“Rainbow Chucks” by Nancy Baur, one of the submissions to ARTS/West’s “For the Love of Athens County” exhibition. (Submitted)

ARTS/West Celebrates the Artist In All Of Us

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There’s something special about the photo galleries everyone stores on their smart devices. The pictures we take with the little pocket computers most of us carry around each day are often achingly intimate.

For the past three years, ARTS/West has been displaying a selection of such images in their For the Love of Athens County exhibition.

“I had heard about similar exhibitions taking place at other galleries,” said Kelly Lawrence, an events coordinator at ARTS/West. “We wanted to come up with something that gave people a wide choice of subject matter. So, we thought it would be fun to have people photograph what they love about where they live.”

"Autumn Awakening" by Kayla Cesta McMichael. (Submitted)
“Autumn Awakening” by Kayla Cesta McMichael. (Submitted)

The images that have been submitted to the gallery vary widely, from snapshots of Athen’s notoriously well-attended Halloween block party to simpler images of people’s homes, children, and pets.

“We’ve had just about everything submitted over the years; especially a lot of pictures of the cherry blossoms. Lots of photos of kids and families, dogs; just wonderful places that people love in the area,” said Lawrence. She listed Stroud’s Run State Park, the Ohio Paw Paw Festival, the Nelsonville Music Festival, the Ohio University campus, and uptown Athens as a few popular photo subjects.

"Fall Colors at OU" by Rebecca Choi. (Submitted)
“Fall Colors at OU” by Rebecca Choi. (Submitted)

Out of the 56 photos submitted by 15 different artists, 24 images will be hung and on display at ARTS/West Feb. 2 to Feb. 25. The remaining photos will be played on a slideshow during the exhibition’s opening this evening.

“Everybody who submitted photos to this exhibit gets a photo in the gallery, regardless of whether the jurors chose their photos,” said Lawrence, who said that those who decided to submit only one photo out of the maximum five that were allowed per entrant are guaranteed to see their work framed in the gallery. “We wanted this exhibition to be very community oriented because we are a community arts center. These people don’t usually identify as ‘artists,’ and in this exhibition, they get to shine.”

This year’s exhibition will be unveiled tonight at ARTS/West, 132 W. State Street in Athens, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

"Water Department Building" by Ken Bradford. (Submitted)
“Water Department Building” by Ken Bradford. (Submitted)