Arts & Culture

Annual Beacon Art Show in SLO celebrates art as essential to human existence

Flo Bartell’s encaustic piece ‘Freedom’ won Best of Show in the exhibit, on display through April 5.
Flo Bartell’s encaustic piece ‘Freedom’ won Best of Show in the exhibit, on display through April 5.

Noting that a person is not a whole person unless he has art in his life, the San Luis Obispo United Methodist Church is staging its eighth annual Beacon Art Show featuring a wide range of artistic expression.

With the theme, “Gifts of the Spirit,’’ the show is about art and how it impacts human existence.

“We are not looking specifically for a religious theme in the images, though some of them are,” said organizer Beth Mott, a former art educator. “It’s a broad interpretation.”

The show, which runs through Easter Sunday, features 84 pieces by 55 artists.

The church’s support of the arts encompasses visual fine arts, poetry and film, and in this show has named several local fine artists whose work embodied gifts of the spirit.

Best of Show went to Flo Bartell and her encaustic piece, “Freedom.” Encaustic painting uses pigmented hot wax applied to a canvas or other surface. Sharon Harris’ oil-on-canvas painting, “Coterie,” won second place; while third place went to Larry Le-Brane and his sculpture, “Talkin’ with Jack,” a piece made of French limestone, fused glass and stainless steel.

Merit awards went to Joseph Amanzio for his photograph, “The Spirit Lives On,” Glynis Chaffin-Tinglit for her acrylic and oil painting, “Terra Incognita-Traicere,” and Marylu Weaver Meagher for her mixed-media pieces. Purchase awards for the SLOUMC permanent collection went to Dean Crawford’s enhanced color photography, “Gift of Lilies” and Rod Baker’s glass art, “Combed Platter.”

Mott said the pieces in this year’s show exemplify the beauty of art and how the human experience is expressed through it.

“It’s a way that we can communicate — some people communicate so much better through art — there isn’t just one way of saying something, and art is another way to speak,” she said.

Jurors this year were Margaret Korisheli, fine arts division chair at Cuesta College; Tim Anderson, San Luis Obispo artist and curator; and Rev. Rick Uhls from the SLO United Methodist Church.

“We spent an entire afternoon viewing images and collaborating on the selections,” Korisheli said in an email. “We were impressed by the myriad ways artists find the gifts of the spirit in life and then follow with expression in visual art.”