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Another big stage

Zanesville, OH – She’s at it again.

A little more than a month after completing a week-long working residency at the Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Art Center in Maryland, Fitton Center Director of Education and Outreach Kate Rowekamp puts her art on another big stage.

This time it’s the 76th Annual Ohio Exhibition, a statewide online juried competition hosted by the Zanesville Museum of Art.

“Each year we look forward to presenting a stylistically and thematically diverse exhibition that captures the essence of Ohio’s vibrant visual arts scene,” the Zanesville Museum of Art website said. “The people, places and customs found in each unique region of the Buckeye State inspire its artists, and the ZMA is in the fortunate position of recognizing and fostering this creativity.”

Ohio artists submitted more than 500 pieces, but only 79 made the show, including Rowekamp’s ink-and-watercolor piece, Thrift Shop.

“It’s one of my most recent pieces that I’m most proud of,” Rowekamp said of her submission, which is part of a collection called the Homebodies Series.

The exhibition opened with an online reception and awards ceremony June 23; it runs through Sept. 9 on the ZMA website.

Gwen Waight of Peninsula, Ohio, won $1,000 for her best-in-show piece, Hapa. ZMA also offered several $100 prizes for best in a particular medium – photography, glass, painting, etc. While the cash would have been nice, money was not Rowekamp’s motivation for entering.

“First, it’s getting my work out to a new and different audience,” she said. “But professionally, as a teacher, doing something like this helps me help somebody else. The more experience I have, the more helpful I am to an up-and-coming artist who is trying to have their work seen and shared. I can help them find and get into shows like this.”

“I said it when she went to her residency and I’ll say it again now: we are incredibly proud of Kate,” said Fitton Center Executive Director Ian MacKenzie-Thurley. “This is another opportunity where she enhances her standing both as an artist and as a teacher, which in turn enhances the Fitton Center’s ability to meet its mission to build community excellence through the arts and culture.”

Releasing a piece of art often means giving up control of it. Viewers take ownership and ascribe their own meaning to what they see.

“For me that’s a really good thing,” she said. “So much of what I do is narrative based. There are little stories in each of the works. When people see my work, they tell me what that story is, what it is they see.

“I had a show where people were laughing when they looked at my work. Not laughing at it, just laughing and enjoying it. I want to know what they see that is amusing to them, what gives them that delight. That’s the conversation. ‘What do you see?’”

Rowekamp looks forward to seeing the conversation within the rest of the 76th Annual Ohio Exhibition.

“One thing that’s really interesting to me is seeing the relationships between individual pieces of art and how they fit together,” she said. ““The curator has their vision for the show and the question is how does your work fit in their vision.

“If you don’t get selected, it doesn’t mean your work is bad. It just means it wasn’t part of that particular person’s vision for what the show is. I think that is a healthy way to look at it. But seeing how that conversation fits together – how your work fits with the other pieces – that’s the exciting thing.”

The Fitton Center for Creative Arts is located at 101 S. Monument Avenue on the Riverfront in downtown Hamilton, Ohio.

Building Community Excellence through the Arts and Culture

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