercolors and other two-dimensional art that’s not to be missed.

While the artwork is available to purchase — with a third of proceeds benefiting Hancock County Arts — all pieces will remain in the gallery throughout the six-week show.

For more information, visit HancockCountyArts.org.