A message from Teresa Marie Phillips, Executive Director of the Grand Bend Art Centre
The show was founded by artist Barry Richman who has been tremendously influential in my art career. I started painting at 28 and do not have a formal art education. Instead, I was mentored by Barry as well as Klaas Verboom, David Bannister, Josy Hilkes Britton and Vic Jansky. In the 1990s, Barry and I founded River Road Co-op gallery, which was open seasonally for 20 years.
Barry ran Paint Ontario single-handedly for 19 years with the support of the Lambton Heritage Museum staff, a note book and a handful of volunteers, of which I was one. A couple of years ago, Barry transferred responsibility for Paint Ontario to the Grand Bend Art Centre, and in 2015 we ran the show on our own. Some things have changed but the heart of the show is intact. This one-of-a-kind show is one of very few that supports emerging and professional artists. The first prize is one of the highest for a show of this type. As well there are additional cash prizes, many of which are privately donated.
Let me tell you a little bit about how the work is chosen. As the Executive Director, I choose the Jury and Judges with the support and approval of the board. The people I choose to work with me to make the final choices for the show have different artistic backgrounds and different painting styles than my own. The heart of the show remains representational yet this has a broad definition. We choose to use the most encompassing definition to provide a variety of work for purchase and help to include more artists. The show is juried as a whole, which means we jury from the best work, down to those that are not as strong artistically. Jurying is also partly done on the basis of saleable qualities such as the subject matter and framing. Paint Ontario relies on sales to be successful and most artists agree that one of the best compliments is the sale of a painting.
Paint Ontario provides an opportunity for art lovers to be judges and sponsor a prize. Most often the sponsors are not artists themselves and choose work based on their own personal appreciation. We offer artist information or advice if needed.
Currently we have 3 judges for Places of Ontario and 1 for Faces of Ontario. The judges are different from the jury members. The Judges choose four winners in the Places category, including $2000 First Prize, $500 for second and two $100 honourable mentions. There are three winners in the Faces category, including $750 First Prize, $250 Second Prize and $100 honourable mention. We strive to choose judges who are well respected in the visual art field, have varied backgrounds, and who respect representational art.
Art is a very personal choice, and I fully appreciate that the chosen winners may not resonate with all of our viewers: That is the nature of the creative endeavours we all love. I hope you value your involvement with Paint Ontario and enjoy the quality of the works we present each year.