This past Wednesday, Toledo City Paper ran the following article that I wrote about why it’s important to keep the Toledo Area Artists Exhibition for Toledo area artists.
The Toledo Area Artists Exhibition is the oldest regional art competition affiliated with a museum in the United States. It gives the art community a great sense of pride to compete and get into the prestigious museum show, featuring and celebrating the talents of Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan. It’s 95 years old. This year, only 11 Toledo area artists are in it! So are 17 artists from cities far away from Toledo, such as Akron, Cleveland, Columbus, Grand Rapids, MI, and even Muncie Indiana. These cities have their own thriving art communities. The show is not a true area artists show this year and has no right to the name. It’s important to keep our local traditions for the same reason that it’s important to drink clean water. If that doesn’t make sense, then here are just three examples, out of hundreds, to show why the Toledo Area Artists Exhibition is important and relevant to our own local and regional art community — Edith Franklin, Leslie Adams, and Anna Friemoth.
Where would Edith Franklin be in our hearts if it wasn’t for the Toledo Museum of Art? We may have known her, but not nearly as well. She attended the children’s classes at the Museum from about age 10, so for 80 years, the museum contributed greatly to her life, and she in turn contributed greatly to the museum. In addition to the Saturday children’s classes, she continued her education at the Toledo Museum of Art School of Design for another 40 years, from 1945-1986. She took part in the historic Glass Workshop in 1962, participating in the very beginnings of the American Studio Glass Movement, and she even walked the runway in the 50th anniversary, 2012 Glass Fashion Show, just two months before she died.
The Toledo Museum of Art gave Edith Franklin a one-person show when she was 35. As for the Toledo Area Artists Exhibition, Edith Franklin was in 26 out of 29 consecutive shows from 1953 to 1982, winning First Award, Craft Club Award, and the Federation Purchase Award. She was a founder of the Toledo Potters Guild in 1951, board member of the Arts Commission, and earned the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Toledo Federation of Art Societies in 1999. She passed away in August 2012, having donated the Edith Franklin Pottery Scholarship to young potters, among other philanthropies. Brian Kennedy, Director of the Museum, gave a eulogy at her memorial service. He said she would often tell him that she was from Toledo, born and bred. Edith Franklin cared about her legacy. I helped her organize her papers that she donated to the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections. She rewarded me well with a special pottery piece.
That’s my daughter, Anna Friemoth — and the painting under her arm was made by my mother Audrey Gentieu of my mother’s Aunt Audrey.
It’s not enough that Anna entered it in the Toledo Area Artists Exhibition at the Toledo Museum of Art this year and it won a prize — the piece sold at the exhibition preview, and it had a red dot on it the entire time it was up! It’s also in her artist monograph, MATTE Magazine Issue 10, acquired by the Museum of Modern Art for their periodicals collection! Now it’s in her one-person show at the Paula Brown Gallery, opening June 12, that runs through July 6!
Anna, bring back your grandmother’s painting! You can have it later — I’ll put it in my will!
Anna Friemoth: Self Portraits
June 12 through July 6, 2013
Opening Reception: June 12 from 5:30 to 7:30
PAULA BROWN GALLERY
912 Monroe Street, Toledo, Ohio 43604
Tel 419.241.2822 Fax 419.241.8107
10am – 5pm, Mon – Fri 10am – 3pm, Saturday. Closed on Sundays.