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Style Magazine

Best in Show

Jul 31, 2008 05:00PM ● By Super Admin

I n 1966, a few female members of the Placerville Shakespeare Club organized the first Mother Lode National Art Exhibition. Forty-two years later, the Placerville Arts Association continues the tradition, with just a few, well, big changes.

“Initially the event was held at the town hall,” says Valerie Bye, a chairman for this year’s event. Today it is held at the Placerville Shakespeare Club. “People come and they’re pleasantly surprised,” says fellow chairman Alyceann Ginelli, “not only because of the quality of the art show, but also the architecture of the Placerville Shakespeare Club, which is a historical landmark itself.”

Bye first became involved with the Mother Lode Exhibition in 1978, when she entered her own work in the show. Since then she has become a member of the Placerville Arts Association and a large hand in organizing the event. Like Bye, Ginelli has had a similar journey with the show. Also a member of the City’s arts association, she enters her work in the show every year. “I’ve been rejected over, and over!” Ginelli says. “And I’ve been accepted, too.”

The show has quite a competitive barrier, as it receives an average of 350 artists a year, but only accepts about 100 pieces to be a part of the show. A benefit to being a member of the Placerville Arts Association, whether you are an organizer for the Mother Lode exhibition or not, is the inside look at the show. “Before all of the artists have been chosen by the judge,” Ginelli explains, “the members [of the Placerville Arts Association] get to see a slideshow of all the entries. It’s always very interesting to see what’s been submitted from all over the country.”

The featured art includes mediums of watercolor, oil, acrylic, pastel, colored pencil, pen and ink, charcoal, original printmaking, sculpture, decorative ceramics and three dimensional pieces. “It encompasses work from all over the nation, but naturally has a large focus in California because of the proximity,” says Ginelli. The show reportedly brings an important element to Placerville’s culture. “It’s really been the only art venue in the area,” says Ginelli. “It’s an extraordinary show that is a great event for tourists.”

From the jurors and judges to artists themselves, some big names in the art world have come through town. Past jurors include the directors of fine arts from California State University, Sacramento and the Academy of Arts University in San Francisco. This year’s juror is Terry Miura, who has created illustrations for clients such as Time, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, Random House, GRP Records and more. And the judge for this year’s show, Kathleen Dunphy, was named one of the Top Ten Emerging Artists by American Artist magazine.

But this event encourages more than just fine art hotshots to participate. The diverse mix of artwork in the show really gives it the flavor and quality that has kept it going for more than four decades, that, and a lot of hard work.

The show is free for viewers, but also offers a five-day workshop over the duration of the exhibition, covering topics such as collage, calligraphy, watercolor on pastel and more. The show itself begins August 10 at 1 p.m., and runs daily, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., until August 24. The workshops will take place August 12, 14, 16, 18 and 20, from 1 to 4 p.m. The fee is $35 and the class size is limited to 15 people. All proceeds go to the scholarship fund to be awarded to local art students. To sign up for a workshop, contact Barbara Bingham at 530-676-3959. For more information on the exhibition, visit See you at the show!