National art exhibit follows Yellow Brick Road to Newton

Oklahoma artist Joey Frisillo stands with one of her paintings. Frisillo is chair of the national exhibit that's coming to Newton in July. Contributed photo

By Wendy Nugent, Harvey County Now

NEWTON—A national art exhibit is making its home in Newton from Saturday, July 22, through Friday, Sept. 15, at The Carriage Factory Art Gallery in Newton.

The show, called “No Place Like Home,” features a worldwide organization, Women Artists of the West (WAOW), in its 53rd national exhibition.

Dena Bisnette with The Carriage Factory Art Gallery, 128 E. Sixth St. in Newton, talks about the back window on a carriage the gallery has. A national art exhibit, “No Place Like Home,” will open at the gallery on July 22, and the Thursday night before that, there will be events going on at the gallery, including carriage rides. Wendy Nugent/Harvey County Now

There are 120 pieces in the show, which represent the same number of artists since they only were allowed one piece each. The organization has 300 members, including those in Canada and Australia. Even though no Kansas artists are in the show, other members from California, Colorado, Texas, Maryland, Montana, Minnesota, Oklahoma and New Mexico are, gallery Director Mary Lee McDonald said.

There could be more than 20 of those artists at the opening, McDonald said.

The exhibit has been advertised nationally, and they might have a billboard presence.

“It’s not all Western art,” said exhibit Chair Joey Frisillo, who also is a WAOW signature artist, meaning she has earned enough accolades to put her signature on paintings as a WAOW member.

WAOW is the oldest women’s artist organization in the nation, said Frisillo, who lives near Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Newton will be the only location for the show, and the group only has one exhibit per year. Exhibit co-chair is Burneta Venosdel.

It is a juried show, and the judge is Kim Casebeer, who has a studio in Manhattan, Kansas.

The showpieces are paintings and sculptures.

“The week of, I think everything will be well attended,” McDonald said, meaning the week of the opening.

Events that week include Casebeer having a workshop that Tuesday through Thursday, and the Third Thursday, July 20, will feature an artist meet and greet, carriage rides, a food truck and an opportunity to watch artists paint. That will be from 6 to 9 p.m., and there will be a videographer live on the carriage rides who also will videotape the awards ceremony.

“Being able to meet the artists—I think people are intrigued by that,” Frisillo said.

The opening reception will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, July 22, with awards presented at 7 p.m. Frisillo said members will paint in the gallery, and some will do demonstrations from 1 to 4 p.m. July 22 at the gallery, 128 E. Sixth St.

Exhibiting artists also can take a day trip to Lindsborg and visit the Warkentin House in Newton, or they can build their own itineraries.

“Some are bringing husbands,” Frisillo said. “We’re happy to help The Carriage Factory Gallery celebrate their 40th anniversary.”

They decided to bring the exhibit to Newton through people knowing people.

“It’s all about connections,” McDonald said.

This will be one of the pieces in the show. Contributed image

The group never has had an exhibit in the Midwest, Frisillo said.

“And you’re dead center,” she said.

They’ve been planning the exhibit for about two years, and entrants have to go through a juried process to get in the show.

“We’re excited to be there,” Frisillo said about the gallery and Newton. “We’re so thankful for what Mary has done and Toby Carrig [Newton Convention & Visitors Bureau/Main Street coordinator]. We just feel so welcome.”

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