The Shafer Art Gallery, in conjunction with the Kansas Wetlands Education Center, will host an opening reception for its first ever national juried exhibit “Choreography of Cranes,” from 1-3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6. The exhibit will also feature the work of the show’s juror; renowned wildlife artist Peter Eades.
The exhibit was created to raise awareness of the precarious plight of the endangered whooping cranes and the daunting task of conserving their habitat. Awards will total $1,800.
“Sometimes the public imagines that art galleries and museums are elitist places without relevance to the world at large,” Gallery Director Dave Barnes said. “That is why it is so important for us to sponsor exhibits and events like this that illustrate the ability of art to impact the awareness of real world challenges and issues. The artist’s eye can reveal emotional and aesthetic truths that the scientist or analyst can never hope to describe.”
Around 50 pieces have been submitted and Barnes said this exhibit really shows how much growth potential the gallery has.
“I think the Shafer Gallery is ready to take the regional or even the national stage,” he said. “This first National Juried Exhibition with entries from both coasts proves it.”
The reception will include music, refreshments and an awards ceremony. The exhibit will run through Oct. 31.
There will also be a Crane Family Workshop from 1-3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13, at the Kansas Wetlands Educational Center.
Not everyone may have the outdoors know-how or resources to witness first-hand a majestic creature, such as an elk, emerge from the glistening water during the twilight hours. Fortunately, wildlife enthusiast and artist Peter Eades has been able to witness numerous amazing experiences and uses them as inspiration for his paintings that he shares with the world.
“I use multiple photos to recreate these experiences that I have,” he said. “My hope is to not only create an awareness of what is out there but to also share my experiences with others.”
Born into a family of artists, Eades has painted his whole life. However, he studied zoology and biological illustration instead of art.
“My art is really the way I connect my two passions in life – nature and art.”
Eades will be the judge for the exhibit. While he does look for good composition and other basic technical attributes, he said they are not the driving force behind his decisions.
“What it really comes down to, is you want to see something that moves you as a person,” he said. “That’s mostly what I look for, and I really keep an open mind.”
Eades said it’s important for artists to be resilient when entering juried shows.
“A lot of times there just aren’t enough awards, and it’s hard to not take it personally,” he said. “There is an amazing variety of creative work, and it never fails to impress me how many really good artists there are out there.”
Above all, Eades said the most important thing to him as an artist, and what he says other artists should try to focus on, is to create from the heart.
“Create what inspires you. Create what you love,” he said. “If you paint something that you are passionate about, it will show through in the work. You’ll go much farther doing that than if you’re trying to come up with what you think people are looking for.”