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February 7, 2014
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Summit County Arts Exhibit Committee hosts free art talk with painter Marianna Duford

Pools of sunlight spill into the gallery, falling from the large, arched window at the end of the room. Along one wall, colorful canvases depict outdoor scenes of all seasons. A handful of sheep in one painting look across the way at more artwork that hangs in columns between doorways, and two lighted display cases stand guard on either side of a hallway.

This is the newly renovated exhibition space in the County Commons Lobby, a project begun in November by the Summit County Arts Exhibit Committee and completed last week with the installation of the canvases featuring the paintings of artist Marianna Duford. To celebrate the remodel, Duford will speak about her work on Sunday, Feb. 9, in the Mount Royal Room.

“I’m really honored to get to be the first one,” Duford said of being the inaugural artist to hang her work in the new space. “I love to talk to people about art, so it will be fun to chat with whoever shows up on Sunday. The committee put an awful lot of work and things into this, and it’s a culmination of a lot of time and effort of this whole committee to make it happen.”

Outdoor artwork

Longtime Summit County arts queen and Exhibit Committee founder Sandy Greenhut originally approached Duford to see if she would be interested in showing her art in the lobby venue. Duford’s pieces are outdoor, all-weather canvas reproductions of some of her paintings.

“They’re paintings that have been licensed by a company called West of the Wind Designs, that actually makes and promotes this kind of art,” Duford said. “This company has about 400 images in their line — most of them are photographs. There are only three artists represented in the line — I am one of them.”

West of the Wind Designs licensed 44 of Duford’s paintings, 14 of which are being exhibited in the County Commons Lobby. Duford said that for the art talk, she would be bringing in a couple of her original paintings that were licensed for the outdoor canvases.

“You can see the original and then see what’s been done with it with this company,” she said. “I’ll describe the process from making the art to licensing it to the actual end product and what this is all about. It’s rather cutting-edge. Sculptures have always been a part of outdoor art, but to actually have canvas paintings, reproductions that can be displayed outside all year round — outdoor living spaces are really cutting edge in this day and time right now.”

The pieces will spend three months at the County Commons location before moving to the Summit County Senior Center for another three months.

“I’m the lucky one who’s going to get the first one,” Duford said.

Creating a new space

In addition to Duford’s work, menorahs from the Summit County Jewish community and a collection called “Thinking Outside the Box” are on display in the refurbished, lighted cases. The Summit County Arts Exhibit Committee’s vision for the lobby was to create a free, public gallery space with rotating art displays, 95 percent of which will be created by Summit County artists.

“We think you’ll be surprised and pleased with the new look,” said committee co-chair Sue Paluska in a news release. “Gone are the distracting ceiling lights, replaced by slimmer ones. Spot lighting was added to highlight the art, and a new hanging system was added.

“Many people have helped make this project possible, and we are extremely grateful to the craftspeople, painters, county staff and many volunteers and donors. And, of course, the reason for the remodel is to create a wonderful gallery-like space for Summit County’s terrific artists.”

“Many people have helped make this project possible, and we are extremely grateful to the craftspeople, painters, county staff and many volunteers and donors. And, of course, the reason for the remodel is to create a wonderful gallery-like space for Summit County’s terrific artists.”


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The Summit Daily Updated Feb 7, 2014 01:25PM Published Feb 11, 2014 12:33PM Copyright 2014 The Summit Daily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.