Artist Jani Freimann whose piece 'Painted by the Wind"
will grace the cover of the Washington Thoroughbred Magazine
as the Washington Thoroughbred Publication Award winner.
Emerald Downs stages many great events but there are few better than the 2012 Equine Art Show & Sale, the continuation of a long-standing tradition that began at Longacres and is now into its 30th year despite a hiatus subsequent to that track’s closure.
This entire weekend, each of the 220 art creations are on display on the second floor of the facility, track level. All fans are encouraged to exercise their right to vote in the Angie Crockett Memorial People’s Choice Award, a category decided on solely by the public. The well-attended preview party on Thursday night was a celebration of the dedication and talent of the 117 entrants from burgeoning artist colonies throughout Washington State and beyond, each bringing unique imagery and self-expression to the theme of the horse.
Earlier that morning, I donned my cap as one of the three judges on this year’s panel, accompanying established artists and educators in the field, Linda Thomas and Judy Ryan, spending a good three hours to bring our fresh eyes to the exhibit. Under the direction of Co-chairpersons, Kerry Dalton and Anne Sweet as the leaders of a 12-member Equine Art Show Committee, we each independently savored the moment, working toward consensus on awards across the extensive array of categories – oils, acrylics, watercolors, mixed media, panel and drawing, sculpture, objet d’art, digital and photography, inclusive of children’s categories for intermediate and pre-teen.
The role was an honor for me, especially given that my background is not in the arts though my interest in the field remains alive and well. In fact within a year of my arrival to the States, I began as a regular docent at the Tacoma Art Museum (TAM) when it was still in the old bank building on Pacific Avenue. The Picasso clay collection and American Realism were amongst some of my favorites to work on.
There was nothing better than having been selected to represent TAM in the fall of 1997 at the National Docent Symposium in Philadelphia, a sponsored trip that not only connected me with fellow docents, curators and gallery leaders from across the country but also opened my eyes to the rich cultural history on the East Coast.
Visits to the world-renowned Philadelphia Art Museum and Pennsylvania Museum of Fine Arts, the latter having engendered my deep appreciation for the genius of artist Thomas Eakins, were just two of the many insightful tours that week. Not surprisingly, to this day, I have quite the soft spot for “Philly” and have since discovered even more gems there.
My shift to the south-west in the winter of 2000 prematurely ended my docent role. Like so many of us, I must juggle time and duty to access the wonderful museums and communities that house the arts, making the opportunity to take an active role in Equine Art 2012 all the more meaningful. Happening in my very own back-yard so to speak, the show enabled me to marry my passion for the racing industry with an appreciation for those who are committed to their artistic gifts and hence our cultural enrichment.
As much as possible, I approached the exhibit with the desire to stay open and present to my visceral impressions. There is a myriad of information that floods in all at once when we spend time with art-work that fluctuates in relation to our backgrounds. The judging process is dynamic and demands a window of sensibilities. With more first-time contributors and repeat artists in this year’s show, it was gratifying to see that unconsciously, the awards were nicely spread across the board.
The upcoming weekend is a rare chance to judge for yourself what speaks to you and whether what started as an artist’s vision, will find its place into your home this summer, keeping in mind, all pieces on display are available for purchase.
Importantly, Emerald Downs is delighted to broaden its outreach to artist’s families, friends and art aficionados in general as the venue. The track itself combines a number of worlds within worlds and yet all are predicated on the majesty of the horse. We thank each and every artist for reflecting back to us, through his or her own personal creation, just how majestic!